Move Over Biden, Congress' Approval Rating is Just 13%: The Kiplinger Letter

A recent Gallup poll shows Congress' approval rating at 13%, the lowest since 2017.

To help you understand what's going on in Congress and what we expect to happen in the future, our highly experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You'll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest…

If you think President Biden’s job approval is low — now averaging 41% — he’s got nothing on Congress, with its approval rating of only 13%, the legislative body’s lowest since 2017, according to a recent Gallup poll.

Members of Congress don’t seem to like each other much, either. A recent uptick of bad behavior on Capitol Hill offers some evidence. For example, Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) accused ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) of elbowing him in the hallway — more fallout from the nasty Republican vs Republican intraparty fight that ousted McCarthy. Likewise, name-calling and vulgar words are now more common.

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When they aren’t at each other’s throats, members of Congress are trying to fight witnesses in committee hearings and even setting off false fire alarms. Lawmakers have also filed an extraordinary number of censure motions: 18, two of which succeeded. Censure motions are historically rare. In fact, the House did not censure anyone between 2011 and 2020. But increasingly, lawmakers view them as a tool for punishing members of the other party, justified or not.

The holiday break will help bring down the temperature a bit. But cooler heads will still struggle to prevail when Congress returns.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

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Sean Lengell
Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter

Sean Lengell covers Congress and government policy for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in January 2017 he served as a congressional reporter for eight years with the Washington Examiner and the Washington Times. He previously covered local news for the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune. A native of northern Illinois who spent much of his youth in St. Petersburg, Fla., he holds a bachelor's degree in English from Marquette University.