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December 14th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

What will (or won't) you miss about the outgoing Congress?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The lame duck session of the 111th Congress is mercifully winding down.

A man highlights vacant offices on a floor plan during an office selection lottery for new House of Representatives members.
A man highlights vacant offices on a floor plan during an office selection lottery for new House of Representatives members.

And the Democrats are going to have a lot of unhappy supporters to face as they head home nearly empty-handed.

For starters, it's looking like the deal that President Obama struck with Republicans on extending the Bush tax cuts will pass Congress - even though many Democrats object to it.

Also, the Democratic majority is running out of time to pass key items in their own agenda. And you can bet once the Republicans take control of the House in January, it ain't gonna happen.

This includes the so-called Dream Act - an immigration initiative that would provide a path to citizenship for those who came here illegally as children. It's stalled in the Senate, much like the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

If Democrats don't get these through now - and it's looking unlikely with a Republican filibuster in the Senate - that means at least another two years before they have a shot at controlling both houses of Congress.

Experts say that Democrats are going to have to explain to their base how they didn't get this stuff passed when they had overwhelming majorities in Congress for the last two years. It's a fair question.

Others suggest the Democrats need to look for small legislative victories in the coming days and weeks in order to salvage their pride and save some face.

Here’s my question to you: What will (or won't) you miss about the outgoing Congress?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

James in Greenville, North Carolina writes:
Jack, As ineffective as they have been, I doubt anyone will know the difference. The Democrats had the Oval Office, the House and the Senate and did very little. I am glad to see them go and hope the next cast of characters can do something positive for a change. Can they be any worse?

John writes:
What I will miss about this Congress is the lost opportunity to accomplish great things if Obama had only stepped up to the plate and acted like he had some gravel in his gut.

Daniel in Wisconsin writes:
I will miss Russ Feingold. It is too bad that my fellow residents of Wisconsin got easily confused and voted against one of the best senators our country has ever had.

Steve in Clifton, Virginia writes:
Unlike the prior 110th Congress, which did absolutely nothing, the outgoing 111th Congress accomplished some significant goals which will affect the lives of millions of Americans for many years in a positive way.

B.J. in Quincy, Illinois writes:
What makes you think that it is going to be any different? You have to have a real change to miss (or not miss) something.

Sean writes:
I will miss Nancy Pelosi as Speaker because out of the three she was the only one who made the tough liberal choices and fought for principle. I wish Harry Reid would have lost. As a liberal Democrat, I think he's a disgrace.

Patty writes:
When Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House, I was elated. Now, I'm just glad to see her take her hat in her hand and sit down.

Bill in Sparta, New Jersey writes:
Not a darn thing, but then I doubt there's anything I'll like about the new one either.


Filed under: Congress
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Daniel

    I will miss Russ Feingold. It is is too bad that my fellow residents of Wisconsin got easily confused and voted against one of the best Senators our country has ever had. I strongly believe he is an excellent example of the kind of people we need in Washington...someone who votes on the issue... not just the party line. Can't wait until 2012.

    December 14, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  2. Conor in Chicago

    I will miss the Democrats never having forced the Republican hand and forcing them to actually filibuster legislation. Sadly for all of us the Democrats tried to limit their politicking in an effort to get something done. Instead the result was a Republican Party united in opposition to everything but not being put on the TV actually obstructing things on the floors of Congress. This helped the Republicans come back to power; something that should scare the hell out of all of us. Not because the Republicans are back in power even though that is scary enough. But because America Politics will always be a case of "monkey see monkey do". Expect completely inflexible Democrats to mirror your completely inflexible Republicans in the future.

    December 14, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  3. Karen, Idaho

    I will miss the Democratic majority that could have gotten something done for the people. What we have now is a Republican majority who favor the rich, big business, and their own egos.

    December 14, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  4. John from Alabama

    Jack: This Congress wanted outcomes for the people of this nation. Health care reform and finanical reform were huge accomplishments. The Democrats did not support President Obama like they should have done, but despite this things got rolling. The Republicans will make sure the rich become richer, and the middle class shrinks more. The poor will be left out in the rain by the Boehner's and McConnell's of this small world.

    December 14, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
  5. Bradley, Portland, OR

    I won't miss the DINOs (Democrats in Name Only), also called Blue Dogs, who were really Republicans for all practical purposes.

    The "real" Republicans decided to sit out legislating for the last 2 years, saying "no" to everything, so the DINOs took their place in negotiations and caused a lot of worthwhile legislation to be watered down.

