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Congress Quotes

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Quote Author Cited
I became active in politics because I saw the possibility, if we all sat back and did nothing, of a world in which there would no longer be any stages for actors to act on. Helen Gahagan
The moral and constitutional obligations of our representatives in Washington are to protect our liberty, not coddle the world, precipitating no-win wars, while bringing bankruptcy and economic turmoil to our people. Ron Paul
A decision is what a man makes when he can't find anybody to serve on a committee. Fletcher Knebel
I would not have a woman go to Congress merely because she is a woman. Crystal Eastman
I am not a federal employee. I am a constitutional officer. My job is the Constitution of the United States, I am not a government employee. I am in the Constitution. Tom DeLay
A majority is always better than the best repartee. Benjamin Disraeli
All politics is local. Thomas P. O'Neill
No public man can be just a little crooked. Herbert Hoover
The debates of that great assembly are frequently vague and perplexed, seeming to be dragged rather than to march, to the intended goal. Something of this sort must, I think, always happen in public democratic assemblies. Alexis de Tocqueville
Congress, the press, and the bureaucracy too often focus on how much money or effort is spent, rather than whether the money or effort actually achieves the announced goal. Donald Rumsfeld
If you want to get along, go along. Sam Rayburn
In the United States, the majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions of their own. Alexis de Tocqueville
Too many critics mistake the deliberations of the Congress for its decisions. Sam Rayburn
The passion for office among members of Congress is very great, if not absolutely disreputable, and greatly embarrasses the operations of the Government. They create offices by their own votes and then seek to fill them themselves. James K. Polk
It is more profitable for your congressman to support the tobacco industry than your life. Jackie Mason
I'm used to being in the minority. I'm a left-handed gay Jew. I've never felt, automatically, a member of any majority. Barney Frank
Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one. Sam Rayburn
We have been taught to regard a representative of the people as a sentinel on the watch-tower of liberty. Daniel Webster
The House of Representatives is ruled by a small group of old men. Shirley Chisholm
Vote. Vote. We want Beer! Anonymous
My ignorance of politics couldn't be matched by anybody in politics. Bruce R. Alger
The Select Committee was designed to go after Hillary Clinton. Richard L. Hanna
Sometimes, the biggest sin you can commit in [Washington] DC is to tell the truth. This may not be politically correct, but I think that there was a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people and an individual, Hillary Clinton. Richard L. Hanna
Our representatives are betrayers of the people. William Lloyd Garrison
We could beat back Kennedy on Civil Rights, but Lyndon [Johnson] knows how to beat us. Richard B. Russell Jr.
... lemmings with suicide vests. Devin Nunes
A license permits broadcasting, but the licensee has no constitutional right to be the one who holds the license or to monopolize a radio frequency to the exclusion of his fellow citizens. There is nothing in the First Amendment which prevents the government from requiring a licensee to share his frequency with others.... There is no sanctuary in the First Amendment for unlimited private censorship operating in a medium not open to all.... It is the right of the viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount.... It is the purpose of the First Amendment to preserve an uninhibited marketplace of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail, rather than to countenance monopolization of that market, whether it be by the government itself or a private licensee. It is the right of the public to receive suitable access to social, political, esthetic, moral, and other ideas and experiences which is crucial here. That right may not constitutionally be abridged either by Congress or by the FCC. Byron R. White
I can personally testify that American politics have taken a distinctly downward turn in the space of one mature lifetime. Gary Hart
This [Washington DC] is the people's city, and the people of South Carolina have almost as much vested here as the people who live here. Mick Mulvaney
The idea that this country may acquire territories anywhere upon the earth, by conquest or treaty, and hold them as mere colonies or provinces, the people inhabiting them to enjoy only such rights as Congress accords them, is wholly inconsistent with the spirit and genius as well as with the words of the Constitution John Marshall Harlan
An act of Congress is binding upon all as much as if it were included … in the Constitution itself. John Marshall Harlan
...If any shall be heard to swear, curse, or blaspheme the name of God, the Commander is strictly enjoined to punish them for every offence, by causing them to wear a wooden collar, or some other shameful badge of distinction, for so long time as he shall judge proper. If he be a commissioned officer, he shall forfeit one shilling for each offence, and a warrant or inferior officer six pence. He who is guilty of drunkenness, if a seaman, shall be put in irons until he is sober, but if an officer, he shall forfeit two days' pay.... Continental Congress
It is earnestly recommended to all officers and soldiers, diligently to attend Divine Service; and all officers and soldiers who shall behave indecently or irreverently at any place of Divine Worship, shall, if commissioned officers, be brought before a court-martial. there to be publicly and severely reprimanded by the President; if non-commissioned officers or soldiers, every person so offending, shall, for his first offence, forfeit One Sixth of a Dollar, to be deducted out of his next pay; for the second offence, he shall not only forfeit a like sum, but be confined for twenty-four hours, and for every like offence Continental Congress
We beseech thee, upon these our American states who have fled to thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves upon thy gracious protection, desiring henceforth to be dependent only on thee. To thee they have appealed for the righteousness of their Cause; to Thee do they look up, for that countenance & support which Thou alone canst give. Take them, therefore, Heavenly Father, under thy nurturing care: give them wisdom in council, valour in the field. Defeat the malicious designs of our cruel adversaries. Convince them of the unrighteousness of their cause. And if they persist in their sanguinary purposes, O! let the voice of thy unerring justice sounding in their hearts constrain them to drop the weapons of war from their enerved hands in the day of battle. Be thou present, O God of Wisdom and direct the counsels of this honorable Assembly. Enable them to settle things upon the best and surest foundation, that the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that harmony and peace may effectually be restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety prevail and flourish amongst thy people. Preserve the health of their bodies and the vigor of their minds; shower down upon them and the millions they represent such temporal blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world, and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ thy son, Our Saviour, Amen. Jacob Duche
To make representation real and actual, the number of Representatives ought to be adequate; they ought to mix with the people, think as they think, feel as they feel, ought to be perfectly amenable to them, and thoroughly acquainted with their interest and condition: George Mason
For six years the senators are rendered totally and absolutely independent of their States, of whom they ought to be the representatives, without any bond or tie between them: During that time they may join in measures ruinous and destructive to their States, even such as should totally annihilate their State governments, and their States cannot recall them, nor exercise any controul over them. Martin Luther
We meditate on the transcendental glory of the Deity Supreme, who is inside the heart of the Earth, inside the life of the sky and inside the soul of the heaven. May He stimulate and illuminate our minds…. Peace, peace, peace be unto all. Rajan Zed
This is an abomination … This is not a religion that has produced great things in the world David Barton
This is an abomination…. No lord but Jesus Christ! Anonymous
The men of middling property and poor men can never be safe in a mixed representation with the men of over-grown property. Benjamin Rush
Brothers: I am glad you have brought three of the Children of your principal Chiefs to be educated with us. I am sure Congress will open the Arms of love to them, and will look upon them as their own Children, and will have them educated accordingly. This is a great mark of your confidence and of your desire to preserve the friendship between the Two Nations to the end of time, and to become One people with your Brethren of the United States. My ears hear with pleasure the other matters you mention. Congress will be glad to hear them too. You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention; and to tie the knot of friendship and union so fast, that nothing shall ever be able to loosen it. George Washington
How many crossbreeds between a great dane and a chuwawa have you seen? Likewise there is great difficulty with a House -- Senate conference. William Marshall Thomas
We represent the people and we will do so in a way which allows us to interact with the people. William Marshall Thomas
Congress called a special session to debate the treatment of a woman in a persistent vegetative state on a day that 20,000 children died in the third world. Jeffrey Sachs
The Congressional Ethics Committees are the brothers and sisters of member of Congress and no one wants to investigate their brothers and sisters. Joan Claybrook
I have sworn to the nation to govern it under a constitutional system. But if, through the vices of its organization or the passions of its agents, it wants to convert itself into an instrument of anarchy, the nation itself in use of its sovereign rights will give a new representation, and I will be the first to invoke it. Agustin I; Agustin de Iturbide
The President must certainly be punishable for giving false information to the Senate. He is to regulate all intercourse with foreign powers, and it is his duty to impart to the Senate every material intelligence he receives. If it should appear that he has not given them full information, but has concealed important intelligence which he ought to have communicated, and by that means induced them to enter into measures injurious to their country, and which they would not have consented to had the true state of things been disclosed to them, — in this case, I ask whether, upon an impeachment for a misdemeanor upon such an account, the Senate would probably favor him. James Iredell
Retaliation is sometimes mercy, mercy to both parties Henry Clay
The deputies have expressed their confidence in me, but I have no confidence in them. Kucuk Mehmet Sait Pasha
The Turkish state has neither a crowned head nor a dictator. Kemal Ataturk
If Baptists want to sleep in the pews and Pentecostals want to leap over them, it is none of Congress's business. Jerry Falwell
Incivility is not the disease. It is the symptom. Partisanship is the disease…. When your highest duty is to your party, the public interest becomes subservient. Joseph I. Lieberman
We´re opening a process against 15% of Congress members. I wonder if in any other part of the world such a massive inquiry in democracy has taken place. This means we´re beginning an in depth cleaning operation to recover the prestige of the Brazilian Legislative which has never had its image so tarnished. Raul Jungmann
So often the seeds of a Congressional ethics scandal are sown by the reforms of the last ethics scandal. Karen Tumulty
There have been 2000 Americans who have served in Congress. The people who serve in Congress are no better nor no worse than those in any other American institution. Louis Stokes
In a Congressional ethics investigation of members there is a conflict of interest…in a sense, the norms and practices of the institution are on trial. Dennis Thompson
There is a kind of innate conflict of interest when members of congressional ethics committees are called upon to judge their colleagues. Lee H. Hamilton
The usually travelled route for a great many Members of the last Congress was an exceedingly crooked one, even for politicians. Horace Greeley
…the knocking down and beating to bloody blindness and unconsciousness of an American Senator while writing at his desk in the Senate Chamber is a novel illustration of the ferocious Southern spirit. New York Tribune
I disapproved from the first moment... the want of a bill of rights to guard liberty against the legislative as well as the executive branches of the government … Thomas Jefferson
You can lead a man to Congress, but you cannot make him think. Anonymous
Congress is so strange. A man gets up to speak and says nothing. Nobody listens—and then everybody disagrees. Boris Marshalov
The hardest way to make a million dollars is to become a United States senator. Any vicious, impudent, brazen, shrewd, gifted person can think of an infinite number of better ways to become rich than to become a crooked politician. Walter Karp
Judges tend to support the current government not because they necessarily share its views, but because they wish to avoid a worse outcome in which the Congress overrides their decisions. Gretchen Helmke
If the health insurance plan members of Congress have is good enough for them, why isn’t it good enough for every American. Anna Burger
I’ve always been a little nervous about the Fed. Quite frankly, I’m a little nervous about the degree of their independence. Trent Lott
Governing is hard. If you’re in the majority, you’ve got to do the hard work of governing Robert Walker
Select Committee of the House and Senate on the Insurrectionary States United States Congress
I spend my time hearing a lot of schmoozers discuss the tariff and … the mails from Paducah to Scholarie. William Marcy Tweed
If there is any conflict between Congress and science, Congress will win. Congress is paying the bills. Tom Bethell
Kid Congress and the Senate, don’t scold em. They are just children that’s never grown up. They don’t like to be corrected in company. Will Rogers
When like-minded people deliberate as an organized group, the general opinion shifts towards extreme versions of their common beliefs. Cass Sunstein
A thief is more moral than a congressman; when a thief steals your money, he doesn't demand you thank him. Walter E. Williams
Under a firearms policy largely dictated by the National Rifle Association, people on terrorist watch lists can and do buy guns in the United States without difficulty. Congress decided, over the objections of the FBI, that government records of who bought guns should not be kept for more than twenty-four hours. Richard A. Clarke
To send a man to Mars we have a generously funded, well-integrated project; but to detect a smuggled nuclear bomb on its way to a U.S. city we allocate a puny fraction of those funds and scatter it among a multitude of disjointed studies that feed congressional pork. Fred Charles Ikle
Logically, in a society ostensibly grounded on representative government, it would seem reasonable that a majority of the people in a State would elect a majority of that State’s legislators. Earl Warren
Well, we got plenty of heroin in my district. We don’t need any more. So I suggest you try it in Queens and Staten Island. They don’t have very much there. Charles B. Rangel
The Congress may no more regulate the president's ability to detain and interrogate enemy combatants than it may regulate his ability to direct troop movements on the battlefield Jay S. Bybee
My abilities, I well know, are not of the superior kind, but it will be my study to do what is right; and with the assistance of abler counsel, I trust that religion and learning, as well as the rights of human kind, will be advanced and protected under the new government. Thomas Hartley
Joint committee to consider what STYLE or TITLES it will be proper to annex to the OFFICES of President and of Vice President of the United States--if any other than those given in the Constitution. Richard Henry Lee
Both Houses having resolved to accompany the President after he shall have taken the Oath, to St. Paul’s Chapel, to hear divine service, to be performed by the Chaplain of Congress,… United States Congress
The judicial cannot prescribe to the legislative departments of the government limitations upon exercise of its acknowledged powers. The power to tax may be exercised oppressively on persons, but the responsibility … not to the courts, but to the people by whom its members are elected. Salmon P. Chase
Grave doubts have been entertained whether Congress is authorized by the Constitution to make any form of paper money legal tender. James A. Garfield
The Pig Book Citizens Against Government Waste
Eventually, money wins in politics. Jack Abramoff
A political ideology is a very handy thing to have. It’s a real time saver because it tells you what you think about things you know nothing about. Hendrick Hertzberg
There can be no complete and permanent reform of the civil service until public opinion emancipates congressmen from all control and influence over government patronage . . . No proper legislation is to be expected as long as members of Congress are engaged in procuring offices for their constituents Rutherford B. Hayes
I must let you know that I will not let any of my ministers be questioned by you... Charles I
