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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Congress must get their act together

Congress+must+get+their+act+together

In just the last few weeks, two members of Congress, Rep. Tim Burchett and former Rep. Adam Kinzinger, accused former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy of “elbowing” and “shoulder-checking” them, respectively. Additionally, Sen. Markwayne Mullin attempted to fight Teamsters union president Sean O’Brien during a hearing. And, after a long saga of chaos and scandals around Rep. George Santos, a report was released Nov. 16 alleging that Santos used campaign finances to make purchases at Hermes, Sephora and a Las Vegas hotel.

While scandals are not uncommon in Congress, threats and allegations of violence during official proceedings alongside a blatant scam artist within the House of Representatives sound more like the events of a soap opera than a body of government.

Despite these unprecedented events occurring within the halls of the Capitol, for many Americans, this erosion of standards is unlikely to be a surprise. According to a Gallup poll, Congress’ approval rating dropped to 13% in October, only 4 percentage points higher than the record low of 9%. This is likely because some feel Congress is out of touch with the American people and not working with the American people’s best interests in mind.

Congress is remarkably old, which has been brought into the spotlight by the ages of late Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who passed while serving in the Senate at 90, and Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is 81. Despite their older ages, each decided to stay on for their own benefit in the face of public backlash. Both of these cases have exacerbated the narrative that people in Congress cling to power, as well as the money and opportunities that come with it at the expense of the American people’s right to a competent government.

Furthermore, the recent speakership debacle and fights over funding the government have demonstrated how Congress has time and time again put politics over the integrity of the country. Despite the possibility of a government shutdown looming and a war breaking out, the House of Representatives went 22 days without a speaker because of Republican in-fighting, putting people’s jobs and our nation’s security at risk over ideology.

The events which occurred Jan. 6, 2021 demonstrated an erosion of trust in our executive branch and democratic process. There has also been a weakening in trust of our judicial branch after a series of controversial decisions and ethics scandals. Thus, our government needs to work to build back trust with the American people to strengthen our democracy. This requires Congress to get its act together (and fast) to show the American people there is still some dignity left in our government.

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Jake Richfield, Assistant Opinions Editor
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