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Americans don't expect Congress to achieve much: Poll

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-12-05 15:18

The US Capitol building is seen in Washington, DC, on Nov 9, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

The American public has low expectations for the Congress over the next two years, CNN reported, citing a new poll. Meanwhile, another new survey found a broad public support for some congressional actions – especially to reduce the costs of prescription drugs.

Most Americans (65 percent) say US President Joe Biden and 61 percent say Republican leaders in Congress will be unsuccessful in getting their proposals enacted in the next two years, according to a Pew Research Center survey released on Dec 1.

Republicans will take control of the US House of Representatives next term, while Democrats secured a narrow majority in the US Senate. After the 2018 midterms, the US adults had similarly low expectations, which also led to divided government.

Just eight percent say they expect relations between Republicans and Democrats to improve in the next year, according to the survey of 11,377 US adults conducted Nov 16-27, using a nationally representative online panel. The view is similar to surveys conducted following the 2018 and 2014 midterm elections.

About half of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (48 percent) expect Biden to be successful in enacting his program over the next two years, Pew found, while 44 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners say the same about their party's prospects for success.

The American public has reason to suspect the US could face gridlock in the months ahead. Both the Republican majority in the House and Democrats' control of the Senate rest on narrow margins, and they are already clashing on spending. The Republicans leading the house have also pledged to launch investigations into Biden's administration, CNN reported.

By contrast, there's widespread public consensus in supporting some congressional action, CNN reported, citing a Marquette University Law School poll also released on Dec 1, which gauged public favor for 20 policy proposals "drawn from recent Republican and Democratic congressional policy statements".

Almost universally, 92 percent of US adult respondents say they would like to see Congress taking action to "limit the cost of prescription drugs", with 84 percent saying they would favor Congress "pass a new voting rights law to protect every citizen's right to vote".

Three-quarters or more also advocate proposals for Congress to increase federal aid to states and school districts to increase teacher compensation (78 percent are in favor), provide a tax credit to pay for tuition at two-year colleges and technical schools (77 percent), increase tax credits for low-income workers (75 percent).

Other proposals put forward by some Republicans have received less public support. Fewer than half of Americans say they favor proposals to sharply reduce US military aid to Ukraine (45 percent), pass a national law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy (41 percent), impeach Biden (34 percent), block confirmation of any federal judges nominated by Biden (34 percent), or require Congress to reauthorize Social Security and Medicare every five years, rather than letting the programs continue automatically (32 percent).

"Impeach Joe Biden" is sharply partisan, as 67 percent of Republicans support impeaching Biden, while 93 percent of Democrats are opposed. Requiring congressional reauthorization for Social Security and Medicare is unpopular for both party, with 60 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of Democrats opposed.

The Marquette survey was conducted Nov 15-22, 2022, interviewing 1,004 adults through a nationally representative online panel.

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