Unauthorized by the Constitution, without the sanction of Congress, to go beyond the line of defense, the vessel, being disabled from committing further hostilities, was liberated with its crew. The Legislature will doubtless consider whether, by authorizing measures of offense also, they will place our force on an equal footing with that of its adversaries. Thomas Jefferson
The relation of the conservation of natural resources to the problems of National welfare and National efficiency had not yet dawned on the public mind. The reclamation of arid public lands in the West was still a matter for private enterprise alone; and our magnificent river system, with its superb possibilities for public usefulness, was dealt with by the National Government not as a unit, but as a disconnected series of pork-barrel problems, whose only real interest was in their effect on the re-election or defeat of a Congressman here and there—a theory which, I regret to say, still obtains. Theodore Roosevelt
One of the countless drawbacks of being in Congress is that I am compelled to receive impertinent letters from a jackass like you John Steven McGroarty
A Senator of the United States … serves his people by joining in the petty squabbles that occupy so much time of the Senate today. I may have grown cynical from long service, but this is a tendency I do not like, and I sometimes think I’d rather be a dog and bay at the moon than stay in the Senate another six years and listen to it. John Sharp Williams
Just as we cool our coffee at the breakfast table we pour legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it George Washington
Don’t ever talk until you know what you’re talking about… Sam Rayburn
The President alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation. He makes treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate; but he alone negotiates. Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude; and Congress itself is powerless to invade it. George Sutherland
I would no more admit the rebels to control these States than I would sail a ship with the mutinous part of a crew, and confine those who were faithful to the captain in the hold or put them in irons. Daniel Clark
Never by my consent shall these rebels gain by this war increased political power, and come back here to wield that political power John Sherman
To what purpose are powers limited, and to what purpose is that limitation committed to writing; if those limits may, at any time, be passed by those intended to be restrained? If the Constitution is alterable when the legislature shall please to alter it, . . . then written constitutions are absurd attempts, on the part of the people, to limit a power in its nature illimitable John Marshall
If Congress were to go beyond the delegated powers . . . if they were to make a law not warranted by the powers enumerated, it would be considered by the judges as an infringement of the Constitution . . . They would declare it void John Marshall
The republic has been structured to guard against the cabals of a few as well as against confusion of a multitude, but how each House of Congress would maintain that balance was left to the discretion of the two bodies. James Madison
You don’t need more hearings. You need more gumption. You’ll be treated like office boys until you stand up and kick them [the Nixon White House] in the slats. Raoul Berger
Expand the size of the house so that it no longer serves as a casino for professional politicians. Howard Phillips
One of the biggest mistakes of the Constitution is the provision that lets Congressman set their own salaries …. These should be set by the home state which they represent based on their perception of the worth of the representative. Howard Phillips
Everyone in Congress represents Washington. Louis Wilson Ingram
The people in Congress have no interest in preserving the Constitution because they are interested in power. Louis Wilson Ingram
I am voting for this war so as not to be disloyal to President Bush. George Allen
We have not entire faith in the trust that Congress has in the unchangeableness of the laws of arithmetic. We might think that their competency to select a professor of history might be doubted. They seem to have an impression that there is such a thing as" American" political economy, which can no more be than "American" chemistry or "American" physics. Finally, gentlemen, we should a little distrust the selection by Congress of a professor of ethics. Of course, we should feel no doubt in regard to the tenure of office of the professors being entirely suitable, it being the well-known practice of both branches of Congress to select men solely for fitness, without regard to locality, and to keep them in office as long as they are competent and faithful. Charles W. Eliot
The greatest single blessing enjoyed by the people of these United States is the right of conscience -- the right to think, and to say and write what one thinks. I admit of no limitation of that right. Edward Voigt
Victor Berger is one of the most dangerous men in the United States …. He is one of the most dangerous men in the United States. House of Representatives
No one should let the draft registration figures cause him to believe that the war is becoming popular ... They registered because the law makes it a crime not to register. ... Why should we permit our boys to be killed and maimed by the hundreds of thousands to protect the British commercial interest or because English profiteers make money out of this war? Victor L. Berger
I am well aware that the International Bankers who drive up to the door of the United States Treasury in their limousines, look down with scorn upon members of Congress because we work for so little, while they draw millions a year. The difference is that we earn, or try to earn, what we get- and they steal the greater part of their takings. Louis Thomas McFadden
The theory is that election to Congress is tantamount to being dispatched to Washington on a looting raid for the enrichment of your state or district, and no other ethic need inhibit the feeding frenzy. George Will
Where you stand on process depends on where you stand on outcomes. Jerome Nadler
If we were left solely to the wordy wit of legislators in Congress for our guidance, uncorrected by the seasonal experience and the effectual complaints of the people, America would not long retain her rank among the nations. Henry David Thoreau
I demand simple justice. I am not here as beggar. I do not care so far as I am personally concerned whether you give me a seat or not. I will go back to my people and come here again. Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback
Congressional investigations are for the benefit of photographers. Will Rogers
Our system of government is protected from the cabal of the few and the confusion of the multitude. James Madison
When I came here I thought I worked for the President. But I didn’t realize that I also worked for 534 other people at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue who all think that they are presidents. Alphonso Jackson
Those members of Congress who want to bring back pork to their districts should stand up proudly and be counted. Errol Louis
Congressmen are the only group in America who every two years have to go out and beg for their jobs. Cokie Roberts
I love my country but I cannot vote for war. Jeannette Rankin
The country don’t need no legislation Joseph Cannon
They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge. Thomas Reid
The economy controls the politicians far more than the politicians control the economy. Mardy Grothe
In the U.S. Senate a quorum consists of the chairman of the Committee on Finance and a messenger from the White House. Ambrose Bierce
The safety of a minister lies in his having the approbation of this House. Former ministers, Sir, neglected this, and therefore they fell; I have always made it my first study to obtain it... Robert Walpole; 1st Earl of Oxford
I did not intend that Uncle Sam be held up while he was doing great work for himself and all mankind. Theodore Roosevelt
I do not believe that I have ever before written to an individual legislator in favor of an individual bill, but …. Theodore Roosevelt
If I could only be President and Congress too, for just 10 minutes. Theodore Roosevelt
If we permit ourselves to be ill served, to be served by corrupt and incompetent and inefficient men, then on our own head must the blame rest. Theodore Roosevelt
I came to Congress hoping to change the world; I now hope to be able to leave with my dignity. Henry Hyde
Incumbents have too much power and challengers have too little opportunity. Newt Gingrich
Congressmen take an independent oath to protect and defend the Constitution. They work with the President; they do not work for the President. Newt Gingrich
What do members of Congress say to each other every Wednesday? Have a nice weekend! Mark Russell
Congress was the first branch of the government. It was designed as a rough and tumble place. Norman Orenstein
An urgent need exists for regular and responsible Congressional scrutiny of the Central Intelligence Agency. Such scrutiny is essential… Our form of government…is based on a system of checks and balances. If this system gets seriously out of balance at any point the whole system is jeopardized and the way is opened for the growth of tyranny…CIA is freed from practically every ordinary form of Congressional check. I agree that an intelligence agency must maintain complete secrecy to be effective. However, there is a profound difference between an essential degree of secrecy to achieve a specific purpose and secrecy for the mere sake of secrecy. Mike Mansfield
…the War Department was…something that stood between the Army and Congress; that way to get legislation for the Army was no to try to educate Congress and the people to Army methods, but to educate the War Department to congressional methods. Johnson Hagwood
It doesn't require any particular bravery to stand on the floor of the Senate and urge our boys in Vietnam to fight harder, and if this war mushrooms into a major conflict and a hundred thousand young Americans are killed, it won't be US Senators who die. It will be American soldiers who are too young to qualify for the senate. George McGovern
George W. Bush is a big spender…. When Congress sends up a bill with big. fat, crackling pork, he says, “Where’s the barbecue sauce?” Peggy Noonan
We have before us in the White House … a criminal—known to be armed and dangerous. Lewis H. Lapham
There can hardly be a more grave act imaginable than to dupe a democracy into going to war, but this is what Bush has done. Matthew Rothschild
A President can commit no more serious crime against our democracy than lying to Congress and the American people to get them to support a military action or war. Elizabeth Holtzman
The Senate must stop doing so much of its business in secret, behind closed doors…. A bill that affects the nation’s security has been held up for months by a secret hold and cannot see the light of day…. There is no accountability…. The person who exercises a hold ought to be identified…. Secret holds have been the bane of the United States Senate for decades. So much for sunshine in the United States Senate. Ron Wyden
When the President of the United States breaks the law he must be held accountable. That is why I am introducing today a resolution to censure George W. Bush…. At the very heart of our constitution is the assumption that some members of the government will do wrong, and when they do, others in the government must do right…. The President has broken the law. Congress must act…. Our job is not to stand up and cheer when the President breaks the law. Russ Feingold
This place is being corrupted by money. Anyone who does not believe this is not living on this planet…. Anybody with their eyes open knows that we have a problem. Jim McGovern
Congress and elected bodies always tend to react. As public bodies we are behind the people. Doc Hastings
There is always going to be dissention between the Pentagon and Congress. John Warner
No legislator ever got in trouble for voting against a bill that passed or for a bill that didn’t pass. Bob Dole
Tombstone Bonus Anonymous
The Congress is not a court of law but it is a court of public opinion. Eleanor Clift
Foreign trade can no longer be dealt with apart from other domestic economic policies and concerns. Governments often employ trade policies less for commercial ends than to achieve other goals- economic, political, and social. Congressional Budget Office
Separation of powers means that the president cannot control Congress. Robert Jervis
It seldom happens in the negotiation of treaties…but that perfect secrecy and immediate dispatch are sometimes requisite…and there doubtless are many [people] who would rely on the secrecy of the president, but who would not confide in that of the Senate, and still less in that of a large popular assembly. John Jay
Congress has no authority to interfere in the internal regulations of particular States, relative to the instruction of slaves in the principles of morality and religion; to their comfortable clothing and accommodations, and subsistence; to the regulation of their marriages, and the prevention of the violation of their rights thereof. House of Representatives
If you read his … testimonies before Congress you will note that there is always something to be terribly, horribly and deeply worried about Pierre Andre Rinfret
The imperial Presidency requires a passive Congress. Andrew Rudalevige
If you can’t move the public, you can’t move the Congress. John Linder
You can’t have Congressional hearings on classified matters. Saxbe Chambliss
the ministry of interior may censor newspapers and ban them if they include anything that violates public security, threatens national unity, or contradicts Islam Russell B. Long; Mauritania
We do not have to make it perfect; we just have to do as best we can. Orrin Hatch
With his arrogant usurpation of power and refusal to follow well-established wire-tapping laws, I believe this president is not living up to [his] oath. By shunning the oversight of the courts and ignoring the express language of the laws passed by Congress, this president is, in my judgment, defiantly and stubbornly ignoring the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress. Ted Kennedy
Here’s a little Washington clue. When they say, “With all due respect,” they’re about to insult you. Gwen Ifill
If you think that my job is to rob the Federal Treasury on your behalf, you have voted for the wrong man John Boehner
If we in Congress cannot in time of war regulate the behavior of our troops, then we have no power. Lindsey Graham
Thank God we have a press that tells us what you guys are doing. Patrick Leahy
Checks and balances, in time of war, are more important than ever. Lindsey Graham
We need reform. We need more transparency between those who lobby us and ourselves in the Congress. John Boehner
we need to work harder if we're going to continue what Carl Sagan saw as a new Renaissance of discovery. One way is by explaining to the Congress and the public why it is in our national interest to get this work funded. We can win this – and do what is right by the American people – if we can get the public to understand what's at stake. William B. Richardson
A Senator is like a begonia, showy but useless. Henry Adams
Goodness knows, we have horrible problems to face in this Congress. I hope we can face them as colleagues in working unitedly for the people of this country and certainly not indulging in animosity or referring to each other as ''enemies.'' Harold S. Sawyer
In Congressional legislating, most of the game is played between the 30-yard lines. The great forces of inertia and compromise … in the past have frequently pushed liberal and conservative players toward the middle of the field. Steven V. Roberts
Our laws to be wholesome need not be enacted in a palace. Eligius Fromentin
The President has the power to wage war but not against U. S. laws…. He is a President; not a king. Russ Feingold
Congress can’t discipline itself. Newt Gingrich
The people are way ahead of the Congress. They are way ahead of the administration. John Murtha
You run Washington DC though the House. The Senate gets in the way. The President gets in the way. Grover Norquist
There has long subsisted a Jealousy between Congress and the Army. The former have been Jealous of the Power of the latter, and the latter have thought themselves neglected, and ill treated by the former, who have excluded the Army from every Appointment of honor, or profit in the Civil Line. The Common Soldiers are exceedingly disgusted with the Service, and every effort to recruit the Army (except by Temporary Draughts of Militia) has hitherto proved ineffectual. Benedict Arnold
the Congress of America in Congress assembled, being weak in body, low in credit, and poor in estate, but rich, high, and strong, in expectation that by our hellish faithful behaviour on earth, we shall be advanced to the highest esteem and favour of Satan in his kingdom Royal Gazette
You are beseeched most earnestly my dear Col. Harrison, to exert yourself in endeavoring to rescue your Country, by, (let me add) sending your ablest and best Men to Congress; these characters must not slumber, nor sleep at home, in such times of pressing danger; they must not content themselves in the enjoyment of places of honor or profit in their own Country, while the common interests of America are mouldering and sinking into irretrievable (if a remedy is not soon applied) ruin, in which theirs also must ultimately be involved. George Washington
If we review the List of those Heroes who compose Congresses, Committees, mock Government, & the chief army Departments, we shall find it filled up with Men, desperate in Ambition or in Fortune. Peter Oliver
It seldom happens in the negotiation of treaties…but that perfect secrecy and immediate dispatch are sometimes requisite…and there doubtless are many [people] who would rely on the secrecy of the president, but who would not confide in that of the Senate, and still less in that of a large popular assembly. John Jay
The people have the right to know what their Agents are doing or have done, and it should not be in the option of the Legislature to conceal their proceedings. James Wilson
