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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 12/27/2010

'Disapproval [of Congress] is built into the institution’s DNA'

By Ezra Klein

Josh Huder considers why Congress, which is basically a democratic body, is so perennially unpopular:

Literature on this topic often points to people’s dissatisfaction with the process of legislating (Hibbing 1995; 2001). Durr, Gilmour, and Wolbrecht (1997, gated) find that Congress’s approval rating takes a hit when major legislation is passed. By simply doing its job Congress can alienate large parts of its constituency. So while people like their legislators, they dislike when they get together with fellow members and legislate.

Jonathan Bernstein has more.

By Ezra Klein  | December 27, 2010; 10:30 AM ET
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"Congress’s approval rating takes a hit when major legislation is passed"

Could you post more examples other than the 111th, Ezra? Bernstein didn't.

When was the last time Congress was thought less of for passing a major tax cut? Or sending us to war? I don't recall people being upset about Medicare Part D, despite the unseemly nature of its adoption by the House.

True, Congress got its clock cleaned in 1994 after passing the tax increase that ultimately helped balance the budget, but the check-bouncing scandal arose just before the election too.

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