    Hopefully in the new Congress the remaining Democrats will grow spines and start fighting for what's right, instead of always rolling over.

    December 14, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
  6. Rich McKinney, Texas

    I think i am really going to miss all those closed door secret meetings the democrats had. It really gave the conspiracy theorists some good writing material. I expect a movie or two to emerge from them in the not to distant future. Exactly who will play Nancy Pelosi, the wicked witch of the west remains to be seen.

    December 14, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  7. Herman Portland OR

    I will not miss the deal making and the disconnect elite retoric the majority of the out going congress was practicing on a daily basis. I think they are a good example of the American peoples opportunity to put their votes to good use.

    December 14, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  8. Joanne B

    We won't miss the obvious "authoritarian, socialist" views – these views have almost destroyed Europe, yet with their ignorance they moved us forward so that we might not recover; we are now in perilous times !
    The 111th Congress was for the most part clowns, and clowns belong in a Circus.
    Joanne

    December 14, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  9. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua

    I'll miss Rep. Barney Frank's rein on the banks. The Republican replacing him as Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Spencer Bachus, has publicly said, "... my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks."

    December 14, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
  10. Ken

    I will NOT miss the arrogance, the bull headed-ness, or the almost surreal answers to straight-forward questions... (remember 'pass the bill to see what's in it'? 'Read the bill?' and 'Where in the Constitution does Congress get the authority for the individual mandate?')

    December 14, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
  11. Loren

    I won't miss the heavy-handedness that Pelosi exhibited on numerous occasions (want to find out what's in the Health Care Reform bill, read it after it's passed). The Democrats can complain all they want about Republican obstructionism, but is it too much to ask to know what you're being asked to vote on before you vote? A pox on both houses.

    December 14, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  12. CRAIG R. MCNEES

    tampa, fl i won't miss any of those pandering politicians that kept voting for the dream act or any other form of amnesty, glad to see them go. I won't enjoy seeing them "retiring" on that cushy pension w/benefits they voted themselves.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  13. southerncousin

    I won't miss the name calling by the leadership of honest, hard working American taxpayers by the democrat liberal "leadership," I won't miss the lying by the democrat liberal "leadership," I won't miss the corruption by the democrat liberal "leadership," I won't miss the arrogance of the democrat liberal "leadership," I won't miss the misdirection, misjudgement and misguidance of the democrat liberal "leaderhip", I will not miss the stupidity of the democrat liberal "leadership," I will not miss the wanton, misplaced spending priorities of the democrat liberal "leadership." I will miss clowns like Alan Grayson, Sheila Jackson Graham, Maxine Waters and the stupid, arrogant, lying, corrupt things they say. I realize they will still be saying them and the liberal mainstream media will still be covering them, but hopefully they will all be saying them from jail. Oh yeah, and I will miss that lying, corrupt idiot Barney Frank trying to cover up all of his crimes.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  14. Bizz Quarryville Pennsylvania

    I will not miss anything because next year we can expect more fighting and bickering along with a do nothing Congress. It will be like watching a reality show with people fighting and calling each other names. Only this time there will be an extra twist added. The republicans will have the tea party members to contend with. That could cause the weeper of the house to shed more tears. I expect there will be less cooperation than before if that is possible.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  15. Jim

    Jack,

    What's to miss? The incoming Congress will be just as tied up in partisan knots.

    Jim
    Reno, Nevada

    December 14, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  16. Jerry A - Toronto

    In these past two years the status quo has not changed. Jobs are still be shipped overseas, the economy stinks, unemployment is high and foreclosures are running rampant. So, what will I miss? Nothing. What wont I miss? Nothing. Why? They did nothing.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  17. AzRose

    I won't miss Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker. It will be nice to know that she won't be using that big military plane at our expense and buying the expensive flowers at our expense. I can't think of one thing that I will miss, it will be nice to see some new faces in the People's House!

    December 14, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  18. BOB K YOUNGSTOWN OHIO

    There won't be any detectable change from any other Congressional session. Greed, lies, deceit, money, bribes( I mean lobbyist money), paid healthcare, big pensions, limitless travel at someone else's expense, limos, health clubs,etc, etc. I don't think a single member of the next session of Congress will be willing to give up any of their benefits. Just ask them and they'll tell you they are "entitled".