General Manager of the United States Anonymous
To pay the price of federal mandates, local governments must cut the services that they are in the business of providing ... To Congress we say, if you're going to pass the bill, don't pass us the buck. Jerry Abramson
No merely legislative body could control a single, concentrated Executive …. Henry Adams
Rarely in American history has any particular Congress been held in high esteem … Henry Adams
When a majority could benefit only its enemies by telling the truth, history shows that honorable men often preferred to tell what is untrue. Henry Adams
If they say they will try me, they must try me. If they say they will punish me, they must punish me. But if they say that in peace and mercy they will spare me expulsion, I disdain and cast away their mercy, and I ask if they will come to such a trial and expel me. I defy them. I have constituents to go to, and they will have something to say if this House expels me, nor will it be long before the gentlemen will see me here again. John Adams
In every assembly, members will obtain an influence by noise not sense; by meanness, not greatness. John Adams
A trust of the greatest magnitude is committed to this legislature and the eyes of the world are upon you. John Adams
An aesthetically informed Congress might be able to make better laws. Edward Albee
Mr. Chairman, I desire to say to those present that their perfect attention will not embarrass me in the least. John Mills Allen
Sometimes Congressmen go to great lengths to avoid having a vote on something. If they vote either way they’re going to make enemies. Wright Andrews
God's greatest gift: the conference committee. Richard K. Armey
I've never had a confrontation with any other member of Congress that I've enjoyed. It's just a part of the job that has to be done. Richard K. Armey
Remember that every dollar spent by the federal government is spent in somebody's district. Richard K. Armey
The average congressman has a time and attention span of about 2 minutes. Richard K. Armey
You always know how many horses are in the herd. It's just a question of how long it takes to get them into the barn. Richard K. Armey
The federal government is currently operating on a budget passed in the dead of night just before Christmas. It comprised three massive documents, ran to a staggering 3,296 pages, weighed in at a hefty 43 pounds, and had a price tag of $650 billion. Congress had about three hours to look at it before voting on it. William L. Armstrong
If you put enough money on the table, Congress will respond to the money. John Ashcroft
A radical ... and revolutionary ... attack upon the fundamental basic principle of representative democracy for free people. William Bankshead
The Senate trying to govern cyberspace is analogous to King George believing he could still govern the colonies even though he had never been there. John Perry Barlow
We have government by the clueless, over a place they’ve never been, using means they don’t possess. John Perry Barlow
Finding the golden mean between alerting and panic is a constant challenge. Robert S. Bennett
Hell hath no fury like a committee chairman whose jurisdiction is being challenged. Robert S. Bennett
No one wants to be at the wrong end of finger-pointing. Robert S. Bennett
For 22 years [as a Senator] I worried about all the power at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Now [as Treasury Secretary] I worry about all the power at the opposite end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Lloyd Bentsen
Getting members of Congress to do things they don’t want to do is a crucial part of being President. Michael Beschloss
Congress is not very good at explaining complex legislation to the public. Jeffrey Biggs
Don’t apologize for your values. Tell the world why you are proud of America …. Being American means being free … Tony Blair
We’re not fighting for Christianity but against human fanaticism of all kinds. Tony Blair
Managing the House of Representatives is like herding cats. John Boehner
They'll nail anyone who ever scratched his ass during the National Anthem. Humphrey Bogart
You have only two things of value here in congress, your word and your vote. Don't give either of them lightly. Richard W. Bolling
We’re not defined simply by the laws we pass, but by the example we set. David Bonior
Certainly everyone has demonstrated their ability in legal knowledge, and wouldn't it be nice if we vote on this thing and move on? Sonny Bono
Certainly everyone has demonstrated their ability in legal knowledge, and wouldn't it be now nice if we vote on this thing and move on? Sonny Bono
I think we should have more politicians from the street …. We need more regular people up here in Congress. Sonny Bono
Every member of Congress is shaped by his or her first election. Gloria Borger
A Senator is not God or a doctor. Barbara Boxer
I haven't had a dull day since coming to Capitol Hill ... We're on the spot 100 percent of the time. Donna Brazile
We can’t have 535 Secretaries of State. John Breaux
Federal bureaucracies are creatures of Congress, not the executive. David Brinkley
Every Southern man sustains me. The fragments of the stick are begged for as sacred relicts. . Preston Brooks
What Congress does is respond to pressures that are upon it. Hank Brown
When someone has to go back and work for a living under laws that they passed, they'd be more careful. Hank Brown
Without the authority of Congress, the President cannot fire a hostile gun in any case except to repel the attacks of the enemy. James Buchanan
I don't think they [Congress] ought to balance their budget on the backs of the poor. George W. Bush
The Senate is not interested in the security of the American people. George W. Bush
If you [members of Congress] vote against us, we're going to throw your ass out of office. William Bywater
The highest wisdom of a State is a wise and masterly inactivity … John C. Calhoun
Nearly all legislation is the result of compromise. Joseph Cannon
It doesn’t make things easier badgered for a meeting of Parliament by the two Oppositions & Winston [Churchill] who is the worst of the lot. Neville Chamberlain
[Congressional] investigations only make it look like legislators have a solution. Dick Cheney
If only I could tell the country. Frank Church
The very men to whom the whole country looks to set an example …to accept … the personal inconvenience, are doing exactly the reverse …. They are cackling like wet hens to hold their special privilege. Raymond Clapper
We’d have to hide the money for this little old Civil Rights Section under another name or it would never get out of the [Congressional] Committee. Thomas C. Clark
After an existence of nearly twenty years of almost innocuous desuetude these laws are brought forth. Grover Cleveland
I am not responsible to the Senate and will not submit my actions to them. Grover Cleveland
The clock is running down on the Republicans. They’ve only got seven more months to investigate me. Bill Clinton
It's tough to get two lawyers to agree on anything. Daniel R. Coates
Democracy is slow … A king can always outrun a congressman. William S. Cohen
Getting something through the House is only half the battle. So you put things in the House bill that you know will be taken out in conference and you leave things out of the House bill that will be in the Senate bill. It's like a chess game. Tony Coleho
You found out who your real friends were. Once you don’t have that perceived power and influence, you’re not necessarily any use any more. The phone doesn’t ring as much. Mary Collins
When I bought a new car, the folks back home were sure the lobbyists had gotten to me already. Silvio O. Conte
The longer people are in Congress, the bigger spenders they become. Edward H. Crane
I was asked to address a congressional caucus and told to keep it brief as congressmen have such short attention spans. Michael Crichton
You’re going to drink that Potomac water and never come back. Richard Joseph Daley
You’re going to drink that Potomac water and never come back. Richard Joseph Daley
Kennel of filth Samuel Dana
Polarized positions are an indulgence which … the nation cannot afford. Tom Daschle
The authority of Congress must be respected …. The President must confine himself to his executive duties—to obey and execute, not make the laws. Henry W. Davis; Benjamin Franklin Wade
… a hermaphrodite government, half military, half republican, representing the alligators and the frogs of Louisiana Henry W. Davis
A congressman serves a two year term. As soon as he gets elected, he has to start attending fund raisers. Horace Deets
A congressman serves a two year term. As soon as he gets elected, he has to start attending fund raisers. Horace Deets
I am elected to judge. Thomas D. DeLay
The Members of the Parliament shall be bound solely by their own conscience and not by any directions given by their electors. Denmark
There is not a man here [in Congress] who does not feel four hundred percent bigger in 1900—bigger intellectually, bigger, hopefully, bigger patriotically that he as a citizen of a country that has become a world power. Chauncey Depew
We have a lame-duck Congress, we have a lame-duck administration, we have a lame-duck Secretary of Defense, all of whom support this legislation. If we do not pass this bill and allow these [military] base closures to be named this year, it will be another 10 years before such an opportunity comes again. William Dickenson
Congress has a lot of powers which people, especially those in the executive branch, don't like to talk about. Bob Dole
You can't have your own way in Congress. Bob Dole
Power is more satisfying to some than wealth.... Power is, indeed, a heady thing—whether it be a King, a President, a Legislature, a Court, or an Administration agency that is concerned. William O. Douglas
The arms race for money being what it is, fundraising starts shortly after someone is elected to Congress. Elizabeth Drew
Advise and Consent Allen Drury
There is little leadership or followership on the Hill. Kenneth M. Duberstein
Nothing arouses the sharks in Congress so much as the smell of failure. Barry Dunsmore
The ability of the Congress of the United States to have any strategic view [of foreign policy] is virtually nil. Lawrence Eagleburger
It’s popular in Congress to vote for simplistic solutions to complex problems. Chet Edwards
Civility does not mean surrender. John Edwards
My deepest worry was that after you do all that begging, and after all those people give you all that money, how can you keep your independence? My experience in the State Legislature showed it can be done, but I never had to beg for $1 million. Lori Edwards
The powers that are surrendered [by Congress] to one President remain to be used by others. Marvin Henry “Mickey” Edwards
I don’t know how to do what you have to do to get something out of a congressman. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Legislatures have no right to set up an inquisition and examine into the private opinions of men. Oliver Ellsworth
We were elected to lead and sometimes we just have to do the right thing. Eliot Engel
There is a fine line between constructive oversight and unconstructive meddling. Donald Engen
The freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament. England
Lobby? That's certainly not what the position is all about. Glenn English
You can't possibly know everything that's in those bills ... you have to trust the leadership. Thomas Ewing
The problem is that every single person here was elected under this system. It is not typical of human nature to change what works. Russ Feingold
As a Senator of the U.S., a woman, is still a sort of political joke with our masculine leaders in party politics. . .But the trail has been blazed! The road is apparently rough—maybe rocky—but the trail has been located. It is an established fact. While it is also a romantic adventure, it will ever remain an historical precedent—never to be erased. Rebecca Latimer Felton
In the murder of Mexicans upon their own soil, or in robbing them of their country, I can take no part either now or hereafter. The guilt of these crimes must rest on others. I will not participate in them. Joshua Reed Giddings
Many Senators are scared to death that the people back home are going to find out what they’ve been doing in Washington. Ed Gillespie
Even when you’re in charge, you’re not sure who’s in charge. Newt Gingrich
Being Speaker [of the House] is hard work. Newt Gingrich
Congressmen are not bribed anymore. They simply have a lot of friends who are willing to help them out whenever they find it necessary. Newt Gingrich
The House of Representatives is the center of power of the most powerful nation in the world. Newt Gingrich
If the President [FDR] asked Congress to commit suicide tomorrow they'd do it. Carter Glass
It is fundamental that the great powers of Congress to conduct war and to regulate the Nation's foreign relations are subject to the constitutional requirements of due process. The imperative necessity for safeguarding these rights to procedural due process under the gravest of emergencies has existed throughout our constitutional history, for it is then, under the pressing exigencies of crisis, that there is the greatest temptation to dispense with fundamental constitutional guarantees which, it is feared, will inhibit governmental action. Arthur Goldberg
Most of us in Congress steal our speeches. Barry Goldwater
I was a business man. When they elected me, it took me two years to learn about how government ran. Barry Goldwater
There’s no reason to be upset. This was a display of pluralism. We Mexicans need to get used to new times. Genaro Gongora Pimentel
I have always been in the minority, even when I was in the majority. Henry B. Gonzalez
We’re not adding to public awareness; we’re adding to public confusion. Porter Goss
There is great good will on Capitol Hill for the tribes but virtually none for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Kevin Gover
Weak parliaments render democratic governments ineffective and leave them vulnerable to authoritarian assaults. Bob Graham
Filibuster is a harsh word. I prefer to offer amendments and let others filibuster. Phil Gramm
Many people secretly wish that every state be completely independent and that as soon as our public debts are liquidated that Congress shall be no more. Nathanael Greene
It is only while the public mind is held in suspense—It is only while there is doubt as to what will be the result of deliberations—it is only while we linger in this hall that any manifestations of uneasiness will show themselves. Whenever war is declared, the people will put forth their rights. Felix Grundy
All mandatory instructions [to members of Parliament] shall be null and void. The right to vote of the members of Parliament shall be personal. France
The budget is looked upon in the Congress as a way for a political party to promote itself. William Frenzel
Americans are naturally suspicious of too much government and they see divided government as a safeguard. Sarah Fritz
We must dare to think “unthinkable” thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world. We must learn to welcome and not to fear the voices of dissent. We must dare to think about ‘unthinkable’ things because when things become unthinkable, thinking stops and action becomes mindless. J. William Fulbright
The President is asking our business men to economize and become more efficient, while we continue to be the most inefficient and expensive barnacle that ever attached itself to the ship of state. Alvan T. Fuller
I cannot consent to act the part of a mere financier, to become a contriver of taxes, a dealer of loans, a seeker of resources for the purposes of supporting useless baubles, of increasing the number of idle and dissipated members of the community, of fattening contractors, pursers, and agents, and of introducing … patronage, corruption, and rottenness which you so justly execrate. Albert Gallatin
The is an intensity of anxiety here greater than I ever saw during the [Civil] war. James A. Garfield
Being a member of Congress is a hard job but it's an uplifting job. Richard A. Gephardt
Never in history has so much been done, so fast, for so few, at the expense of so many. Richard A. Gephardt
We have differences. That’s why we’re here. That’s what Congress does. Richard A. Gephardt
Members of Congress should do a little penance after such a virtuous vote for the soldiers of the regular army. John F. Fitzgerald
Any time you’re standing at the podium at the White House and talking about Congressional leaders, you’re probably getting yourself into trouble. Marlin Fitzwater
It's one thing to fight individual members of Congress on individual issues, but if you fight the institution, it will collectively fight back. Julius W. Hobson Jr.
We like to keep an eye on the rascals. James R. Hoffa
No one wants to appear that they are buckling to pressure. Tim Huchensen
It is not the Congress's job to rubber stamp bad decisions [of the President.] Kay Bailey Hutchison
I really hate I being a congressman because all it is is constituent service. Michael Huffington
There's nothing we [the Congress] can do to eliminate crime. William Hughes
Legislative power is always superior to the executive. David Hume
Harry Truman knows I am against him on this [civil rights] program. I just don’t think Congress should try to cram his program down the throats of Southern states. Lyndon B. Johnson
Neither anger nor fury shall find lodging in their minds, and all their words and actions should be marked with calm deliberation. Iroquois Tribe
Woe to those who make unjust laws. Book of Isaiah
We have done nothing yet—I regret to see no national feeling in the majority of Congress—everyone appears to be engrossed with the interest alone of his own section of the country—so long as this feeling predominates, it will be unfortunate for our nation. Andrew Jackson
Sometimes in Congress I believe change is impossible …. Democrats read too many polls to change the climate. Republicans benefit from the climate too much to want to change it. Jessie Jackson Jr.
