Congress flunks with locals

Approval ratings at all-time low
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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As lawmakers returned to work Tuesday, Auburn-area residents across the political spectrum sounded off on a recent poll that found Congress has an all time low approval rating. An ABC News-Washington Post poll conducted on Jan. 12 revealed that just 13 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing. Locals say they are among those who disapprove of Congress, mostly because they can’t work together, while local congressman say Congress is divided because the American people are divided. Gridlock abounds Marc Rosen, President of the Auburn Area Democratic Club, said while there may be a GOP majority, he believes both parties are to blame. “I’d like to see our representatives on both sides of the aisle stop acting like it is their job to defeat the other side of the aisle. That is not their job, and that is why the people don’t approve the job that they are doing,” Rosen said. “We think their job is to work together to create and support an environment that we citizens in all walks of life can be successful in. If they do that, we will approve of them.” Gordon Vogt, 78, a Republican from Rocklin, was visiting the Placer County Library in Auburn Tuesday. He said currently he disapproves of Congress. “Well, not very well. With the lack of action on their part and it always coming down to the brink of closure before they take action it just makes we wonder how they can let that happen,” Vogt said. Locals concerned about economy One issue Vogt said both parties need to resolve is the National Debt Ceiling. “They haven’t yet firmed that,” Vogt said. “It keeps getting tossed back and forth between parties. They should have had that by now.” Paul Berger, Auburn-area democratic Representative at Large, said Republicans are to blame for the gridlock in Congress. “I think the reason Congress’ approval rate is so low is obviously you’ve got a Republican House that is blocking everything because they don’t want to give anything to Obama,” Berger said. “They are in gridlock.” Berger said he believes the Tea Party is to blame for what he sees as the Republican Party’s unwillingness to compromise. Brian Hassett, secretary of the Auburn-area Democratic Club agrees that Republicans in Congress are determined to be at odds with President Obama. “Congress is clueless. John Boehner and Eric Cantor believe their job is to derail President Obama, so nothing helpful gets done,” Hassett said. “Locally, McClintock gives us right wing rhetoric instead of solutions.” Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA) said Democrats may not agree with his solutions, but he has offered them. “On the contrary, I’ve offered solutions to every major economic issue facing our country today on my website,” McClintock said. “I don’t expect liberal democratic activists to agree with them, but they are the solutions that have proven to work.” McClintock said one proven solution is to “reduce the tax and regulatory burdens that are cursing our economy.” He said his top priorities are bringing federal spending back under control and lifting regulatory burdens on natural resources in the District 4 region. Until the American people become more unified though, McClintock said Congress will remain divided. “Congress is divided because the American people are divided,” McClintock said. “The good news is the American people are uniting around principals of a constitutionally-limited government and individual liberty.” McClintock said he believes voters will complete unfinished business from the 2010 election and become more united, after which they will see Congress follow suit. Jennifer Montgomery, Placer County District 4 Supervisor, said she can see why Americans are frustrated with Congress. Montgomery said she agrees that Congress is more concerned with political gamesmanship than working together for the American people. Because most projects in District 4 have been funded by the county, she said the county has been able to remain fairly remote from Congress. “My experience has been that often more is achieved through relationships with staff at the Federal agencies than through the legislative bodies that represent us in Washington, D.C. A sad commentary, but true,” Montgomery said. Cleaning house the solution? Auburn City Council member Dr. Bill Kirby said he is tired of extreme partisan politics in Washington. “They have no ability to work together and the only message to send is to vote out every single incumbent. That’s the only way our system works, is if we work together. This is very destructive and very negative,” Kirby said. Kirby said along with the ability to compromise, Congress needs to minimize the size of government. “I’d like to see them sit in a room and work out compromises that the American people are interested in. The American people are interested in compromise,” Kirby said. “I think we need to cut the size of government and we need to cut entitlement programs to reasonable levels and we need to totally revamp the tax codes in a way that is fair to everyone.” Reach Sara Seyydin at