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Which issues are most important for the new Congress to tackle?

From health care repeal to the Bush tax cuts, the new Congress has a laundry list of issues to tackle. Which do you think are most important? Rank them below.

By Bethonie Butler  |  January 4, 2011; 5:49 PM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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None of those. What happened to the JOBS they promised?

Posted by: Falling4Ever | January 5, 2011 1:34 AM

Where are the job initiatives?

Posted by: joemcnamara1 | January 5, 2011 4:09 AM

No jobs. Dang it, where's my cake then?

What else am I supposed to eat? Eating Congress would be satisfying but so fat laden I may as well drink lard.

Posted by: Over-n-Out | January 5, 2011 6:21 AM

Ethics reform and transparency are the most important issues.

We may not agree on ANYTHING else but we should ALL be able to agree, at least, that we deserve good, open and honest government. Without honest government, NOTHING will work. The best concieved policy in history will prove a miserable, expensive failure if we allow secretive, corrupt, spend-thrifts to write the laws and administer the programs.

Moreover, unlike most things in politics, ethics is ALWAYS and ENTIRELY within one's own control. Ethics and transparency are not "time-sensitive", they do not require "spin-up time" or a "favorable political environment": one is either ethical or one is not.

It is that FACT that makes failures of the President and the Pelosi Congress in upholding their pledges regarding ethics and transparency particularly unforgivable. They COULD have fulfilled their promises, it was ALWAYS within their power to do so and yet they did not even try. It began during the campaign when President Obama promised to take ONLY public funds in the interest of transparency ONLY to renege the very second it became expedient for him to do so, abandoning his promise of transparency in favor taking private funds from typical convuluted mass of donors that make it next to impossible the average citizen to figure who, exactly, is paying for the campaigns. We were told we'd see the health-reform negotiations of C-SPAN only to later hear that "we have to pass it to find out what's in it". We were promised the most ethical administration ever only to be introduced to the sick absurdity of the "ethics waiver".

Again, whatever else they have done or failed to do, the Pelosi Congress and the President have NO excuses for their failure to live up to THESE promises because it was (and is still) ALWAYS within their power to fulfill them. They CHOOSE not to, they CHOOSE to make liars of themselves and fools of us.

If the new Congress fails to live up to its OWN promises about ethics and transparency, then they will have NO better excuse for such failing than have the President or the last Congress for their own. A liar is liar and criminal is criminal regardless of whether there's an (R) or a (D) after their name.

We, the people, are sick of this and we've proven it in the last elections. I hope that the political classes have FINALLY gotten our message, that they REPRESENT, not RULE, us, that we are free citizens of a free state and that we WILL know what is being done with our money and in our name. I hope the new Congress will deliver on ethical reform and transparency. If not, then they too must go!

We are watching. Don't let us down!

Posted by: andrew23boyle | January 5, 2011 6:27 AM

where are the jobs, Boehner?

Posted by: suec716 | January 5, 2011 7:00 AM

I think that our elected representatives should impeach themselves and disband, forgoing all perks including retirement pay.

Then, the Capitol guards should pick the first 535 non-Washingtonians (includes N VA and MD) who wander by and install them as Representatives and Senators.

Finally, the people of the Republic might get some consideration, and the coifed bong-blowers would find out how precariously the rest of us live.

Posted by: mini2 | January 5, 2011 7:28 AM

Jobs #1

Posted by: clintt5 | January 5, 2011 8:09 AM

I totally agree with MINI2 that "our elected representatives should impeach themselves and disband, forgoing all perks including retirement pay."

Since Congress will obviously never do that voluntarily, the public must do it for them and for the common good of the country. The public could begin doing that by creating a new People's Reignbow Coalition to apply massive pressure for political reform and to crate a new political party representing the people, not corporate interests or self-serving political interests.

Gary Brumback

Posted by: garybrumback1 | January 5, 2011 8:28 AM


Posted by: richardgallatin | January 5, 2011 8:35 AM

Has the WP just throw all integrity to the winds and become just a hack mouthpiece for the right wing? These are all Republican talking points. Where is a choice for jobs or what to do about health care premiums? Why not just let the Republicans write your partisan rag and eliminate the middleman?