The turnover in the Congress last year was less than in the old Soviet style Politburo. Paul Jacobs
Any act of the Congress of the United States... which assumes powers... not delegated by the Constitution, is not law, but is altogether void and of no force Thomas Jefferson
It [is] inconsistent with the principles of civil liberty, and contrary to the natural rights of the other members of the society, that any body of men therein should have authority to enlarge their own powers, prerogatives or emoluments without restraint. Thomas Jefferson
It would not be for the public good to have greater than two to one Thomas Jefferson
... a saucer into which the nation's passions may be poured to cool. Thomas Jefferson
The banks have discontinued themselves. We are now without any medium … necessity, as well as patriotism and confidence will make us all eager to receive Treasury notes if founded on specific taxes. Congress may now borrow of the public, and without interest, all the money they may want … by merely issuing their own promissory notes …. Thomas Jefferson
The District [of Columbia] is the only place in America with and entire congressional committee and two subcommittees devoted soley to overseeing its affairs. Kent Jenkens Jr.
The importance of this event (the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention) is every day growing in the public mind, and it will, in all probability, produce an happy era in our political existence…. Public events in the United States since the peace have given a cast to the American character, which is by no means its true countenance. Delinquencies of the States in their federal obligations; acts of their legislatures violating public Treaties and private Contracts, and an universal imbecility in the public administrations, it is true, form the great features of our political conduct; but these have resulted rather from constitutional defects, and accidental causes than the natural dispositions of the people. Edward Carrington
The human mind is too apt to rush from one extreme to another; it appears, by the objections that came from the different States … For now the cry is power, give Congress power. Without reflecting that every free nation, that hath ever existed, has lost its liberty by the same rash impatience, and want of necessary caution. Richard Henry Lee
… a degeneracy of representation in the great council of America .… Many members of it are no doubt men in every respect, fit for the trust, but this cannot be said of it as a body. Folly, caprice a want of foresight, comprehension and dignity, characterize the general tenor of their actions…. Their conduct with respect to the army especially is feeble indecisive and improvident Alexander Hamilton
Congress is in the grasp of the National Rifle Association and the religious right. Eddie Bernice Johnson
Stroke ‘em as much as you can. Lyndon B. Johnson
No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy’s memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long. Lyndon B. Johnson
You save my face this afternoon and I’ll save your face tomorrow. Lyndon B. Johnson
I am well aware of what three past presidents have said, but that will not be worth five cents if the people and the Congress do not support their president now.” Lyndon B. Johnson
Without the Congress I am just a six-foot-four Texan. Lyndon B. Johnson
We are afraid to trust ourselves, and pretend that we are afraid to trust the people. My hopes have rested and always will rest upon the people …. The people will rise in their majesty, and the world will be interested in the spectacle. Richard M. Johnson
Let the national legislature once perform an act which involves the decision of a religious controversy, and it will have passed its legitimate bounds. Richard Mentor Johnson
When Congress writes a good law, then there are fewer lawsuits trying to interpret it. Edith Jones
The misery of being under observation and being unduly criticized is what I remember most. Visitors in the gallery couldn't help seeing one woman among so many men, but they made no effort to disguise the fact that I was a curiosity... Agnes Macphail
Congress trifle(s) away the most precious of their days—days that ought to be devoted to the defense of their divided country. Dolley Madison; Payne Todd
Those who are to conduct a war cannot in the nature of things, be proper and safe judges of whether a war ought to be commenced, continued or concluded. James Madison
Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In strictness, the answer on both points must be in the negative. James Madison
The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose the supplies requisite for the support of the government. They, in a word, hold the purse: that powerful instrument by which we behold in the in the history of the British constitution an infant and humble representation of the people, gradually enlarging the sphere of its activity and importance, and finally reducing, as far as it seems to have wished, all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government. James Madison
Pork is the most visible malady of Congress from the public point of view. Thomas E. Mann
Every vote that I make has to do with making things better for your kids and my kids. Majorie Margolies-Mezvinsky
I am not in Congress to be intransigent, but I certainly am here to represent the people who sent me. Majorie Margolies-Mezvinsky
We don't possess this job and this job doesn't possess us. We have to make some very tough decisions. If it means falling on the sword, it means falling on the sword. Majorie Margolies-Mezvinsky
There's very little closure on the hill ... it's an infinity schedule ... it's all triage. Majorie Margolies-Mezvinsky
The power given to Congress by the Constitution does not extend to the internal regulation of the commerce of a State (that is to say, of the commerce between citizen and citizen) which remain exclusively with its own legislature, but to its external commerce only; that is to say, its commerce with another State, or with foreign nations, or with the Indian tribes. Thomas Jefferson
The legislature makes, the executive executes, and the judiciary construes the law; but the maker of the law may commit something to the discretion of the other departments, and the precise boundary of this power is a subject of delicate and difficult inquiry. John Marshall
The line has not been exactly drawn which separates those important subjects, which must be entirely regulated by the legislature itself, from those of less interest, in which … power may be given to those who are to act under such general provisions to fill up the details. John Marshall
Our American concept of government rests on the idea of a dominant Congress. Joseph W. Martin Jr.
We'll pass it. The Senate won't do it, and we'll be left holding the bag. John McCormack
The members of Congress are very, very good about sensing what people are upset about. Charles McDowell Jr.
I do not sympathize with the sentiment that Congress in session is dangerous to our general business interests. William McKinley
I’m one of the few people on this committee who doesn’t have a law degree, and I’m damn proud of that. Carrie P. Meek
The pendulum does swing in the congressional picture. Howard M. Metzenbaum
[Announcing his retirement:] While I will retire my seat, I will not retire my views or retire my voice. Howard M. Metzenbaum
We will take a meaningless vote so that some campaign operatives can try to bludgeon senators who are willing to stand up for the Bill of Rights and vote against this amendment. Howard Metzenbaum
The only oversight on many of these programs is what the annual review in the appropriations process gives you, because the legislative committees generally fail to do their jobs. Robert H. Michel
I happen to be an optimist. I don't know why I'm in Congress. Kwasi Mifume
Can we blame an elector of the poorer classes, who has only the choice among two or three rich men, for requiring from the one he votes for a pledge to those measures which he considers as a test of emancipation from the class-interests of the rich? John Stuart Mill
Superior powers of mind and profound study are of no use if they do not sometimes lead a person to different conclusions from those which are formed by ordinary powers of mind without study: and if it be an object to possess representatives in any intellectual respect superior to average electors, it must be counted upon that the representative will sometimes differ in opinion from the majority of his constituents John Stuart Mill
The influence of every mode of thinking which is shared by numbers ought to be felt in the legislature. John Stuart Mill
To ordain that any kind of persons shall not be physicians, or shall not be advocates, or shall not be Members of Parliament, is to injure not them only, but all who employ physicians or advocates, or elect Members of Parliament, and who are deprived of the stimulating effect of greater competition… John Stuart Mill
Sound bite hearings and sound bite journalism feed off each other. Morton Mintz
Hardly a week goes by where somebody doesn't tell me that they won't support me unless I vote a certain way. George J. Mitchell
You don't have smooth sailing in the American system no matter who's in charge. George J. Mitchell
I know that it would not shock you to discover that this isn’t the first time that Congress and the regulatory agencies did not act in the public interest. Brian Moir
A committee of the Senate ought to confer with a committee of the President through a head of a department and not with the Chief Magistrate, for in the latter case a committee of that House is equal to the President. James Monroe
We do so much better when television isn’t watching. Daniel P. Moynihan
We have had on our desks 800-, 900-, and 1,000 page bills. Nobody knows what was in them. No one had read them. No one could. Daniel P. Moynihan
There used to be a civility. Today, members of Congress would rather destroy another member than compromise. John Myers
With the exception of members of Congress and their families, and instructors in civics and constitutional lawyers, I do not believe there are two percent of the American people who know that a member of Congress is elected one year and does not take his office until 13 months afterwards. Fiorello H. La Guardia
This is not just our battle. It is an issue for opinion makers outside the government, it is a battle for the Congress—to keep making the distinction between the immediate and the important. W. Anthony Lake
We did not send them [Senators] here to vote their conscience; we sent them here to vote the will of their constituents. Alan G. Lance
It's worth two divisions to me. Robert E. Lee
Law should rule over rulers, and not rulers over the law John Leland; Jack Nipps
GAO studies often put the lie to these lobbying vehicles. Jake Lewis
Being elected to Congress, though I am very grateful to our friends, for having done it, has not pleased me as much as I expected. Abraham Lincoln
I may in an emergency do things on military grounds which cannot be done constitutionally by Congress. Abraham Lincoln
I’ve learned that governing is more difficult than criticizing. John Linder
There are more non-committee chairmen than there are committee chairmen. And the non-committee chairmen want to be chairmen some day. They will not eliminate term limits on existing committee chairmen. Robert Livingston
We are coming close to having today a Congress of whackos and millionaires. Peter T. King
The word of the president is a national asset not to be trifled with. Henry A. Kissinger
There is no question on earth on which a Senator of the United States may not want to address himself. Thomas Korologos
The manufacture of arms within the United States still invites the attention of the National Legislature. At a considerable expense to the public this manufacture has been brought to such a state of maturity as, with continued encouragement, will supersede the necessity of future importations from foreign countries. John Adams
No check is necessary on a Legislature composed as the national Legislature would be, with two branches—an upper and a lower House. Gunning Bedford Jr.
No check is necessary on a Legislature composed as the national Legislature would be, with two branches—an upper and a lower House Gunning Bedford Jr.
I believe the science we have seen does not support the need to engage in questionable policies to control so-called 'global warming.’ Jim Bunning
Members of Congress are never in town any more. They’re so busy raising money that they leave Thursday night and don’t return till Monday night. Tuesday through Thursday are now long days, so there is no time anymore for bipartisan socialization. Joseph A. Califano Jr.
There’s a sausage machine on Capitol Hill. We’ve given the sausage machine the right kind of ingredients. Now it’s up to the sausage machine to turn out the right kind of legislation. Andrew Card
People always say it is carefree leaving officialdom, but actually they do want to keep the position. Chinese Proverb
[As the minority] you vote for the legislation that’s presented to you. That’s sometimes a very difficult choice to make. Hillary Clinton
Resolved, That every member of this Congress considers himself under the ties of virtue, honor, and love of his country, not to divulge, directly or indirectly, any matter or thing agitated or debated in Congress, before the same shall have been determined, without leave of the Congress; nor any matter or thing determined in Congress, which a majority of the Congress shall order to be kept secret. And that if any member shall violate this agreement, he shall be expelled this Congress, and deemed an enemy to the liberties of America, and liable to be treated as such … Continental Congress
We cover Congress only when it gets to the final vote on something, too late for the public to respond. Walter Cronkite
But why are the Southerners so willing to make these sacrifices? The answer plainly is, they see in this policy the only hope of saving something of their old sectional peculiarities and power. Once firmly seated in Congress, their alliance with Northern Democrats re-established, their States restored to their former position inside the Union, they can easily find means of keeping the Federal government entirely too busy with other important matters to pay much attention to the local affairs of the Southern States. Under the potent shield of State Rights, the game would be in their own hands. Frederick Douglass
Parliament should be broken up, and the Speaker plucked out of his chair. George Fox
A country can live under a monarchy or a republic, with a parliamentary or a presidential system, under communism or fascism. But it cannot live in anarchy. Jose Maria Gil Robles
In the political panorama I can see only the formation of Marxist and anti-Marxist groups. Jose Maria Gil Robles
Congress shall not have power, without the concurrence of two-thirds of both Houses, to interdict the commercial intercourse between the United States and any foreign nation or the dependencies thereof. Hartford Convention
Congress shall not make or declare war, or authorize acts of hostility against any foreign nation, without the concurrence of two-thirds of both Houses, except such acts of hostility be in defense of the territories of the United States when actually invaded. Hartford Convention
No person who shall hereafter be naturalized, shall be eligible as a member of the Senate or House of Representatives of the United States, nor capable of holding any civil office under the authority of the United States Hartford Convention
Alex. Nowell, being Prebendary in Westminster, and thereby having voice in the Convocation House, cannot be a member of this House. . . . House of Commons
I apprehend, if through the interference of the general [Federal] government, the slave-trade was abolished was abolished, it would evince to the people a general disposition toward total emancipation. James Jackson
On the same ground, and literally sitting among the senators, were a whole regiment of ladies, whispering, talking, laughing, and fidgeting… the whole thing was more irregular, and unbusiness-like than any one could have imagined … Fanny Kemble
Regulations are a form of legislation and should be decided by a political process, not more or better benefit-cost analyses. William A. Niskanen
The election of the Executive ought to be by the national Legislature, that then respect will be paid to that character best qualified Charles Pinckney
Congress has done nothing to protect the loyal people of the South—Black or white. Thaddeus Stevens
Article the first . . . After the first enumeration required by the first Article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which, the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons. Article the second . . . No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened. United States Congress
If any person shall write, print, utter or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered or publishing, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, … or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against the United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years United States
That the General Assembly doth particularly protest against the palpable and alarming infractions of the Constitution, in the two late cases of the "Alien and Sedition Acts" passed at the last session of Congress; the first of which exercises a power no where delegated to the federal government, and which by uniting legislative and judicial powers to those of executive, subverts the general principles of free government; as well as the particular organization, and positive provisions of the federal constitution; and the other of which acts, exercises in like manner, a power not delegated by the constitution, but on the contrary, expressly and positively forbidden by one of the amendments thereto; a power, which more than any other, ought to produce universal alarm, because it is leveled against that right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication among the people thereon, which has ever been justly deemed, the only effectual guardian of every other right Ginni Rometty
This is beyond loyalty and friendship. It is about the integrity of this institution of the Senate. John Warner
I beg leave to assure the Congress that as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to have accepted this arduous employment, I do not wish to make any profit from it. I will keep an exact account of my expenses. Those I doubt not they will discharge, and that is all I desire. George Washington
The establishment of the militia, of a mint, of standards of weights and measures, of the post office and post roads are subjects which I presume you will resume of course, and which are abundantly urged by their own importance. George Washington
I trust I do not deceive myself when I indulge the persuasion that I have never met you at any period when more than at the present the situation of our public affairs has afforded just cause for mutual congratulation. George Washington
You’ve got to be careful that once you get on this treadmill, that you can get off. J. C. Watts
… the tools of despotism and corruption John Wilkes
In order to enable and encourage a representative of the publick to discharge his publick trust with firmness and success, it is indispensably necessary that he should enjoy the fullest liberty of speech, and that he should be protected from the resentment of everyone, however powerful, to whom the exercise of that liberty may occasion offence James Wilson
Congress’s first error had been allowing the appointment of a Secretary of War in time of peace; now Congress needed to supply an Army for fear the department of War should lack employment . . . give Knox an Army, and he will soon have a War on hand. William Maclay
