Lackluster Congress? Wait 'til next year

McClatchy Washington BureauDecember 4, 2013 

The U.S. Capitol where Congress meets.

TISH WELLS — McClatchy

Congress may be heading to a lackluster finish this year, but people are more optimistic about 2014.

A new United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, released Wednesday, found many Americans see prospects for passage of gun control and immigration measures next year.

"Those attitudes stand in stark contrast to an astounding level of gridlock in Washington this year, which saw the fewest public laws enacted since at least 1947, recorded the first government shutdown in 17 years, and drove congressional approval ratings to record lows," writes the National Journal Hotline Senior Analyst Scott Bland in a poll analysis.

Fifty-six percent said they found it very or somewhat likely Congress and President Barack Obama could agree on job-creation measures stemming from increased infrastructure spending.

Fifty-three percent saw it as somewhat likely Congress could pass gun control measures mandating universal background checks for all gun sales. Such legislation was halted in the Senate this year.

Bland found that "Americans also see immigration reform that increases border security and provides a pathway to citizenship for people in the U.S. illegally as more likely to pass than not in 2014, this time by a narrow plurality: 49 percent of respondents said such legislation was very or somewhat likely to be passed and signed in 2014 while 46 percent said it was more unlikely."

But, Bland warned, "Those opinions are matched by a distinct lack of faith in action on other fronts.

Asked about the prospects for passing meaningful deficit-reduction legislation in 2014, "even if that means raising taxes and cutting spending," 42 percent said that was very or somewhat likely, while 53 percent said it was "not too likely" or "not at all likely."


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