Posted by: grgoodmn | January 5, 2011 8:42 AM

Unemployment issues depend a great deal on the outsourcing now done by major corporations and businesses. Cut the profits of outsourcing work and factories built in other countries and it will provide more work for our own people.


Posted by: Utahreb | January 5, 2011 8:44 AM

your kidding right?
jobs jobs jobs

Posted by: chefjimcoralbay | January 5, 2011 8:48 AM

JOBS, campaign finance reform, higher tax brackets for the ultra rich. Why aren't these in the poll????

Posted by: Trakker | January 5, 2011 9:08 AM

Glad to see I wasn't the only one looking for JOBS - why isn't it on the list WAPO????

Posted by: koala70 | January 5, 2011 9:19 AM

Jobs and the economy are most important, fix them and the rest will take care of themselves. I cannot help but think that something very sinister is happening when everyone on Main Street USA knows the economy is worsening and all of the talking heads and media says that the economy is this poll that left our jobs and the economy.

Posted by: 123Njord | January 5, 2011 9:23 AM

I hear a lot of people saying jobs jobs jobs.

Frankly you can't address jobs, unless you address the Bush tax cuts: REPEAL them! The wealthy NEVER CREATED JOBS!

Next, you have to address corporations taking their manufacturing oversees--TARIFFS.

Next, small businesses will not survive if you allow businesses too big to fail. ANTI-TRUST!

Next, Comprehensive Health Care--small businesses will not survive if you can't get it--I sure won't go into my own business with out it.

We have a lot of problems. Too bad the Republicans just give lip service to all of it. Maybe they just want the US to fail. Very sad.

Posted by: geoffryh | January 5, 2011 9:26 AM


REAL budget work, which includes tackling defense, Medicare, and SS. Media-friendly soundbites like "slashing the pork" are stupid -- "pork" accounts for such a vanishingly small portion of our budget that it's laughable.

How about extending the most regressive tax ever, FICA, to tax people equally instead of disproportionately falling on lower incomes? How about the Boomers doing something, ANYTHING, to address their impending retirement disaster?

How about anyone, D, R, Teabag, actually strapping on a pair and making some difficult decisions?

A public option (similar to how Feds can choose their insurance) would also be awesome, but I'm not holding my breath.

We get the leaders we deserve.

Posted by: MiuBot116 | January 5, 2011 9:28 AM

JOBS JOBS JOBS are the number one issue but the only jobs the GOP cares about saving are those located in Communist China.

Posted by: ohiodumb | January 5, 2011 9:36 AM

Jobs. That was the promise. Guess we really did elect idiots.

Posted by: Falling4Ever | January 5, 2011 9:43 AM

The incoming Congress will have very limited political capital to work with; they need to start with what's achievable, practical, and popular- trying to repeal Healthcare isn't a realistic goal. The government's out-of-control spending should be issue #1. Vote against raising the debt ceiling. Implement austerity measures immediately- I suggest attrition via early buy-outs for older Federal Employees followed by 5 mandatory unpaid Furlough days to be taken by Federal Employees at a time of their choosing in the next fiscal year. If Congress doesn't do something about the trillion dollar deficits we're racking up, it's game over; no more dollar as the world's reserve currency, no more buyers of our debt, no more money to operate. It's already happening at the state and local levels. This is not a joke or a drill. All of the problems of 2008 didn't magically disappear. We're in trouble- throwing more money down the hole is not going to solve any problems.

Posted by: pswift00 | January 5, 2011 9:50 AM

WaPo your polls never make sense. Hard to vote on things that aren't in the poll.

Posted by: rlj1 | January 5, 2011 9:59 AM

The most important issue to me is getting US citizens to work. When are the jobs coming to the US?

Posted by: sun52shine | January 5, 2011 10:15 AM

The choices given frankly suck. Coming up with a sensible taxation and spending plan (not stupid tax cuts) that addresses the real needs of the country and forces the well off to pay their share is one. the other, as many have said, is a program that helps create real jobs. (And to head off the right-wing screechers on this board, no, those two goals are not incompatible, and taxation is only confiscation in your libertarian fairy-dream land).

