Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012
Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013
Veteran Skills to Jobs Act
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act
Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012
- Extends Medicare payments to doctors, giving seniors the advantage to keep their doctors
- Extends the two percent Social Security payroll tax cut
- Extends unemployment benefits
- Calls for an establishment of a national public safety broadband network to:
- Expands Federal Emergency Management Agency aid
- Extends Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Reduces federal deficit over 11 years
- Extends job incentives to small businesses
- Improves work search for the long unemployed
It’s official: The 112th Congress was the most polarized ever
January 17, 2013 Posted by Dylan Matthews – washingtonpost
Stats geeks, rejoice: The newest DW-NOMINATE figures are out! DW-NOMINATE, devised by political scientists Keith Poole (now at the University of Georgia) and Howard Rosenthal (now at NYU), is the industry standard system for measuring how members of the House and Senate compare to each other ideologically.
The approach uses roll-call votes to plot members across two left-to-right axes: one for economic issues, and one for social/racial/regional issues. The latter is primarily of interest for analyzing civil rights politics and the movement of segregationist Democrats into the Republican party in the 1960s and ’70s, so for looking at contemporary politics, analysts tend to focus on the first, or economic, dimension.
Yesterday, the DW-NOMINATE team released scores for the 112th Congress, which started in January 2011 and just wrapped up at the start of this month. They confirm what the team has found for years: the parties are moving further and further apart. The most straightforward way to measure polarization using DW-NOMINATE is to calculate the average score of each party in each chamber, and then calculate the difference between the two parties’ means. The further apart the means are, the more polarized the body.
The House is more polarized than the Senate, which makes sense. The fact that senators need to win over whole states means that Democrats in right-leaning states (e.g. Ben Nelson) have to tack right and Republicans in left-leaning states (e.g. Scott Brown) have to tack left, which reduces the ideological uniformity of each party’s caucus. That’s especially true among Democrats, as the Senate is highly geographically biased against liberal urban areas and in favor of conservative rural areas, meaning that Democrats have to appeal heavily to the latter regions to get a majority. But both bodies saw polarization jump up sharply.
With the polarized Congress we currently have there are going to be times in the next four years where President Obama will need our help to speak up and add their own voices to the debate to help move legislation through to achieve the CHANGES America desires on gun control, immigration, rights for LGBT citizens and other important issues.
“You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time — not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.”