Oversight was not meant to be comfortable. John D. Rockefeller IV
… that beer garden on the hill Herbert Hoover
It was evidently necessary to infuse a greater portion of strength into the national government. But Congress were but a single body, with whom it was dangerous to lodge additional powers. Hence arose the necessity of a different organization. In order to form some balance, the departments of government were separated, and as a necessary check, the legislative body was composed of two branches. Steadiness and wisdom are better insured when there is a second branch, to balance and check the first The stability of the laws will be greater when the popular branch, which might be influenced by local views, or the violence of party, is checked by another, whose longer continuance in office will render them more experienced, more temperate, and more competent to decide rightly. William R. Davie
Barbara Lee Speaks for Me! Barbara Lee
Congress gave the President a blank check to wage an undefined war against an undefined enemy for an undefined period of time. We shouldn’t have given him that authority. Barbara Lee
The white men the Democrats of the South are sending to Congress are coming with hands reeking in human gore. Roscoe Conkling
It has been said that this Congress is to be a do-nothing Congress. My humble judgment is, if this House shall investigate carefully and determine correctly and accurately the numerous contested-election cases before it, it will have performed a duty to the country of greater importance than the settlement of any question that has ever claimed the attention of a deliberative legislative body in this Republic for the last half century. Romulus Whitaker Zachariah Linney
An express and fundamental condition to the acquisition of any territory from the republic of Mexico by the United States, by virtue of any treaty which may be negotiated between them, and to the use by the executive of the moneys herein appropriated, neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist in any part of said territory David Wilmot
The marked decrease in the average vote for congressmen in the South, from 1892 to 1902, is due primarily to the limitations upon the suffrage, and that these limitations were intended to eliminate the negro vote. Francis G. Caffey
Single out a few of the most vital points, agree on them absolutely and then work for those alone. Charles Curtis
That we shall regard with deep regret the continuance of the excitement at the South, as far as it may be occasioned by the apprehension of danger from the exertions of a few misguided abolitionists in our community Edward Curtis
The true test of the progress of a people is to be found in their literature. Daniel Alexander Payne Murray
It is bad enough that North Carolina should have the only nigger Congressman. It is sufficiently humiliating to the white people of the Second district; a sad enough commentary upon the political conditions that have obtained in this State Raleigh News and Observer
So far as this particular negro is personally concerned, he may be dismissed as beneath contempt. There is a far graver side to the matter. This negro is regarded as a leader; he both reflects the sentiments of his race, and his utterance react upon his followers with an effect that was made sufficiently plain by the "vigorous applause" with which his slander was greeted by the negroes in the gallery. As the blatant mouthing of a mere negro, White's utterances are not worth notice; as a fresh manifestation of negroism, of what the negro's attitude is toward the white man, now and always, its significance should not be allowed to escape us. Raleigh News and Observer
He survived politically for forty years. No matter what the issue was, it did not concern him. He knew that if he could call a man’s name in a crowd, shake hands with him and ask him about his wife and children, whose names were also in the little book, he had that man’s vote. William Allan White
Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In the strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them; and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does not this involve the principle of a national establishment, applicable to a provision for a religious worship for the Constituent as well as of the representative Body, approved by the majority, and conducted by Ministers of religion paid by the entire nation? …. If Religion consist in voluntary acts of individuals, singly, or voluntarily associated, and it be proper that public functionaries, as well as their Constituents should discharge their religious duties, let them like their Constituents, do so at their own expense. How small a contribution from each member of Congress would suffice for the purpose! How just would it be in its principle! How noble in its exemplary sacrifice to the genius of the Constitution; and the divine right of conscience! Why should the expence of a religious worship be allowed for the Legislature, be paid by the public James Madison
Either you die in Congress or you get out before you are 60 so you can still do something else. Thomas M. Davis III
Congress, rather than administrative agencies should fashion any policy that is not only of great economic importance but also one that has divided the faiths and loyalties of classes of people. James M. Landis
Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz are saying, “We can’t tell you how long it will take, or what it will cost, that’s unknowable.” Why did Congress accept that? Anonymous
We don’t know what those other cycles where caused by...Could be dinosaur flatulence...Who knows? Dana Rohrabacher
… when we have the red man's consent, let the union spread from the east to the west sea; and if Texas petitions Congress to be adopted among the sons of liberty, give her the right hand of fellowship; and refuse not the same friendly grip to Canada and Mexico. Joseph Smith, Jr.
For the accommodation of the people of every state and territory, let Congress show their wisdom by granting a national bank, with branches in each state and territory, where the capital stock shall be held by the nation for the mother bank: and by the states and territories, for the branches; and whose officers and directors shall be elected yearly by the people with wages at the rate of two dollars per day for services; which several banks shall never issue any more bills than the amount of capital stock in her vaults and the interest. The net gain of the mother bank shall be applied to the national revenue, and that of the branches to the states and territories' revenues. And the bills shall be par throughout the nation, which will mercifully cure that fatal disorder known in cities as brokerage; and leave the people's money in their own pockets. Joseph Smith, Jr.
Petition, also, ye goodly inhabitants of the slave states, your legislators to abolish slavery by the year 1850, or now, and save the abolitionist from reproach and ruin, infamy and shame. Pray Congress to pay every man a reasonable price for his slaves out of the surplus revenue arising from the sale of public lands, and from the deduction of pay from the members of Congress. Break off the shackles from the poor black man, and hire him to labor like other human beings; for an hour of virtuous liberty on earth, is worth a whole eternity of bondage! Joseph Smith, Jr.
Frustrate the designs of wicked men. Reduce Congress at least one half. Two Senators from a state and two (House) members to a million of population, will do more business than the army that now occupy the halls of the National Legislature. Pay them two dollars and their board per diem; except Sundays, that is more than the farmer gets, and he lives honestly. Curtail the offices of government in pay, number and power; for the Philistine lords have shorn our nation of its goodly locks in the lap of Delilah. Joseph Smith, Jr.
We Republicans came to Washington to change it, and Washington changed us. Thomas G. Thompson
I will be a priest forever. Robert F. Drinan
Washington can be a very lonely place for Congressman and Senators. Many acquaintances almost all of whom want something and very few friends. Charles E. Schumer
There ought to be some other form of fiction that is provided to the public besides that which comes from Congress. Michael Crichton
There was a mentality in Congress that regarded foreign agents who had committed human rights abuses as unacceptable. The government was too quick to take them off its payrolls, limiting its access to terrorists. It’s that kind of political correctness that you can’t afford in the intelligence business. Vincent Cannistraro
Resolved that there be held a conference of the white nations bordering upon the Pacific for unity of action against the aggression of Japan. Frederick Albert Britten
I would engage in a sort of syntax destruction that would sound like I was answering the question but actually was not. Alan Greenspan
Members of Congress will pay attention to members of their own districts. David R. Obey
Just be patient. Everything is going to be all right. William Westmoreland
Watching congressional hearings is ... more addictive than watching cartoons. Norman Mailer
Filibuster is nothing less than a formula for tyranny by the minority William Frist
Members of Congress don’t want anyone to have more influence than they have—that’s why they hated Harry Hopkins. Claude Pepper
The greatest defect in legislative history is its illegitimacy. We are governed not by legislative intention but by laws… the text should control even if the Congress intended a different result Antonin Scalia
The work of a Russian parliamentarian is very much like the work of an American congressman. It's mainly affecting the policymaking of the government Alexey Arbatov
Is it rather a country that tramples upon your rights, disdains your cries and insults your distresses? Have you not, more than once, suggested your wishes, and made known your wants to Congress? Wants and wishes which gratitude and policy should have anticipated, rather than evaded. And have you not lately, in the meek language of entreating memorials, begged from their justice, what you would no longer expect from their favour? How have you been answered? Let the letter which you are called to consider tomorrow make reply. If this, then, be your treatment, while the swords you wear are necessary for the defense of America, what have you to expect from peace, when your voice shall sink, and your strength dissipate by division? When those very swords, the instruments and companions of your glory, shall be taken from your sides, and no remaining mark of military distinction left but your wants, infirmities and scars? Can you then consent to be the only sufferers by this revolution, and retiring from the field, grow old in poverty, wretchedness and contempt? Can you consent to wade through the vile mire of dependency, and owe the miserable remnant of that life to charity, which has hitherto been spent in honor? John Armstrong Jr.
You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go! Leo S. Amery
Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy… United States
The Founders of this Nation entrusted the lawmaking power to the Congress alone in both good and bad times … the President's power to see that the laws are faithfully executed refutes the idea that he is to be a law-maker. Hugo Black
You name me a profession and I’ll name you a lobbyist that represents them. Ray LaHood
Well. I'm here, and I damn near got killed getting here by airplane in time to vote, as I did on another occasion. I don't think the bill amounts to a tinker's damn, and I expect to be kicked in the ass just as I have in the past in return for my services. I don't want a Goddamned thing. My vote is not for sale. I vote my convictions, just as I always have, but I think the President ought to have the decency to treat me like the Senator from Missouri and not like a goddamned office boy, and you can tell him what I said. If he wants me to. I'll come down and tell him myself. Harry S Truman
The chairman gets special privilege … and I intend to use it. Henry Hyde
I would like to add some legislative history at the end of my remarks. Henry Hyde
To put a halt to what it considered to be a rising tide of concentration in American business, Congress, with full power to do so, decided to clamp down with vigor on mergers … on the premise that mergers do tend to accelerate concentration in an industry. Many believe that this assumption of Congress is wrong, and that the disappearance of small businesses with a correlative concentration of business in the hands of a few is bound to occur whether mergers are prohibited or not. But it is not for the courts to review the policy decision of Congress… Hugo Black
I think a people cannot be long free, nor ever happy, whose government is in one Assembly…. A single Assembly is liable to all the vices, follies and frailties of an individual,--subject to fits of humor,--starts of passions, flights of enthusiasm,--partialities of prejudice, and consequently productive of hasty results and absurd judgments. All these errors ought to be corrected, and defects supplied by some controlling power. A single Assembly is apt to be avaricious, and in time will not scruple to exempt itself from burdens, which it will lay, without compunction, upon its constituents. A single Assembly is apt to grow ambitious, and after a time will not hesitate to vote itself perpetual. Benjamin Rush
A single branch of Legislation is a many headed Monster which without any check must soon defeat the very purposes for which it was created, and its members become a tyranny dreadful in proportion to the numbers which compose it. And possessed of power uncontrolled, would soon exercise it to put themselves free from the restraint of those who made them, and to make their own political existence perpetual. William Hooper
A factious spirit prevails from one end of our country to the other. And by that spirit both Senators and Representatives are chosen. By that spirit the government acts; and, as to the provisions of the Constitution, however they may fill up the space of a speech to round off a period, or perfume a flower of rhetoric, they cannot restrain men heated in the chase of party game. Gouverneur Morris
The Senate, in my poor opinion, is little if any check, either on the President or the House of Representatives. It has not the disposition. The members of both Houses are creatures, which, though differently born, are begotten in the same way and by the same sire. They have of course the same temper. But their opposition, were they disposed to make any, would be feeble. They would easily be borne down by the other House, in which the power resides. The President can indeed do what he pleases, provided always it shall please him to please those, who lead a majority of the Representatives. Gouverneur Morris
Only in Washington do you hear a budget increase described as a cut. Lynne Cheney
The Capitol Building should have a sign saying, “Warning!! You are now Entering an Ethics-Free Zone!” Margaret Carlson
We do not debar Congress from all action upon the freedom of speech. Legislation that abridges that freedom is forbidden, but not legislation to enlarge and enrich it Alexander Meiklejohn
… the marketplace, in which we regard our representatives in Congress as our designated shoppers. Joseph Tussman
There is a fundamental trade off between a sense of security and a standard of living…. The Congress is the only institution that we have that reflects the value tradeoffs of the American people. Alan Greenspan
If we can’t even agree on the facts, it will be very difficult for us to lock arms and deal with these problems. Ron Kind
Every war which has not been announced and declared should be adjudged unjust and impious. Tullus Hostilius
An assembly of tailors and blacksmiths.... Francisco de Miranda
Everything appears to take long in Congress. This is democracy in action. Barack Obama
The President has to persuade Congress to do what they do not want to do. Bert Carp
It is true that everything has been said, but not everyone has said it. Morris Udal
I feel like getting even, and if I live long enough I will. Ralph Henry Cameron
There once was a time when people chose their congressmen. Now congressmen choose their people. John Avlon
Perhaps our Congress will be Exalted on a high Gallows Abraham Clark
I am no convert to any doctrine of the omnipotence of Congress. James W. Grimes
The President may be removed from office before his term expires if approved by a majority vote in a plebiscite called pursuant to a resolution adopted by three-fourths of the Members of Althingi [the Parliament.] Iceland
Congress, factious, domineering, tyrannical Congress has undertaken to poison the minds of the American people, and create a feeling against me in consequence of the manner in which I have distributed the public patronage. Andrew Johnson
I. That the States lately in rebellion were, at the close of the war, disorganized communities, without civil government, and without constitutions or other forms, by virtue of which political relations could legally exist between them and the federal government. II. That Congress cannot be expected to recognize as valid the election of representatives from disorganized communities, which, from the very nature of the case, were unable to present their claim to representation under those established and recognized rules, the observance of which has been hitherto required. III. That Congress would not be justified in admitting such communities to a participation in the government of the country without first providing such constitutional or other guarantees as will tend to secure the civil rights of all citizens of the republic; a just equality of representation; protection against claims founded in rebellion and crime; a temporary restoration of the right of suffrage to those who had not actively participated in the efforts to destroy the Union and overthrow the government, and the exclusion from positions of public trust of, at least, a portion of those whose crimes have proved them to be enemies to the Union, and unworthy of public confidence. Joint Committee on Reconstruction
THE representatives of the good people of this commonwealth in general assembly convened, having maturely considered the answers of sundry states in the Union, to their resolutions passed at the last session, respecting certain unconstitutional laws of Congress, commonly called the alien and sedition laws, would be faithless indeed to themselves, and to those they represent, were they silently to acquiesce…. Kentucky
When the last dutiful & humble petition from Congress received no other Answer than declaring us Rebels, and out of the King’s protection, I from that Moment look’d forward to a Revolution & Independence, as the only means of Salvation; and will risque the last Penny of my Fortune, & the last Drop of my Blood upon the Issue. George Mason
If not checked the power of money will soon control the elections of the President, the senators and the members of the House of representatives. James K. Polk
it shall not be lawful to employ any part of the Army of the United States, as a posse comitatus, or otherwise, for the purpose of executing the laws, except in such cases and under such circumstances as such employment of said force may be expressly authorized by the Constitution or by act of Congress; and no money appropriated by this act shall be used to pay any of the expenses incurred in the employment of any troops in violation of this section… United States Congress