Posted by: kg1957 | January 5, 2011 10:29 AM


Posted by: TOMHERE | January 5, 2011 10:30 AM

I would agree with JOBS, JOBS, JOBS..
Something this president is just waking up where is the initiative from the WH ???

Posted by: SeniorVet | January 5, 2011 10:31 AM

Nothing about tackling long-term unemployment, creating jobs, reigning in Wall St or foreclosure aid. These "choices" are the laundry list of the elite.

Posted by: taylor1956 | January 5, 2011 10:33 AM

Jobs of course!
Then controlling and securing the southern border.

Posted by: sperrico | January 5, 2011 10:35 AM

Bad list!

JOBS, along with anything related like an e-verify requirement and removal of illegal immigration incentives.

WAR, along with any related issues like lowering the defense budget and perhaps even the radical notice of leaving Japan or any of the other 200 military bases we alone support.

Posted by: HoosierMom | January 5, 2011 10:35 AM

Not really much on that list that are real priorities. Energy independance through renewables, CO2/global warming, a close monitoring of the recovery to make sure a second stimulus is not warranted, financial regulation, oil industry regulation, much more strict mining regulation, cutting the DoD in half over the next 5 years, nuclear proliferation, ...

The agenda that the republicons are listing does not even rae a look after the imprtant things are done, and much of what they are pretending to worry about - debt etc. are fairly easy to fix if you take care of the imprtant things those will fix themsleves. Allow the top brackets of the buch cuts to expire, increase the estate and capital gains taxes, as jobs rebound, tax revenue increases. Pretty simple. And ith investment in clean energy when CO2 emmissions get regulated the way they sould the economic expansion from that sector will also drive massive new revenues all around. A retooling of the infrastructure does that.

republicons are playing 19th century games in a 21st century world. Their remaining base of ignorant ill informed old white people are going to dissappear as a viable political base within a decade. And good riddance to them.

al the important stuff

Posted by: John1263 | January 5, 2011 10:36 AM

Ending the wars, rebuilding the infrastructure, tax inequalities, military spending, entitlement reform.

Why are none of these things being discussed?

Posted by: pete1013 | January 5, 2011 10:44 AM


Posted by: pnwmainah1 | January 5, 2011 10:51 AM

What a strange list you have here! I'm pretty sure people care about the economy.

Posted by: rick_desper | January 5, 2011 10:54 AM

This is very skewed. I agree with RLJ1. Hard to vote on things that aren't in the poll.

Posted by: taroya | January 5, 2011 10:54 AM

Jobs, economy, ending the wars, taxing the rich. And oh yeah, jobs again.

Posted by: vertigo6415 | January 5, 2011 10:58 AM

Jobs creation isn't on the list because it's something that government cannot do, other than hire a lot of people onto the government payroll to rebuild the infrastructure, and that would be condemned as something in which the private sector should be involved. Corporate America is not interested in hiring US citizens. Look to history: Jobs creation was greatest when tax rates were high on business -- either the business paid higher taxes on profits or they hired employees and got tax deductions for those employees. Corporate America is holding US hostage to get no/low taxes, no consumer protection, no regulation, and ever larger and obscene compensation packages for corporate executives.

Posted by: ccs53 | January 5, 2011 10:59 AM

CCS53 has it right.

SS can be fixed by having people pay taxes on all of their income, not just the first $106,000.

Oh, that would mean that the rich pay something. Oh forget that!

Posted by: geoffryh | January 5, 2011 11:14 AM

Jobs is number 1, OK? Everything else comes after. A better economy would make a lot of these issues moot anyway.

Where, exactly, is the Post positioning itself if it doesn't even list 'Jobs' or 'The Economy' as a choice here? Which planet are you guys on?

I'm lucky enough to have a job, but I (like many others in my position) am terrified of losing it.


Posted by: aaron_x | January 5, 2011 11:20 AM


Here are my poll questions:

Is the person who designed this poll (a) clueless or (b) intentionally malicious?

Does the Washington Post have its head (a) in the sand, or (b) up its butt?

Posted by: jmb1918 | January 5, 2011 11:24 AM

This quiz should be reworded thusly:

What issues are most important for the new Congress to tackle?