    December 14, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
  19. Kathie

    what's there to miss? the democrats lack any backbone and consistently caved into the republicans. just who is running this country? congress is the height of dysfunction! Congress makes temper tantrums by toddlers (who don't know better) look like perfect angels/

    December 14, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  20. Steve, Clifton, VA

    Unlike the prior 110th Congress, which did absolutely nothing, the outgoing 111th Congress accomplished some significant goals which will affect the lives of millions of Americans for many years in a positive way.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  21. Donald Desaulniers (Belleville, Canada)

    I'll miss the feeling of caring and protection that America felt when the details of the health care reform bill were made public. It was so moving knowing that Congress resisted the lobbying efforts of the big drug companies and brought in the public option to protect everyone.
    And I'll miss the pride that America felt knowing that the government bailout of Wall Street and the big banks would quickly bring full employment and wealth to America's poor and middle class.
    And now, just before Christmas, we are all confident that Congress will extend the Bush tax cuts, especially for our rich friends, so that the sweet taste of prosperity can trickle down to the lips of the poor.
    Well done, Congress. You can be proud. You shunned the rich and powerful and protected the rest of America.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  22. StaciB-Oregon

    I am one of our nation's millions of jobless with Exhausted, not expired, unemployment benefits ( The Tax Proposal does NOT include assistance for this politically invisible group which grows larger by the week).

    Congressional matters are no longer part of my life. I have no income. There is nothing our government can take from me.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  23. james in greenville nc

    Jack, as ineffective as they have been I doubt anyone will know the difference. The Democrats had the Oval Office, the House and the Senate and did very little. I am glad to see them go and hope the next cast of characters can do something positive for a change. Can they be any worse?

    December 14, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  24. Ed from California

    This congress tried to wright the ship. But the right wing had their way. This Congress reminds me of this old cartoon I saw. Two guys in the same boat, each with a saw, trying as hard as they can to saw the boat in half to see which one drowns.
    I'm retired and probably shouldn't care at all of what happens to our country. Watching Senator Sanders(not by Rep) on Friday he was so right, we are a country that is run by the few(wealthy) at the expense of the many. We have a huge lobbyist problem. We the people, etc,etc, has been replaced by, We the ones with money can buy who or what we want. All of this is our fault. We vote, or don't, and don't think of the consequences.

    December 14, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  25. Jayne

    I will miss Alan Grayson and Russ Feingold. They are both champions of the average guy and true patriots. If voters paid attention, neither would have lost their races, even with the influx of mountains of money from right-leaning corporations.

    December 14, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  26. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    I am not going to miss a non responsive Representative who betrayed all of his campaign promises. I will miss the seniority of Arlen Specter. So will the entire State of PA. We'll have to see WHAT the new ones do. If a bunch of campaign promise breakers and do nothings then they will only have one term. My wise Mother used to say"They ALL sh-t in the same pot." Time will tell.

    December 14, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  27. Greg in Mechanicsburg

    This 111th Congress has been pretty busy actually. The problem has been with the Senate. I just wish that those "conservative" democrat senators would call themselves the republicans that they are and get off the democrat's roll. The are giving democ "rats" a bad reputation for not being able to get anything done.

    December 14, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  28. Steve, New York

    What I will not miss with this outgoing Democratic controled Congress is the dealmaking by the Democrats. They had more closed door meetings of any Congress on record, especially the health bill. They kept the Republicans out completel;y on the Obama's Health Bill. Yet, they complain that the Republicans are not including the Democrats in ther decision making process. Well the message I have is ,"how does it feel you bunch morons"?

    December 14, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  29. Dee in New Paris Ohio

    Their no-guts approach! This exiting Congress had the potential to become one of the most productive in history and they just blew it!

    Now we get to endure the meanies for at least two years. Wonder if that will wake Americans up, or if we will get further sucked into the economic morass!

    December 14, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  30. JF

    Let the Republicans or Democrats who believe in making life hard for
    others do as they what. Let them do as they what. Let the Rich do as
    they what. They fool most that are watching, but not all that is watching.

    Something have to be there in order to miss it.

    December 14, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  31. tom w.

    like most taxpaying members, i'll miss my money most. while this congress continues to spend like drunken drug dealers, my income is stagnent or declined ( i'll really know when the year is over and i total income/expenses). then when they talk about federal wages, they say they're frozen, except for a 3% cost of living allowance or promotions. then they tell social security recipients there is no cost of living allowance because inflation is negligable. huh?
    a living politician is a lying politician, I will not miss them.

    December 14, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
  32. Frank in Indiana

    Alan Grayson though he's not my rep.

    As far as the Senate? The hell with them. They did nothing the past 2 years. Too bad they didn't change, but what do you expect with a bunch of millionaire whores that are bought and paid for. And the GOP are the worst of the bunch.

