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AP-NORC poll: Nearly half of Americans say democracy isn’t functioning properly



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A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that almost half of Americans think democracy isn’t functioning properly and that our country is headed in a wrong direction.

The nationwide poll, conducted Jan. 28 – Feb. 1, surveyed 1,055 adults.

Only 16% of those surveyed said democracy is working well or extremely well. Nearly half of Americans, 45%, think democracy isn’t functioning properly, while 38% say it’s working only somewhat well.

The majority of people surveyed in the poll believe our nation is deeply divided. So much so, that 62% think the country will become even more divided or stay the same over the next five years.

49% of Americans think we are heading in the right direction, while 49% think we heading in the wrong direction.

A majority of Republicans had a positive view of the direction of the country for most of the Trump Administration. The numbers dropped over the summer and the numbers dropped even more following Joe Biden’s inauguration. Currently, only 20% of Republicans say the country is heading in the right direction, while 79% think it’s heading in wrong direction.

Overall, about two-thirds of Republicans are pessimistic about the future, while three-quarters of Democrats are optimistic. Interestingly, the public’s view of Congress has improved since the November election, according to the survey.

Democrats have favorable impressions of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Republicans do not share favorable impressions of their party’s congressional leaders. They have mixed views of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and 52% of Republicans have an unfavorable impression of Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell.

Complete results can be found here.

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House passes debt-ceiling deal with support from two thirds of GOP caucus



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After hours of debate, the House voted Wednesday night to approve a bipartisan debt-ceiling deal, taking a step toward averting a default on U.S. debt. The measure passed with 314 members voting in favor and 117 members voting in opposition.  149 Republicans and 165 Democrats voted to approve the bill, while 71 Republicans and 46 Democrats voted against it.

National Review writes the measure’s passage secures “a victory for House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who managed to keep his caucus together despite a challenge from House Freedom Caucus members intent on securing greater spending concessions from the Biden White House.”

The bill will now head to the Senate. McCarthy said the measure is the “largest spending cut that Congress has ever voted for,” but faced opposition from members of his caucus who believe the deal “didn’t go far enough in restoring pre-Covid spending levels.”

In his speech on the House floor Wednesday before the vote, McCarthy pleaded with his colleagues to support what he had bargained for with Biden:

“They demanded a clean debt limit, which really means they spend more and you pay more in taxes. House Republicans said ‘no’,” McCarthy said.“Over the past four months, we fought hard to change how Washington works. We stopped the Democrats from writing a blank check after the largest spending binge in American history… The Fiscal Responsibility Act is the biggest spending cut in American history.”

National Review reports:

The agreement suspends the nation’s $31.4 trillion debt limit through January 1, 2025, and caps spending in the 2024 and 2025 budgets.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that the deal will reduce budget deficits by about $1.5 trillion between 2023 and 2033. Director of the CBO Phillip Swagel projected that there would be reductions in discretionary outlays of $1.3 trillion over the 2024–2033 period. Mandatory spending would decrease by $10 billion, revenues would decrease by $2 billion over the same period, and the interest on the public debt would decline by $188 billion.

Biden warned of the consequences of default, saying what would follow would include an economic recession, devastated retirement accounts, and millions of jobs lost.

“I made clear from the start of negotiations that the only path forward was a bipartisan budget agreement,” explained Biden on Twitter. “No one got everything they wanted. But that’s the responsibility of governing.”

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