- Rich people paying too much in taxes

- Wealthy people not getting sufficient tax breaks

- All that pesky money we baby boomers paid in higher Social Security taxes (since 1983) that the government might now have to pay back

- All those darn people who don't work on Wall Street and who aren't CEOs who are making almost enough money to get by

- Constitutional amendment to require us to be dumb enough to take part in Washington Post polls about how, gosh darn it, aren't those Republicans right about just about everything?

Posted by: TheOtherJim | January 5, 2011 11:43 AM

Seriously, Washington Post? This "poll" looks like it was taken directly from GOP talking points. Nothing about immigration? How about the economy/jobs? Or confirming President Obama's well-qualified nominees (which the GOP has blocked for no good reason)? How about war policy (instead of just war funding)?

This list is insulting.

Posted by: eganfoote | January 5, 2011 11:43 AM

Yes, job, jobs, jobs.

Then could I suggest Could I suggest several items:

1) Allow the import from developed country prescription drugs, particularly from Ireland where they are made, to balance the Medicare Part D program.
2) Investigate and reduce private contractors who work for the government in Iraq and Afghanistan, particularly Xe (Blackwater).
3) Review and reduce programs such as the Missile Defense Systems that after 25 years seemed have produced no usable products.
- Lots of other unnecessary and/or obsolete programs. Overseas bases in Germany, for example.
4) A "Medicare that you can Buy" addition to the Universal Healthcare Bill to provide a low cost competitive option to the private sector.

- Note in Switzerland, GDP/head $64,330, they spend 10.8% of their GDP on healthcare, have 4 doctors/1000 pop and 5.1 hospital beds/1000 pop vs
USA $46,350 15.7% 2.7 3.1.
Life expectancy Switzerland 82.5 years
USA 79.9

What are the Swiss doing right that we are doing wrong? Oh, BTW they haven't had a war in 800 years, have a universal well regulated militia and have a very business oriented democracy.

5) Increase the taxes on the wealthy. The economy will not be fully recovered until the middle class has money to spend; when their income can rise. We are headed to a 19th century Latin American economy.

Note: Mandated healthcare I put into the same category as my paying taxes for the war in Iraq. I have no choice. However, I have family without healthcare that need it. We spent all that money on the war in Iraq and Turkey is going to get the economic benefit? If that money we borrowed from China on our childrens dime is going to Turkey and my family is going without healthcare, what happened to my family's security? Bad choice.

Posted by: stanassc | January 5, 2011 11:56 AM

This is a ridiculous list. The only area of education is "No child left behind". Certainly we need more work done in the education of our people. Next is jobs. All these points are right wing talking points. Is your list based on the idea that they (right wing plutocrats) don't want to discuss anything else?

Posted by: ralph5 | January 5, 2011 11:56 AM

Even here in the land of liberals the poll shows govt spending as the number 1 priority. Jobs is dead last on that list. Thank heavens people are in agreement.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | January 5, 2011 12:44 PM

How about climate change? How about infrastructure? How about JOBS?

Your agenda is showing...

Posted by: shoeflyin | January 5, 2011 12:48 PM

Make the Rich pay their FAIR share of taxes (ie pay back the money that was stolen from my 401K). This will allow the government to run...not lay off more people. This will allow government spending, the lack of which will hurt small business. This will remove the uncertainty that is keeping me from spending money on anything at all (ie. I got fired and now my husband's job is threatened)

This will in turn create jobs. Giving tax breaks to CEOs who essentially work in China does not.

What does it take for these jerks in the GOP to see that they are grossly overreaching now.

JUST TAKE EVERYTHING YOU STUPID PIGS!!! I plan on moving to Argentina.

Posted by: pigbitinmad | January 5, 2011 12:55 PM

I find it funny that so many are saying JOBS... JOBS... but the poll shows that is the very last thing all the poll takers reated dead last. The budget needs to get under control and spending needs to slow to a very slow rate. Taxes need to be redone across the board for everyone. Take out all the special interests in taxes and all the deductions. Go to a flat tax by percentage of pay period. What you pay in is your tax no refunds no deductions at all. Government has to live within what is taken in durning the year. No pork projects. Better yet make a law that Congress and Senate can only be in office a max of 8 years then it's over for them.