    December 14, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  33. Mark, OKC

    I'd like to be able to say I am going to miss Pelosi, but I have a feeling she will be bullying her way through the next Congress as well. Where are Dorothy and Toto when you need them?

    December 14, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  34. Greg M.

    Jack,
    I will truly miss the people who are more concerned about 90% of the nation than the one's coming in who will be more concerned about the elitist,racist,money-grubbing 'upper crust' who deny everything,even though their views are on video saying exactly what the are denying.Their goal for the next 2 years is strictly to prevent Obama from being reelected?Seriously?Another thing they will deny.G.W. and the crew are turning over in their graves.
    Greg M. Largo,FL

    December 14, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  35. Jim

    Jack,

    As the Who song Won't Get Fooled Again goes "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss". Except yeah, we got fooled again. They had the chance to do something really big and didn't fight hard enough against the Party of NO. And all of us will pay for it over the next 2 years.

    Jim in Denver, CO

    December 14, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  36. Jeff In Minnesota

    I definitely will not miss the Pelosi/Reid railroad that decided to shove their special projects up my posterior. However, I have a feeling that the Boehner/Reid railroad is not going to be much better. What ever happened to the interests of the country Jack? It seems of late that those of us generating the revenue for these hot shots to spend are on the wrong end of the rail. I don't feel that any of my interests are being met, or for that matter even being discussed.

    December 14, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  37. Greg M.

    Jack,
    It seems that Americans should secede from Washington,D.C.If we did that and put every day Americans into the government,there would be quite a bit more concern for the 'people',not the companies who buy and sell Congressional votes like candy.Apparently Bill Gates doesn't have enough money either.He outsources Microsoft to whoever's accent it is when you call for help.On top of that,he wants $50 for 1 year of software support.The 'good old days' are in history books,not memories.
    Greg M. Largo,FL

    December 14, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  38. Gail, Plano TX

    I am glad to see Blanche Lincoln Democratic senator from AR leave. She was a blue-dog who was no help at all to her party or constituents.

    That said, I wish everyone in Congress was leaving. I know it's only a dream. But they are totally worthless! Each and every 1 of them. My grandson could be more effective!

    December 14, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  39. Jim - Michigan

    Jack,

    I will not miss the drunken spending spree that these clowns went on and who never realized that tax payers have to cover. I will not miss the class warfare and divisive rhetoric that they launched. It is the middle class AND the wealthy that pay the bills, so stop pretending what is happening in Washington is aimed to protect us – it most certainly is not!

    December 14, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  40. Luci

    I will miss Russ feingold and Alan Grayson, plus all the other great Democrats that didn't make it. They are all for the middle/poor class in America. Just like our Lord wants us to be.
    Not so for the Blue dogs and the Republicans though, good to see them go. There is no difference in them, all painted by the same brush.

    December 14, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  41. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    I don't think we're going to get a chance to miss anything. From what I've seen of this lame duck session, once everyone's back for the new session, we're going to get more of what we've been getting for the past few years. A growing deficit because the federal government can't stop spending, even higher unemployment, and unless the health care reform bill is repealed, we get to look forward to being into getting health insurance a majority of Americans can't afford.

    December 14, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  42. Sean

    I will miss Nancy Pelosi as Speaker because out of the three she was the only one who made the tough liberal choices and fought for principle. I wish Harry Reid would have lost, as a liberal Democrat he is a disgrace, bring up Chuck!

    December 14, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  43. Brian

    I'm not going to miss all of the ridiculous bills that were introduced when they had majorities in both houses. How's that hopey change going for ya?

    December 14, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  44. Lisa Schaumburg IL

    No I will not miss the outgoing congress, but I will not be throwing a party for the incoming. I hope this next group will actually work for us. If not will theres always 2012 .

    December 14, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  45. Joseph Kraatz, Oceanside, CA

    Have never been so disappointed in the Democrats. I voted for Obama and all Democrats and all I got was whimps. Guess I should have sent them all a dose of Viagra so they could man-up to what I was expecting. What total losers!!

    December 14, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  46. Sue

    Actually I am going to miss the Democrats now that they have become the party talking about deficit reduction and the Republicans have become the "spend and let's worry about later" party with keeping the tax cuts for the rich and the word "deficit" gone from their vocabulary. Go figure.

    December 14, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  47. Randy

    The fact that the 111th congress with Democrats having the majority wasn't able to accomplish anything substantial is Pathetic! You know what else is pathetic Jack? the fact that you had to work on your birthday! Have yourself a Happy Birthday anyways Jack!