It seems to me that the untutored narcotics agents of this great Government . . . might have been better employed than in taking sides in a medical controversy involving the broad subject of what will or will not constitute the proper medication in the treatment of addiction. Yet this was done, and I am sorry to say is now being done by our Government, and will continue to be done until the end of time unless some protesting voice is raised against undue interference by lawyers, policemen, and detectives in the practice of medicine, and furtherance of its research and study. Lester David Volk
Please veto this bill. Mr. President, the Congress is out of control and needs adult supervision. Jeff Flake
There are hundreds and hundreds . . . . We've had the policy of protecting members and not exposing them, but we've taken a lot of abuse. There are members on the bandwagon of anti-spending, but they come and get their share. James Dyer
Authorizers do a big dog and pony show, but when it comes to the top line, we have open warfare about what the top line will be … James Dyer
The reorganization of the Defense Department under Mr. McNamara was something [in] which Mr. McNamara went beyond the law and the intent of Congress, far beyond it, though he did not break the law. He stayed within the law … Felix Edward Hebert
I don’t attend rallies and I don’t participate in presidential elections. In fact, I don’t participate in any election. I don’t participate in the governor’s race, I don’t participate in the mayor’s race. I participate in one election every two years. Then I’m strong for Hebert. That is the only election I take part in. Felix Edward Hebert
Bribes and special deals were offered to members to say yes. Nick Smith
I don’t see why we can’t get along just as well with a polygamist who doesn’t polyg as we do with a lot of monogamists who don’t monog! Boies Penrose
They keep such a dingdong about “supporting the Constitution.” One might imagine it was some miserable, decrepit old creature that was no longer able to totter on crutches but must be held on every side, and dragged along like a drunken loafer, on his road to the lock-up. Jane Grey Swisshelm
As the House is designed to provide a reflection of the mood of the moment, the Senate is meant to reflect the continuity of the past—to preserve the delicate balance of justice between the majority’s whims and the minority’s rights. Lyndon B. Johnson
The Senate of the United States has been both extravagantly praised and unreasonably disparaged, according to the predisposition and temper of its various critics…. The Senate is just what the mode of its election and the conditions of public life in this country make it. Woodrow Wilson
I soon found that the Senate had but one fixed rule … which was to the effect that the Senate would do anything it wanted to do whenever it wanted to do it. Calvin Coolidge
With 450,000 U.S. troops now in Vietnam, it is time that Congress decided whether or not to declare a state of war exists with North Vietnam Dwight D. Eisenhower
I would rather have President Roosevelt say one word to Congress in favor of amending the Constitution to give women the suffrage than to praise me endlessly! Susan B. Anthony
Sure the people are stupid: the human race is stupid. Sure Congress is an inefficient instrument of government. But the people are not stupid enough to abandon representative government for any other kind, including government by the guy who knows. Bernard DeVoto
What Congress and the popular sentiment approve is rarely defeated by reason of constitutional objections. Rutherford B. Hayes
The way to disarm is to disarm.... Franklin D. Roosevelt
I have seen in the Halls of Congress more idealism, more humaneness, more compassion, more profiles of courage than in any other institution that I have ever known. Hubert Horatio Humphery
I have a Congress on my hands. Grover Cleveland
Is Mr. [John Quincy] Adams demented, or is he perversely wicked? Both, I think, and Adams ought to be confined to a hospital. Andrew Jackson
I have been up to see the [Confederate] Congress, and they do not seem to be able to do anything except to eat peanuts and chew tobacco, while my army is starving. Robert E. Lee
Congress seems drugged and inert most of the time. ...Its idea of meeting a problem is to hold hearings or, in extreme cases, to appoint a commission Shirley Chisholm
Just imagine for a moment what life in this country might have been if women had been properly represented in Congress. Would a Congress where women in all their diversity were represented tolerate the countless laws now on the books that discriminate against women in all phases of their lives?....Would such a Congress condone the continued butchering of young girls and mothers in amateur abortion mills? Bella Abzug
We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. Abraham Lincoln
On Capitol Hill Congress runs by an internal clock: Legislative days are not counted the way calendar days are, and the seasons are marked not by the earth’s orbit but by whether Congress is in session or out. Philip Richard D. Corrigan
When the shadow of the Presidential and Congressional election is lifted we shall, I hope be in a better temper to legislate. James A. Garfield
There were two unpleasant surprises. One was the inertia of Congress, the length of time it takes to get a complicated piece of legislation through ... and the other was the irresponsibility of the press.. Jimmy Carter
No man with a genius for legislation has appeared in America …. Our legislators have not yet learned the comparative value of free trade and of freedom, of union, and of rectitude, to a nation. Henry David Thoreau
The T. and P. folks are working hard on their bill. … They offered one M. C. one thousand dollars cash down, five thousand when the Bill passed and ten thousand of the bonds when they got them, if he would vote for the Bill. Collis P. Huntington
It cost money to fix things so that I would know his bill would not pass. I believe that with $200,000, I can pass our bill. Collis P. Huntington
I do not think we can get any legislation this session for extension of land grants unless we pay more for it than it is worth. Collis P. Huntington
I think this coming session of Congress will be composed of the hungriest set of men that ever got together Collis P. Huntington
Congress, too, has changed in our time. There has grown a certain divisiveness. We have seen the hard looks and heard the statements in which not each other's ideas are challenged, but each other's motives. And our great parties have too often been far apart and untrusting of each other. George W. Bush
There are an awful lot of people making lots of money promoting fear. Their hot microphones have flamethrowers. Robert Durden “Bob” Inglis Sr.
I am not comfortable with putting out problems without solutions. Lindsey Graham
It is now sixteen years since the institution of slavery in the South began to be agitated in Congress and assailed by our sister States. Up to that time, the people of the Northern States seemed to have respected the rights reserved to the Southern States by the Constitution, and to have acted under the conviction, that the subject of slavery being beyond the legislation of Congress, all agitation with respect to it on the part of Congress, was equally forbidden by the Constitution. But at this time, a portion of the people of the North began to assail, in Congress, the institution of slavery, and to accomplish their object of dragging it to the vortex of congressional agitation Southern Convention
The time was when your Representatives in Congress were neither offered, nor would they endure reproach in your behalf. But for many years past, they have heard you in Congress habitually reviled by the most opprobrious epithets on account of the institution of slavery. If their spirits are yet unbroken, they must be chilled by a sense of humiliation at the insults they daily receive as your representatives. You are arraigned as criminals. Slavery is dragged into every debate, and Congress has become little else, than a grand instrument in the hands of abolitionists to degrade and ruin the South. Southern Convention
The granting of civil rights does not, and never did in this country, carry with it…political privileges. Lyman Trumbull
Women are citizens, children are citizens; but they do not exercise the elective franchise by virtue of their citizenship. Lyman Trumbull
Everything appears to take long in Congress. This is democracy in action. Barack Obama
The President has to persuade Congress to do what they do not want to do. Bert Carp
It is true that everything has been said, but not everyone has said it. Morris K. Udall
Half the Democrats in Congress get elected by running for Civil Rights and the other half gets elected by running against Civil Rights. Richard Nixon
To call an individual from private life in order that he may preside over the interests of millions; to invest him with the various dignified functions, and the extensive patronage which appertain to a station so exalted; to secure as completely as possible, the free exercise of the people's rights; to discourage and prevent the artifices of party, and of individual ambition; and to accomplish all this by means of a fixed and practicable system which should neither be misunderstood, perverted nor resisted, was a task of no small difficulty. William Rawle
Being a freshman Senator, you spend your first 18 months just trying to find out how the Senate works. Rick Santorum
The slavery issue should be decided by Congress, and I, as the President, will follow their direction. Zachary Taylor
One of my goals, is to make the House co-equal with the White House. Newt Gingrich
Our hope is that an omnibus bill is put together so we can work through our friends on the leadership staff to insert the language at the very end of the process, instead of working through the normal appropriations process—which involves too many people and could jeopardize our legislative fix. Jack Abramoff
This is the system that we have. I didn’t make the system. This is the system that we have. Jack Abramoff
In no part of the Constitution is more wisdom to be found than in the clause which confides the question of war or peace to the legislature, and not to the executive department. ... War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement. In war, a physical force is to be created; and it is the executive will which is to direct it. In war, the public treasures are to be unlocked; and it is the executive hand which is to dispense them. ... It is in war, finally, that laurels are to be gathered, and it is the executive brow they are to encircle. The strongest passions and most dangerous weaknesses of the human breast; ambition, avarice, vanity, the honorable or venial love of fame, are all in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace James Madison
The whole process is corrupt. I vote against everything. Ronald E. Paul
The Republican senators are filibustering themselves out of their seats. Charles E. Schumer
The New Deal Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act which granted unrestricted sovereign power to the barons of union labor. Richard Nixon
The Madman from Massachusetts Anonymous
Our Representative, Mr. Brooks, was among Mr. Senator Sumner's audience, on the second day; and it was on this day that Sumner, emptied one of his vials of vile vituperation on the head of Senator Butler, who was then absent at home. As soon as the speech was done and the Senate had adjourned, Mr. Brooks advanced to Sumner and demanded some explanation or retraction of his abuse of Judge Butler; and upon Sumner's refusal to accede to the proposition, our member fell to work upon him with a cane he happened to have in hand at the moment. The beating is said by all the reporters to have been a thorough one. Some say he received fifty stripes; yet we very much doubt if the Captain cared to exceed the legal number of thirty-nine, usually applied to scamps. But the beauty and propriety of the proceeding consists, to no small extent, in the fact that it was accomplished while yet the galleries had not emptied themselves, and while many of Sumner's constituents were probably there to look upon the deed. For our own part, we feel that our Representative did exactly right; and we are sure his people will commend him highly for it. Edgefield, South Carolina, Advertiser
The representative assembly (House of Representatives) . . . should be in miniature an exact portrait of the people at large. It should think, feel, reason, and act like them John Adams
Congress doesn’t act unless there is an emergency. Thomas George Thompson
This is the most unheard of thing that I have ever heard of Joseph R. McCarthy
If you undertake to divide all these appropriations and have many committees where there should be but one, you will enter upon a path of extravagance that you cannot foresee … until we find the Treasury of the country bankrupt. Samuel Jackson Randall
… the most disastrous blow ever struck at the constitutional power of Congress Howell Edmunds Jackson
When you pay social security taxes, you are in no way making provision for your own retirement. You are paying the pensions of those who are already retired. Once you understand this, you see that whether you will get the benefits you are counting on when you retire depends on whether Congress will levy enough taxes, borrow enough, or print enough money... W. Allen Wallis
… an embarrassment to San Diego San Diego Union
How can it be illegal or unethical if the most important man in Congress is doing it? Nancy Cunningham
The last time I saw you Gooks was when you were shooting at me. Randy Duke Cunningham
The legislation is made up down on K street Ernest F. Hollings
Every thing in Congress revolves around the campaign—to hell with the country. Ernest F. Hollings
I’m going to kick your Irish ass! Robert Dornan
Sit down, you socialist Randy Duke Cunningham
Mr. Chairman, do we have to call the gentleman ‘the gentleman’ as he is not one? Patricia Schroeder
The failure of a President to provide information to Congress about impeachment inquiries is itself and impeachable offense. Elizabeth Holtzman
It is up to Congress to see to it that its powers do not slip through its fingers Ross C. Anderson
The Declaration of War function is corrupted if the President is the only source of information about the issue… Bruce Fein
There are circumstances where the President could fail to follow the will of Congress when doing so would interfere with the core of his responsibilities. Walter Dellinger
Congress is afraid of the voters, and the voters are looking for leadership. Michael Bloomberg
Deals, flattery, threats and promises are part of the process, certainly; do not flinch from any opportunity to scheme and plot, however sordid and demeaning it may appear. Mungo Wentworth MacCallum
… if any person shall write, print, utter or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them … the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to stir up sedition within the United States, or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the constitution of the United States, or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act, or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years. United States Congress
The President … does not originate laws or resolutions; he takes no part in the deliberations on them during their progress; he does not act in relation to them indirectly by advice or interference of any sort, until they have passed both houses: it is only when their operations are concluded that his power begins. William Rawle
Some of the state legislatures appear to have viewed the relative duties of the senators whom they have appointed, in a more restricted light than it is apprehended the Constitution implies. It seems to have been supposed that the senators were bound to obey the directions of the state legislatures, and the language of some resolutions has been, that the senators be "instructed," and the members of the house of representatives from the particular states "requested," to make or support certain propositions. But surely the opinion is erroneous. A senator is no more bound to obey the instructions of the state legislature, in opposition to his own judgment, than a representative of the people in the other house, is bound by the occasional instructions of his constituents. They are both elected for the purpose of freely and honestly exercising their own judgments according to the best of their capacities. William Rawle
No clause in the constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give congress a power to disarm the people. William Rawle
We are fond of distinctions; we place ourselves in opposition, and quarrel under the denominations of faction and party, without any material subject of controversy. Adam Ferguson; Ferguson of Rath
Most Americans have no real understanding of the operation of the international money lenders. The accounts of the Federal Reserve System have never been audited. It operates outside the control of Congress and manipulates the credit of the United States Barry Goldwater
SLAVES CANNOT MARRY. Being held as Property, and incapable of making any Contract, they cannot contract Marriage recognized by Law. MEN may forget or disregard the rules of logic in their reasonings about slavery, but the genius that presides over American slavery never forgets or disregards them. From its well-defined principle of human chattelhood it never departs, for a single moment. If any thing founded on falsehood might be called a science, we might add the system of American slavery to the list of the strict sciences. From a single fundamental axiom, all the parts of the system are logically and scientifically educed. And no man fully understands the system, who does not study it in the light of that axiom. The slave has no rights. Of course he, or she, cannot have the rights of a husband, a wife. The slave is a chattel, and chattels do not marry. The slave is not ranked among sentient beings, but among things, and things are not married. Slaves are not people, in the eye of the law. They have no legal personality. So said by their votes, the Federal Congress. William Goodell
The present Congress have as complete authority to require of the States indefinite supplies of money for the common defense and general welfare, as the future Congress will have to require them of individual citizens; and the latter will be no more bound than the States themselves have been, to pay the quotas respectively taxed on them. James Madison
The debt ceiling should never be part of the budget negotiation process. Robert E. Rubin
Some time since a Senator from Massachusetts allowed himself, in an elaborately prepared speech, to offer a gross insult to my State, and to a venerable friend, who is my State representative, and who was absent at the time. Not content with that, he published to the world, and circulated extensively, this uncalled for libel on my State and my blood. Whatever insults my State insults me. Her history and character have commanded my pious veneration; and in her defense I hope I shall always be prepared, humbly and modestly, to perform the duty of a son. I should have forfeited my own self-respect, and perhaps the good opinion of my countrymen, if I had failed to resent such an injury by calling the offender in question to a personal account. Preston Brooks
Joint Resolution to amend the Constitution of the United States. Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the following article be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by three-fourths of said Legislatures, shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution, viz.: "Article Thirteen" No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State. United States Congress
I’ve been kept busy trying to ward off congressional resolutions of sympathy for these groups. Allen Welsh Dulles
Getting people to vote is the only way to break this tragic coalition in Congress. Martin Luther King Jr.