Posted by: Concerned5 | January 5, 2011 12:56 PM

This is an invalid poll ... many of these items should not even be considered. I do not accept the Republican agenda, and should not be required to implicitly acquiesce to it.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | January 5, 2011 12:57 PM

falling4ever wrote>>>What happened to the JOBS they promised?

That was just a hypothetical promise. Republicans NEVER issued a proposal to create jobs - and for the past 2 years have voted "No!" on every bill to fund private sector jobs.

Posted by: angie12106 | January 5, 2011 1:01 PM

What a joke! Doesn't everybody realize that the GOP has already created the only jobs they care about - their own. To the rest of the millions of Americans lookig for work you, tough luck.

Posted by: dre7861 | January 5, 2011 1:03 PM

The good news is that when the Republicans and moderate Dems vote to repeal Obmacare and to reduce government spending they are also voting to create jobs.

Who in their right mind would have created jobs with the the President and Congress saying profits and the rich are evil; and while being stared down by a group of Democratic muggers ready to take any return you are able to make (after risking your heard earned money) so they can make life more fair!

The Republicans in congress create jobs just by not being Democrats!

Posted by: ELF2 | January 5, 2011 1:03 PM

Actually, by pushing the second to list item on the list down, you move Jobs up one rung. In this way you can move it to number one. However, this is how they will skew the poll to say that "most people" don't care about jobs.

Not only that, but deficit reduction, government spending, debt ceiling and balanced budget are all redundant. I happen to agree that the size of government should be reduced....partly through attrition and largely through eliminating high paying jobs like scientist who research toilets and that sort of thing.

They are wasting our money, but slashing everything overnight will create a disaster.

F these swine.

Posted by: pigbitinmad | January 5, 2011 1:10 PM


Posted by: TOMHERE | January 5, 2011 1:12 PM

Washington Post, circa 1932:

Which problems should FDR tackle first?

a) Deficit
b) South American Wars
c) Loosening Anti-Trust Legislation
d) All of the Above

Posted by: McLfld | January 5, 2011 1:15 PM

We need to come to our senses. Job creation needs to be #1. If we create sufficient jobs to reduce unemployment below 5%, we will have created the best prescription for dealing with the defecit.

Second, we need to deal with the Bush tax cuts and ensure we set up a progressive tax system which will create greater equality of wealth distribution so the middle class participates in shared prosperity.

Yes, we do need to attend to wasteful spending particularly with defense monies. But, we cannot do this too quickly. Otherwise, we will pitch ourselves into a 2nd recession.

Posted by: wmdteam | January 5, 2011 1:21 PM

Belated comment! I too want to add to my voice of the low standard set by the Post in this survey poll. Granted it is not a scientific poll. But it is so skewed in one direction that it simply does not meet the standard of fairness. Yet, we can count on the fact that people will be saying this proves that anything which relates to money, whether deficit, spending, tax cuts,or any other items Republicans list as their #1 priority, are the major priorities facing our country. Not so! Those may be the prioties of persons watching Fox News, but not sensible people who know that job creation is the best tonic for managing the deficit and many more of our problems in the U.S.

Posted by: wmdteam | January 5, 2011 1:50 PM

It's a bit nuts but I like MINI2's idea!

Instead of electing professional millionaire politicians with their private business connections, draft normal Americans for a period of 4 years to serve in Congress (requires a HS diploma min. and no criminal record). Just like jury duty. You get paid what the Congressmen get now plus benefits but no pension.

Cuts down on lobbyist influence.
Eliminates professional politicians.
Eliminates the buying of Congressional seats.
Limits the power of lobbyists.
Instant limited terms.
Congress would actually represent the make up of the US.
Serving in Congress would become actual serving the public and not your own special interests.

Yes, it's nuts but can't be worse then what we have now.

Posted by: janeway1 | January 5, 2011 1:55 PM

Shouldn't this poll note that option 9 (job creation) was added hours after the poll opened, and thus the poll is less useful than the average online poll?

Posted by: pastormaker1 | January 5, 2011 2:02 PM

So many comments about jobs and Jobs is #8?

