- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 22, 2017

President Trump gets vexed with the dithering Congress, and so does the public. Americans’ approval of Congress has dwindled to 13 percent favorability, and it is now at its lowest point since July 2016, just a few percentage points higher than the historic low of 9 percent in 2013, says Gallup analyst Justin McCarthy, citing the pollster’s findings both past and present.

“Americans of all political stripes hold Congress in similarly low regard. Just 18 percent of Republicans, 14 percent of Democrats and 10 percent of independents approve of the job the legislative body is doing,” Mr. McCarthy says. “Longer term, Republicans’ rating of Congress has dropped considerably since spiking to 50 percent in February as Republican control of both the presidency and the legislative branch gave a jolt of optimism to the party’s base. But their approval has fallen as the year progressed, possibly because many of the promises Republican candidates made to voters have not come to fruition.”

Could the entrenched image of the “do nothing” Congress change? It could if Mr. Trump can shift Capitol Hill culture from legislative dormancy to robust action. He might be just the man to do it. Consider Mr. Trump’s terse comment to Fox Business Network anchor Maria Bartiromo, who was curious about the continued meandering discussions among lawmakers about the president’s tax-reform proposals.

“If they can’t get this tax bill done this year, should they forego Thanksgiving and Christmas? Should they be here if they don’t have a bill on your desk by Thanksgiving?” Ms. Bartiromo wondered.

“I think they should. And I think they will,” Mr. Trump replied.


Even critics are often amazed at the staying power of the Fox News Channel, which has remained the top cable news outlet for the last 16 years despite a volatile marketplace and some in-house turmoil in recent days. Fox News has simply pushed back, stayed on message and persevered. The latest: a brand-new prime-time lineup, which debuts Monday evening.

“The Story with Martha MacCallum” kicks off the lineup at 7 p.m. EDT followed by “Tucker Carlson Tonight” an hour later and “Hannity” with namesake Sean Hannity at 9 p.m. “The Ingraham Angle,” hosted by Laura Ingraham, debuts at 10 p.m.

“The show will aim to cut through the Washington chatter to speak directly with unexpected voices and the actual people who are impacted by the news of the day,” the network says. “Ingraham will challenge the decision makers to focus on everyday, hard-working Americans who serve as the backbone of the nation.”

“Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream” tops off the night at 11 p.m. — described by the network as “a capstone on today’s most consequential news, with an eye toward setting the table for tomorrow’s ever-changing developments.”


A quote of note on media bias against President Trump, confirmed by major polls and studies and, of course, Mr. Trump’s fans.

“I think the media have been harder on Trump than any other president certainly that I’ve known about,” former President Jimmy Carter told New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who recently went all the way to Plains, Georgia, to have a wide-ranging chat with the 93-year-old. Mr. Carter appeared to suggest that press behavior has, uh, evolved.

“I think they feel free to claim that Trump is mentally deranged and everything else without hesitation,” he said.


One event could yield interesting quotes for Monday: The Hudson Institute will host a conference at the Ronald Reagan Building just three blocks from the White House, which should yield some interesting commentary. The topic: “Countering Violent Extremism: Qatar, Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

On hand to weigh in: Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and former CIA director David Petraeus. Things get started at noon, EDT. Yes, C-SPAN will be there.


There’s been a lot of squawking about “chaos” and discord in the Trump administration. Perhaps some government workers have not gotten the message, though. According to some major research, federal employees are happier now than they were last year.

“The happiness and engagement of federal employees inched higher for the third straight year in 2017, according to a new government wide survey measuring attitudes on jobs, management and compensation,” reports Government Executive, which tracks the federal workplace.

The Office of Personnel Management managed to survey 486,105 employees in 80 federal agencies to find a rise in the “satisfaction index” reflecting employee happiness with compensation, their work itself and the overall organization. The score rose 3 percentage points, up from 61 percent who were satisfied last year to 64 percent in 2017.

“Employee engagement also continued its gains from last year, as 67 percent of feds said they felt engaged by their work this year, which is 2 points higher than 2016 and the highest level since 2011. Prior to 2015, the survey showed four consecutive years of declines in both happiness and engagement,” Government Executive reported. “The Homeland Security Department, frequently dogged for its low worker morale and satisfaction, saw the biggest gains of any department with at least 75,000 employees, jumping 4 percentage points in engagement from 56 percent in 2016 to 60 percent this year. The U.S. Army also saw a 4 percentage point hike in that category.”

NASA is the most “engaged” workforce, with an 82 percent rating.


75 percent of Americans say space tourism “will only benefit a few wealthy people.”

72 percent say there should be “privacy limitation” on satellite companies that capture Earth-based data.

65 percent say the U.S. should only invest in space programs that benefit “life on earth.”

47 percent say space-based defense systems improve life. 32 percent cite communications systems, 31 percent weather forecasting, 15 percent GPS systems.

46 percent support investing federal money in a Mars mission.

Source: A Brodeur Partners survey of 615 U.S. adults conducted from Oct. 4-11 and released Thursday.

• Ballyhoo, balderdash to [email protected]

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