If this is the vaunted superiority our Government and the purity of our elective institutions, I do not think we have so much to be proud of, and morality and religion are of little use if they cannot teach us to discern the difference between right and wrong. Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams
The excitement during this protracted debate has been intense. The galleries are now crowded with colored persons almost to the exclusion of whites…. They know it to be a question of servitude or freedom, and imagine that the result will immediately affect their condition. Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams
Even my countenance was watched at the Senate during Mr. Pinkney’s speech as I was afterwards informed by some of the gentlemen. Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams
The United States is running a 21st century government under 1940s rules. Robert C. Lieberman
The speech at issue are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature that they present a clear and present danger that they would bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
The legislative department is everywhere extending the sphere of its activity and drawing all power into its impetuous vortex. James Madison
Congress lacks Constitutional authority to offer pensions. Frank L. Peckham
The Mexican-American War had been unnecessarily and unconstitutionally begun by the President of the United States House of Representatives
In this Congress, we are not obliged to be bound by the dead hand of the past Congress Robert Byrd
We’ve got to end the 3 day work week. Lamar Alexander
Nobody wants to change. Louis V. Gerstner, Jr.
The Capitol Thomas Jefferson
The oil companies legally bribe members of Congress to allow them to drill for oil in the ANWR. Jimmy Carter
The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists; indeed the passion is the measure of the holder’s lack of rational conviction. Opinions in politics and religion are almost always held passionately. Bertrand Russell
Control of the tongue! Vital for the man who would try to tread the Path, for no harsh or unkind word, no hasty impatient phrase, may escape from the tongue which is consecrated to service, and which must not injure even an enemy; for that which wounds has no place in the Kingdom of Love. Annie Besant
Very few people in Congress know very much about economics. Andrew Young
No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session. Mark Twain
Elections by the state legislatures will be better than those by the people. Charles Pinkney
The great danger to our institutions does not appear to me to be in a usurpation by the Government of power not granted by the people, but by the accumulation in one of the departments of that which was assigned to others. Limited as are the powers which have been granted, still enough have been granted to constitute a despotism if concentrated in one of the departments. William Henry Harrison
Congress doesn’t quite speak clearly much of the time. Linda Greenhouse
We know that the Senator does not read every word of legislation. Just as the CEO of General Motors does not attach every nut and bolt to a car. Stephen Breyer
There is only so much that you can kick the can down the road. Ben Bernanke
If you get anything done, you will be criticized Saxbe Chambliss
One Representative to thirty thousand inhabitants is a very inadequate representation… Mercy Otis Warren
A Senate chosen for six years will, in most instances, be an appointment for life, as the influence of such a body over the minds of the people will be coequal to the extensive powers with which they are vested, and they will not only forget, but be forgotten by their constituents. Mercy Otis Warren
Many very respectable Characters & Friends to old England are ruined, and are sure to meet no Mercy from Congress. William Feilding
I have lost all confidence in the justice and rectitude of the intentions of Congress. Nathanael Greene
We go on in Congress as when you left us …. Resolves have been passed upon Resolves--and letter after letter has been sent to the deficient States, and all without the desired effect. We are without money or the prospect of it in the Federal Treasury; and the States, many of them, care so little about the Union, that they take no measures to keep a representation in Congress. Rufus King
To suppose this expensive War can be carried on without joint and strenuous efforts is beneath the wisdom of those who are called to the high Offices of Legislation. Robert Morris
I don’t know if President (George W.) Bush understood how extreme some of the arguments were about executive power that some people in his administration were making. Jack Goldsmith
We have a new set of Congressmen who have really come to burn the House down. Luis Gutierrez
In running for Congress, you have to raise over $2 million. You are going to end up shaking hands with people with whom you would rather not shake hands. 95 percent of all the candidates with the most money, win. George Clooney
Congress has a moral obligation as caretaker of America's culture. Jesse Helms
The traditions and courtesies of the Senators and Representatives stand in the way of the Executive, however, as defined by the Constitution, and no man who is trained in the congressional school fails to suffer by them in a way that men of merely executive experience know nothing of. Rutherford B. Hayes
I don't know what the hell you're doing here telling us how to discharge our business. You were the worst Secretary of HEW the country ever had. Wayne L. Hays
The Senate was designed not to be efficient. If was designed to slow things down, And it does a pretty good job of it. Lamar Alexander
The Congressional leadership has to reflect the current feelings of their party caucus. Lamar Alexander
Appointments to office were not to be made nor expected merely as rewards for partisan services, nor merely on the nomination of members of Congress, as being entitled in any respect to the control of such appointments. Rutherford B. Hayes
I see more clearly than ever, and I thought I saw before, that congressional life is not the best introduction to the President's house. Great and fully equipped as the general [James Garfield] is, there are embarrassments growing out of his long and brilliant career in Congress, which Jackson and Lincoln, and Grant, and myself, escaped. Rutherford B. Hayes
From time to time we must remind ourselves that the President has a role in the legislative process. Mark Hatfield
It’s like drinking water from a fire hose. Dennis Hastert
Theirs is a Spartan morality. Not the corruption but the discovery that constitutes the crime. Instead of applauding the investigators, they make war on the investigation. Instead of condemning the exposed and praising the exposure, they praised the exposed and condemned the exposure Byron Patton Harrison
I just could not stand to look at the lack of courage in the Senate. Gary Hart
Our governmental good fortune does not lie in any surrender at either end of the Avenue. Warren G. Harding
Don't read our lips. Read our record. Tom Harkin
The people can never err more than in supporting that by multiplying their representatives beyond a certain limit, they strengthen the barrier against the government of a few. Alexander Hamilton
It was the same thing as going into a business community and interesting the leading business men by giving them shares. Oakes Ames
It is the case that the Russians are misusing the veto in the United Nations, but you must recall that it was we who insisted upon the veto. Without the veto we could not gotten it through Congress. Eleanor Roosevelt
Congress are authorized to defend the nation. Ships are necessary for defense; copper is necessary for ships; mines necessary for copper; a company necessary to work mines; and who can doubt this reasoning who has ever played at 'This is the House that Jack built?' Under such a process of filiation of necessities the sweeping clause makes clean work Thomas Jefferson
An act of the Congress of the United States... which assumes powers... not delegated by the Constitution, is not law, but is altogether void and of no force Thomas Jefferson
All the Congressmen who know nothing about the subject are telling the scientists how to do their research and what kinds to do. Tom Coburn
American government has usually been pretty good in a crisis and pretty lousy at all other times. William Frenzel
Congress is lazy. Tom Coburn
I am at liberty to vote as my conscience and judgment dictates to be right, without the yoke of any party on me... Look at my arms, you will find no party hand-cuff on them! David Crockett
The job of government is to govern. They ought to get on with it. Warren Buffett
There are some in Congress who would rather see their opponents lose than see their country win. That has got to stop…. They must find a way to put country ahead of party. Barack Obama
We have seen in Washington the worst kind of partisanship, the worst kind of gridlock. There is nothing wrong with our country. There is much wrong with our politics …. Barack Obama
Everything the CIA does is secret and it is secret particularly from the Congress. Chalmers Johnson
We spend millions of dollars to print this stuff (The Congressional Record). It’s all on line. We are tearing down trees to print material we do not need. Tom Coburn
We can argue and we can disagree, but we don’t need to poke our fingers in each other’s eyes in order to get our points across. Lisa Murkowski
Comprise should not be a dirty word. It should be what we all strive to achieve jointly. Lisa Murkowski
Unfortunately we are politicians when we should be statesmen. Tom Coburn
There is no stalemate in Congress. John Boehner
Every man cannot have his way in all things…Without this mutual disposition, we are disjointed individuals, but not a society Thomas Jefferson
Divided government need not be dysfunctional government. Barack Obama
We didn’t give them permission to repeal the ethanol subsidy. We just told them that it would not break the pledge that they had made … Grover Norquist
My God, what has this country come to when one person has to give you permission to do what's best for the country? Bill Clinton
Congress is the voice, the conscience, and the judgment of the American people William McKinley
I deem it my duty again to call your attention to the condition of the District of Columbia. It was doubtless wise in the framers of our Constitution to place the people of this District under the jurisdiction of the General Government, but to accomplish the objects they had in view it is not necessary that this people should be deprived of all the privileges of self-government. Independently of the difficulty of inducing the representatives of distant States to turn their attention to projects of laws which are not of the highest interest to their constituents, they are not individually, nor in Congress collectively, well qualified to legislate over the local concerns of this District. Consequently its interests are much neglected, and the people are almost afraid to present their grievances, lest a body in which they are not represented and which feels little sympathy in their local relations should in its attempt to make laws for them do more harm than good. Andrew Jackson
Quite as important as legislation is vigilant oversight of administration; and even more important than legislation is the instruction and guidance in political affairs which the people might receive from a body which kept all national concerns suffused in a broad daylight of discussion .... The informing functions of Congress should be preferred even to its legislative function. The argument is not only that a discussed and interrogated administration is the only pure and efficient administration, but, more than that, that the only really self-governing people is that people which discusses and interrogates its administration. Woodrow Wilson
The wisdom and discretion of Congress . . . are the restraints on which the people must often rely solely, in all representative governments John Marshall
Federal judges will never be so wild, so absurd, so mad as to pretend that they are superior to the legislative power of America. Gouverneur Morris
I desire to secure every privilege and every right to every citizen in the United States…. I understand the amendment ... to authorize Congress to establish uniform laws throughout the United States upon the subject named, the protection of life, liberty, and property. I am unwilling that Congress shall have any such power Giles Waldo Hotchkiss
The proposed 14th Amendment allows Congress to correct the unjust legislation of the States, so far that the law which operates upon one man shall operate equally upon all. Thaddeus Stevens
Its whole effect is not to confer or regulate rights, but to require that whatever of these enumerated rights and obligations are imposed by State laws shall . . . be without distinction based on race. Samuel Shellabarger
Whatever rights as to each of these enumerated civil (not political) matters the State may confer upon one race . . . shall be held by all races in equality … It secures … equality of protection in those enumerated civil rights which the States may deem proper to confer upon any races. Samuel Shellabarger
Among the means of advancing the public interest the occasion is a proper one for recalling the attention of Congress to the great importance of establishing throughout our country the roads and canals which can best be executed under the national authority. No objects within the circle of political economy so richly repay the expense bestowed on them; there are none the utility of which is more universally ascertained and acknowledged James Madison
it is obvious that there is only wanting to the fiscal prosperity of the Government the restoration of an uniform medium of exchange … it is essential that the nation should possess a currency of equal value, credit, and use wherever it may circulate. The Constitution has entrusted Congress exclusively with the power of creating and regulating a currency James Madison
Congress will call to mind that no adequate provision has yet been made for the uniformity of weights and measures also contemplated by the Constitution. The great utility of a standard fixed in its nature and founded on the easy rule of decimal proportions is sufficiently obvious. It led the Government at an early stage to preparatory steps for introducing it, and a completion of the work will be a just title to the public gratitude. James Madison
Congresscritters Jim Hightower
Congress really likes the power that comes from the Highway program or messing in education. Rudolph G. Penner
It’s easier for Congress to beat civil servants about the ears than address the programs that are not working well. Rudolph G. Penner
Congress keeps outwitting its rules. Rudolph G. Penner
Our sufferings are beyond our expression or your conception. Richard O'Brien
You don’t mind if we denounce you once in a while, do you, Lyndon? Everett Dirksen
I was convicted of Contempt of Congress which was a just verdict for I had extensive contempt for that Congress and a few other subsequent ones. Dalton Trumbo
I cannot escape the conscientious discharge of my duty towards a class of American citizens, whose only crime consists of their color. Adelbert Ames
There ought to be some form of fiction provided to the public other than that provided by Congress. Michael Crichton
We, as a Congress, have to stand up to a president who acts like the Bill of Rights and the Constitution were repealed on September 11. Russ Feingold
Allow me to congratulate you, gentlemen, upon the harmony and personal kindness which have so generally prevailed throughout this Hall. It must remain a source of unmixed pleasure to us all, that our conflicts of opinion here, however fierce they may occasionally have been, were not allowed materially to disturb our social relations; and that now, having finished our work, we part in peace. This House stands adjourned … Linn Boyd
There is such a hostility against the military by the Congress that the nation does not deserve the loyalty of any officer. Alexander Hamilton
We’re not very good at policy making any more, but we are good at symbolism. So we do a lot of symbols. E. J. Dionne Jr.
Some people think that you can call they Federal Reserve and ask them what they are doing. I’ve been calling the Fed for 30 years and they have never told my anything. Ronald E. Paul
Bring this mindless cannibalism to an end. There has been enough of it. James C. Wright Jr.
Harsh personal attacks on one’s motives drown out the quiet process of debate. James C. Wright Jr.