Posted by: knjincvc | January 5, 2011 2:02 PM

Posted by: geoffryh | January 5, 2011 9:26 AM
“Next, Comprehensive Health Care--small businesses will not survive if you can't get it--I sure won't go into my own business without it.”

Small businesses will survive but they won’t offer their employees Comprehensive Health Care coverage. The result … America will become a second world country.

Posted by: MiuBot116 | January 5, 2011 9:28 AM
“How about the Boomers doing something, ANYTHING, to address their impending retirement disaster?”

Aaaah … we did.
The so called greatest generation sent us to Vietnam we came back (minus 56K of us) went to work supporting or parents and grandparents with our Social Security contributions.
We saved, invested in 401K programs only to be wiped out by a deregulated Wall Street. Most of us are still working and will continue to do so because of Wall Street greed.

Hey … how about eliminating the cap on Social Security earnings? Do ya think that would help?

Posted by: knjincvc | January 5, 2011 2:19 PM


"Job Creation" is scoring low in the poll because that option was only added to the poll hours after it opened.

This poll is worse than useless--it's malicious.

Posted by: pastormaker1 | January 5, 2011 2:21 PM

This "poll" seems to have been based on Republican talking points. Also, the so-called opinion poll makes no distinction between those who are in favor for the Bush tax cuts (i.e., tax cuts for ungrateful millionaires), and those who would like to have them repealed.

Posted by: Purplestatevoter | January 5, 2011 2:57 PM

Why not call this poll, "Which Republican talking points are your favorite?"

What about the economy, jobs, infrastructure, other educational items than NCLB, the bloated defense budget, the mortgage crisis, bank fraud, the wars, ethics reform, campaign finance reform, the environment and global climate change, etc., etc.?

Are you trying to demonstrate how insular and clueless you really are? If so, you're doing a heck of a job.

Posted by: mjshep | January 5, 2011 3:05 PM

"Jobs" was not included in the original poll because everyone at the Post has a job and, ergo, it can't be an issue.

This is truly pathetic, even by the standards of the high-school dropouts who currently staff the Post.

Posted by: rtwmd | January 5, 2011 5:03 PM

It's embarrassing that the newspaper of Woodward, Bernstein, and Bradley has become the tool of the right-wing faction of the GOP. Nothing but talking points! None of the above even worthy of consideration until you added job creation. Echo chamber for the GOP who, with the Post's help, will drive us deeper into the ditch. These aren't America's priorities!

Posted by: calross | January 5, 2011 7:41 PM

The Village courtiers will tell us what we should be concerned about, thank you very much. Just b/c the concerns are all loaded w/ rightwing frames embedded in them and there aren't any issues included that actually matter to the great unwashed masses doesn't mean that they don't have our best interests at heart and aren't dismayed when they must walk over us as we lay in the street to get to their jobs. They feel twinges of guilt. But, ultimately, it's their world and we just live in it.

Posted by: bgallock | January 5, 2011 7:45 PM

Also, this:

Shouldn't this poll note that option 9 (job creation) was added hours after the poll opened, and thus the poll is less useful than the average online poll?

Posted by: bgallock | January 5, 2011 7:47 PM

Why don't you own up to having put "Jobs" in as a choice only after a slew of people wrote in to complain? People who come in now, not knowing that, would assume that there are far fewer votes for jobs than for other things, but that's only because the damned choice hasn't been up there as long as the pther ones.

I guess it's no big shock, though, that you seem not to have thought "jobs" would be worth putting up: you have good jobs with good pay, so why would you give a damn about a bunch of nobodies who don't? It seems like you Post editors don't give any thought about the millions of Americans who are struggling, who have are out of work, or have even lost their houses. I bet you'd pipe up quick enough with a sob piece about some millionaire businessman, though, if he lost his bonus.

You people have no souls, and you should be ashamed.

Posted by: zarzamora | January 5, 2011 9:20 PM

You also left off "finding new sources of catering for Georgetown cocktail parties."

Posted by: rtwmd | January 6, 2011 9:16 AM

1) Economy
2) Climate Crisis
3) Education costs
4) Health care costs
5) Electoral reform

Posted by: AxelDC | January 6, 2011 3:45 PM

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