    December 14, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  48. steve - virginia beach

    I won't miss Congress shoving things down our throats whether we like it or not or telling me that I can't know what legislation says until after it's passed. Nor will I miss Congress spending like drunks in a bar. I do miss the Constitution that our founding fathers wrote and explained to us and am anxiously waiting for our government to give it back to us.

    December 14, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  49. Jim Blevins

    Despite your minimization, this congress has been very productive. The health care bill alone makes it historic. Ignoring the Republican BS, this congress turned a depression into a recession. What I won't miss is Republican stonewalling. But then, the Republicans have set the tone - hopefully nothing that the Republicans want will become law in the next two years.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    December 14, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  50. Randy Largo,Fla.

    The fact that the 111th congress with Democrats having the majority and wasn't able to accomplish anything substantial is Pathetic! You know what else is pathetic Jack? The fact that you had to work on your birthday! Have yourself a Happy Birthday anyways Jack!

    December 14, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  51. Sam Maitra

    I will miss nothing.It's like one set of useless public servants going out and another set is coming in,we seen that played out in 2006.I have no expectation.I am sick and tired of these two party system and these career politicians.These people have made a career out of telling lies to American people.None of these so called leaders, have guts to stand for something that is actually good for the country.
    Thanks for asking Jack but if I expect nothing then I would not be disapointed.

    December 14, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  52. Ken

    Well Jack I finally get to voice my opinion, First I won't miss the outgoing congress at all for they got what they deserved. But what I am waiting on is for you to retire so someone with better questions and have a job. Time to retire, Jack, thanks,Ken

    December 14, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  53. Jeff

    I won't miss anything about the outgoing Congress, but I woudn't be upset if the oncoming Congress left as well. I'm sure the same amount of work would get done either way.

    December 14, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  54. George, Riverside, CA

    What I will or won't miss remains to be seen. The new players are not yet in place, and the fighting over ideology instead of accomplishment continues unabated. I hope that will change in the next term, but I sincerely doubt it.

    I expect the problems to remain the same, and I hope the Democrats can show the kind of guts the Republicans showed.

    Don't get me wrong. I do not really admire "guts" when used to back bad ideas, but I do despise the lack of guts shown by Democrats just before the mid-terms.

    December 14, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  55. William Loiry

    A bill in Congress to provide medical coverage to first responders and survivors who were exposed to toxins after the 9/11 terrorist attacks was recently defeated by 42 U.S. Senators. These police officers and firefighters who responded to help innocent victims are heroes. The Senators who refused to help them are a disgrace to American public service.

    December 14, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  56. ellen

    I will miss the fact that middle america will be forgotten...Wait until you get a load of the"new guys" in town. Ask again in April or May

    December 14, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  57. Ken

    Well Jack I finally get to voice my opinion,First I won't miss the outgoing congress at all, for they got what they deserved. But what I am waiting on is for you to retire so someone with better questions and have a job. Time to retire Jack, thanks, Ken I sent one earlier but I messed upon my email address so this one is correct.

    December 14, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  58. Jim

    What's to miss. The radicals are returning. The only ones leaving are the sane Representatives and Senators and they were replaced with a new group of crazies.

    December 14, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  59. JimGreenm Seguin, TX

    Jack, as a Democrat the incompetence/cowardice of the Democrats in Congress will definitely not be missed! As far back as I can remember, and I am 76—A key role of the VP was to break a 50/50 tie in the Senate—and when the Democrats failed to eliminate the 60 vote rule when they had the chance they doomed their ability to get anything worthwhile for America done!

    December 14, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  60. Stu McCullouch

    Jack – What's to miss. They did nothing, failed to govern, kept us in the Middle East, and will give in to the wealthy. What do I expect of the new Congress – absolutely nothing. We'll continue to get more in debt, the rich will get richer, and oh by the way "DO NOTHING" and I still won't have a job.

    December 14, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  61. Dave

    i will miss all of the "HOT AIR" as it has kept us a little warmer than our friends out west...I will not miss the limos as they will free up some parking spaces for our relatives who want to visit our National Landmarks in D.C. Could you guys take an extended vacation?

    December 14, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  62. JENNA ROSEVILLE CA

    What will (or won't) you miss about the outgoing Congress?

    That so much was actually done under Pelosi's leadership. No other House Leader has lead a Congress that accomplished so much. It is a shame that the senate couldn't keep up. But what do we expect with all that Republican obstruction.

    Boy is payback going to be a bitch!

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    December 14, 2010 at 7:20 pm |