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Congress: Least experienced House since '95

Susan Davis: “Unproductive and unpopular are two words most often used to describe the previous Congress, but a new description can be used for the new session: inexperienced. A confluence of factors — from a trio of wave elections, redistricting, divisive primaries to even death — kick off a 113th Congress populated by junior lawmakers in both chambers that challenges the conventional wisdom that Washington politics is dominated by entrenched incumbents. Nearly two in five lawmakers in the U.S. House, 39%, have served for less than three years, according to data compiled by the non-partisan Cook Political Report. It's the least experienced House since at least 1995, when an election wave swept the Republicans into power.”

Josh Green looks at the history of debt-ceiling vote. In short, like with many modern political tactician gimmicks, blame it on Newt Gingrich. “In 1979 the problem was solved by a young Democratic congressman from Missouri, Richard Gephardt, who had the thankless task of rounding up votes to raise the ceiling. … Gephardt, who would later become House Democratic leader and twice run for president, devised a simple fix that met the absurd requirement of a two-step process. With help from the House parliamentarian, he established the Gephardt Rule, which decreed that when Congress adopted a budget resolution (the first step) it was automatically ‘deemed to have passed’ a commensurate increase in the debt limit (the second step). Presto. Problem solved. The Gephardt Rule held for a decade and a half, during which there were no fights over raising the debt ceiling. But when Republicans took control of the House in 1995, they killed it.”

More: “Gingrich thought the second vote was a good pressure tactic to limit spending. Yet the threat of debt default didn’t work because nobody took it seriously. What’s different now is that many Republicans seem willing to follow through. Even Gingrich is worried. ‘You can’t risk default,’ he says. ‘I don’t think this is a good place to force the issue.’ Still, he doesn’t regret doing away with the Gephardt Rule. ‘I would favor raising the debt ceiling for only three months at a time as a reminder to Congress as it goes through the appropriations process that you want to minimize the future debt,’ he says.”

National Journal: “Republicans appear to be willing to avoid a showdown over the debt limit and instead use the sequester as their main negotiating lever in upcoming fiscal fights with the White House and Senate Democrats.”

National Journal calls the Republican retreat “a weekend of self help.” It writes: “They are here for three days of events with uplifting titles such as ‘What Happened and Where Are We Now,’ ‘Turning it Around,’ ‘Using Adversity to Our Advantage by Working Together,’ and ‘Sailing Above Rough Seas.’”

This headline symbolizes what’s wrong with the GOP - they had to be told THIS at their retreat: Politico: “GOP pollster: Stop talking about rape.”

Yet some can’t stop being incendiary: PoliticalWire: “Idaho Rep. Ron Mendive (R) ‘drew audible gasps’ when he asked representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union if their pro-abortion rights stance also means that they support prostitution, the AP reports. Mendive said that since the ACLU supports a woman's right to choose abortion, shouldn't the organization also support prostitution, arguing that prostitution also is ‘a woman's choice.’”