According to a Gallup Poll released on Thursday, Americans' confidence in Congress is higher than its been in a while. The poll revealed that 19% of Americans approve of what the legislative body is doing. While this rating is dismal, it is a marked improvement from last month's in which Gallup found that Congress had a 14% approval rating. Indeed, this 19% is the highest approval rating of any month since last October.
Gallup suggests that the increased approval rating may stem from the Congress' measured response to the military crisis in Syria. The pollster notes that the public is largely rejecting Obama's call for U.S. military intervention as only 31% of Americans support the president's approach. Congress, like the public, is wary about such intervention, and Americans are solidly behind them.
How long will this fragile goodwill between Congress and the public last? Chances are it won't last long. 19% is still an anemic figure and the vast majority of U.S. citizens continue to disapprove of Congress' activities. Additionally, while Syria appears to be the top issue in Washington D.C. , there are myriad other issues waiting to return to the forefront. These are issues Congress has continually failed to address successfully that are a source of consistent frustration among the American people. Two issues especially perilous for Congress are Obamacare and immigration reform.
In March 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law. Since then, Republicans have been on a fevered, quixotic quest either to destroy it or to delay its implementation indefinitely. On Wednesday, the Hill reported a new tactic Congress has adopted to fight the act: using arcane, complex congressional procedures to defend Obamacare. The GOP rejects the ACA for many reasons. Nevertheless, it has yet to propose a suitable alternative. Meanwhile, regular Americans worry more and more about health care, and many Americans look towards the government to provide a solution to this home-grown crisis. Congress is not providing one, which will haunt the legislative body until it offers some sort of resolution.
Immigration reform presents another major challenge to Congress. In June 2013, Politico reported that Americans overwhelmingly supported immigration reform. Congress' response? Nothing, which has compounded the woes of the public.
While Obamacare and immigration reform are the most obvious unresolved issues, there are scores of others. If Congress doesn't address this trend, its approval ratings will likely plummet in the next few months.