Because of the term ‘whip’, it is assumed that members can be beaten into submission, but I’ve seldom seen that be successful. It’s getting to know the individual, what they think, how they feel, what’s going on in their personal life, are they agonizers or quick deciders, what kind of leverage can be used with them or on them. William Paxon
Vote counting is 90 percent art, 10 percent science, and all about human nature William Paxon
Is there really someone who, searching for a group of wise and sensitive persons to regulate him for his own good, would choose that group of people that constitute the membership of both houses of Congress? Robert Nozick
What I reject, out of hand, is the idea that by 5 to 4 Supreme Court judges can rewrite the Constitution, but it takes two-thirds of the House and two-thirds of the Senate and three-fourths of the States to equal 5 judges. Newt Gingrich
Each of us has these little desks that you can’t write anything on. But inside the drawer the names of the previous senators using that desk are carved in the wood. Barack Obama
If "pro" is the opposite of "con", is "progress" the opposite of "Congress"? Leo Anthony Gallagher
The Congress is predominately a lawyers' body. Felix Frankfurter
In a democratic society like ours, relief must come through an aroused popular conscience that sears the conscience of the people's representatives. Felix Frankfurter
I want to live … where the people who make the rules have to live by them. Martin Firrell
Arguments are made in Washington with very few facts behind them. Neera Tanden
The House of Commons starts its proceedings with a prayer. The chaplain looks at the assembled members with their varied intelligence and then prays for the country. Alfred Denning
Sending someone to be a non-voting delegate to Congress is like sending a eunuch to an orgy. Julius W. Hobson Jr.
Has Washington become so dysfunctional that even when we all agree on something, we can’t get it done? Barack Obama
We live at a time when people do not have much trust in government. Stephen Breyer
If I know anything, I know scary. And giving this President and this out-of-control Congress two more years to screw up our future is downright terrifying. Thankfully, this national nightmare is one we can end. Stephen King
Rules should not be barriers; they should be guides. Thomas Reid
I demand that all considerations of class, section, and party shall be subordinated to the loftier and more patriotic object which all of us recognize as best for the whole country and its people Samuel Jackson Randall
The objections to the purchase are generally its extent, the cost of the purchase, the nature of selection, embracing too many works in foreign languages, some of too philosophical a character, and some otherwise objectionable. Of the first description, exception was taken to Voltaire’s works, &, co., and of the other to Callender’s Prospect Before Us House of Representatives
Mr. Speaker, it is matter of common knowledge that an epidemic of alarming proportions is prevailing throughout the country. Out of an abundant precaution the Senate has ordered the galleries closed, which action, I understand, meets with the approval of the medical authorities, and so I ask unanimous consent that the Speaker be instructed to close the galleries of this House until further action shall be taken by the House. Henry Thomas Rainey
New Mexicans are anxious to assume that relation to the Government of the United States which will . . . advance their local interests, and will enable them, through their Senators and Representatives in Congress, to demand . . . protection and consideration from the Government which they now have to solicit as a matter of grace. Jose Francisco Chaves
Does not the President . . . submit this subject to Congress for their sanction? Does he not recognize the principle . . . that no treaty is binding until we pass the laws for executing it?” John Randolph
I am not specifically interested in so-called women’s questions, as all national positions are sexless Florence Prag Kahn
Preparedness has never caused a war, nor has unpreparedness ever prevented one Florence Prag Kahn
What I am interested in is to help this grand President of ours feed the hungry and clothe the naked and provide work for the idle of every race and creed Arthur Wergs Mitchell
I was in session through the winter and announced rodeos in the summer… There’s an amazing correlation . . . in that there’s bull in each profession. Clem McSpadden
Abramoff did not own me, but we did engage in the culture of corruption together. Robert William Ney
The whole system is bribery. Jack Abramoff
We probably had very strong influences, shall we say, on about 100 Congressional offices. Jack Abramoff
Members of Congress don’t read the bills. Neil Voltz
One of the advantages of no longer running for public office is that I don’t have to pretend to be nice to people I dislike. Barney Frank
The President sets the policies and Congress does not. Our lawmakers in Washington ratify and implement what the President wants, but if he is a strong leader and can hold his own party together, even with the majority of the opposition against him he usually can win over enough members of Congress to carry what legislation he really feels is essential. Eleanor Roosevelt
This gentleman feels that all the members of Congress should have access to all the information which is in the hands of officials in the executive branch who deal with foreign affairs. He states that this is so in England and France. I think the gentleman must be mistaken, for it would be "agin" human nature for so many people to know a secret and keep it! Much of the information which comes to officials dealing with foreign affairs is uncorroborated, but valuable as background material. The sources of this information would soon dry up if it became the property of too many people. It seems to me that in foreign affairs, as in all matters of government, one must deal with reality, recognize human nature as it is and set up machinery to deal with real situations, not those which we wish existed. Eleanor Roosevelt
I could end the deficit in 5 minutes. You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election Warren Buffett
Parliament will train your men to the manners required of a statesman; but in a much less degree to the intrinsic functions of one. To these latter, it is capable of mistraining as nothing else can. Parliament will train you to talk; and above all things to hear, with patience, unlimited quantities of foolish talk. To tell a good story for yourself, and to make it appear that you have done your work Thomas Carlyle
Every American war has brought a struggle between Congress and the Executive over war powers. The Constitution is somewhat annoyingly ambiguous on the point declaring that the President is Commander in Chief but empowering Congress to provide for the common defense, declare war, and raise and support armies. Fergus Bordewich
Things are more unpleasant here every day. The Senate chamber is filled with lice. It makes my head itch to think of it. The building is like one grand water closet. Every hole and every corner is defiled. Thomas Ustick Walter
We are not under the command of the military. They are under ours as a Congress. William Pitt Fessenden
Congress’ duty to the voters requires it to monitor how military appropriations are spent and to investigate the army’s failures if it was not willing to investigate itself. What are we to do? Sit idle during all the period that the [Civil] war is in progress? William Pitt Fessenden
War is best left to the Generals. I believe in letting the military authorities manage the army. If they manage it badly, we shall make a bad matter worse by tampering and interfering. Lafayette S. Foster
I am an optimist. How else could I have stayed in the Congress for nine terms? Jane Harman
Congress does investigations better than they do any thing else. Let them do that…. The people of Louisiana don’t want anyone’s head. They want everyone’s help. Mitch Landrieu
I confess that I see no remedy but by colonizing the free blacks, either in Africa or the West Indies, or both. This, it appears to me, is all Congress can do.... But this bare removal of the free blacks would be a blessing to them and would relieve the slave and free states from a wretched population, that must ever be kept in a state of degradation by the prejudice of color and race, whether they reside in the slave or free states. There can be no well grounded hope for the improvement of either their moral or social condition, until they are removed from a humiliating sense of inferiority in the presence of a superior race Millard Fillmore
I deem it best and, therefore, recommend a resolution memorializing the Congress of the United States to purchase territory, either domestic or foreign, and provide means to purchase the property of the negroes at reasonable prices, and to transport the negroes to the territory purchased by the United States. The United States to organize a government for them of the Negro race; to protect them from foreign invasion, to prevent white people from living among them in the territory; and to prevent negroes from migrating back to the United States. Napoleon Bonaparte Broward
The late rebel States have lost their constitutional relations to the Union, and are incapable of representation in Congress, except by permission of the Government. It matters but little, with this admission, whether you call them States out of the Union, and now conquered territories, or assert that because the Constitution forbids them to do what they did do, that they are therefore only dead as to all national and political action, and will remain so until the Government shall breathe into them the breath of life anew and permit them to occupy their former position. Thaddeus Stevens
The powers of the Senate over appointments were trifled with and disregarded by reappointing persons who had been already rejected …. The veto power conferred by the Constitution as a remedy for ill-considered legislation, was turned by him into a weapon of offence against Congress Charles Sumner
Last year, after much consideration, I recommended that the Congress adopt a national service act as the most efficient and democratic way of insuring full production for our war requirements. This recommendation was not adopted. I now again call upon the Congress to enact this measure for the total mobilization of all our human resources for the prosecution of the war…. National service legislation would make it possible to put ourselves in a position to assure certain and speedy action in meeting our manpower needs. Franklin D. Roosevelt
I want to plant a few more seeds here and there before they plant me Doris Haddock
Whenever you take a stand on an issue, people will line up around the block to kick your ass over it. By having an opinion, you make yourself a target. Why do you think Congress likes to hide behind closed doors at decision-making time? Jesse Ventura
Any officer fit for duty who at this crisis would abandon his post to electioneer for a seat in Congress, ought to be scalped. Rutherford B. Hayes
I had 24 hours to prepare. If this were a criminal case 5 or 6 lawyers would have weeks to prepare. Arlen Specter
Next to the effectual establishment of the Union, the best possible precaution against danger from standing armies is a limitation of the term for which revenue may be appropriated to their support. James Madison
Put an underdog on top and it makes no difference whether his name is Russian, Jewish, Negro, Management, Labor, Mormon, Baptist he goes haywire. I've found very, very few who remember their past condition when prosperity comes. Look at the Congressional attitude on DPs — and they all come from DPs. Harry S Truman
Had some inscrutable decree of fate ordained and made it certain, with a certainty not to be disturbed, that no candidate could be returned to Parliament who would not assert the earth to be triangular, there would rise immediately a clamorous assertion of triangularity among political aspirants. The test would be innocent. Candidates have swallowed, and daily do swallow, many a worse one. As might be this doctrine of a great triangle, so is the doctrine of Home Rule. Anthony Trollope
We have a constitution that says that the way you get things is by passing legislation, not by threatening to destroy the country unless you get your way. Paul Krugman
We are naming the law The Lilly Ledbetter Act. We members of Congress don’t usually name our laws for people like you. We name them for ourselves. George Miller
There is hardly a member of Congress who can make up his mind to go home without having dispatched at least one speech to his constituents; nor who will endure any interruption until he has introduced into his harangue whatever useful suggestions may be made touching the four-and-twenty States of which the Union is composed, and especially the district which he represents. Alexis de Tocqueville
Our political system is losing its ability to even explore alternatives …. I hope we will demand judgment from our leaders. Richard Lugar
We need less bipartisanship in Congress. Richard Mourdock
My definition of bipartisanship is Democrats agreeing with Republicans Richard Mourdock
In a body [Congress] where there are more than one hundred talking lawyers . . .you can make no calculation upon the termination of any debate and frequently the more trifling the subject the more animated and protracted the discussion Franklin Pierce
We in Congress don’t have much influence on the Supreme Court. We confirm judges and then we never hear from them. They don’t call. They don’t write. Arlen Specter
They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material. Theodore Fulton Stevens
Parliamentary government is simply a mild and disguised form of compulsion. We agree to try strength by counting heads instead of breaking heads, but the principle is exactly the same... The minority gives way not because it is convinced that it is wrong, but because it is convinced that it is a minority. James Fitzjames Stephen
I hate to tell you, but it's not always pretty up there on Capitol Hill Tony Snow
James Madison was pessimistic about the country when he could not get accepted his proposal to allow the Congress to veto state laws. Rosemary Zagarri
Jefferson, Madison and Washington could not survive in today’s political environment. Gordon S. Wood
It is unjust that the whole of society should contribute towards an expense of which the benefit is confined to a part of the society. Adam Smith
The people do not approve of Congress. Count me among them… Congress has always been a mockery since the beginning of our country. Nancy Pelosi
Never say more than is necessary. Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Our Congress is not the best and the brightest. It is sad to see their behavior lowering the quality of our political discourse. Robert Redford
The legislator commands the future. Louis Antoine de Saint-Just
You who make the laws, the vices and the virtues of the people will be your work. Louis Antoine de Saint-Just
The publishers profess to be the agents of heaven in establishing virtue and therefore that they ought to receive some subsidy from the government. I can ask no stronger refutation to this claim … than the utterly unscrupulous methods pursued by them in seeking to influence Congress on this subject. William Howard Taft
Pharmaceutical companies have the highest number of lobbyists and they pay them the most. A lot of them are former legislators. Harriet Washington
The intoxication of power rapidly sobers off in the knowledge of its restrictions and under the prompt reminder of an ever-present and not always considerate press, as well as the kindly suggestions that not infrequently come from Congress. William Howard Taft
Congress no longer declares war or makes budgets. So that's the end of the constitution as a working machine. Gore Vidal
When you’re spending 24 billion dollars in pork barrel transportation projects how can you go to the American people and talk about tax increases. John McCain
Every time I have done things for political reasons, I have regretted it. Every time I have done what I thought was right, it has come out all right in the end. John McCain
Our Founding Fathers created the United States Senate for the purpose of protecting the rights of the minority. John McCain
It is time the American people saw the incredible power of staff members ...and how little power the members who are elected by the people, as opposed to the unelected, have in the decision-making process. John McCain
There are lots of colleagues for whom I have a great deal of personal affection. But they’re not necessarily the people I go do to get something done. John McCain
We’ve been through the House. We’ve been through the Senate. We’ve been through the rantings and ravings. The time is now. John McCain
I am not sure whether I should be afraid of a national security threat from another country or another solar system. John McCain
Earmarks are the gateway to corruption. John McCain
We are in an age of floating coalitions. Someone may be with you on one issue and against you on the next. David Gergen
The major role of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is not legislative; it is educational. Joseph R. Biden Jr.
A big nation sometimes has to be humble, and a big nation sometimes has to say “I’m sorry!” in order to stay big. Tony P. Hall
How much reform do you think this institution [Congress] can take? Lee H. Hamilton
I get terribly frustrated on the floor when I can't find out what I'm voting on. Lee H. Hamilton
The congressional leadership is never in a hurry to go home and campaign. They all have safe seats. Lee H. Hamilton
Each of us has these little desks that you can’t write anything on. But inside the drawer the names of the previous senators using that desk are carved in the wood. Barack Obama
While the new GOP House majority is the second-largest since World War II, more people cast votes for Democratic House candidates than for Republican candidates. Frank Luntz
Watching Congress is like being in permanent divorce court Robert U. Woodward
You cannot govern the United States from one house of the Congress. Charles Krauthammer
Tea party members of Congress do not want to legislate. They want to remonstrate. Howard Fineman
Public Service was never meant to be an easy living. John Boehner
On Capitol Hill we like to make tough speeches. We don’t like to make tough choices. Bob Dole
If you can’t learn to compromise an issue without compromising yourself then you better not be a legislator and you better not marry. Alan K. Simpson
Break off the shackles from the poor black man, and hire him to labor like other human beings Pray Congress to pay every man a reasonable price for his slaves out of the surplus revenue arising from the sale of public lands, and from the deduction of pay from the members of Congress. Petition, also, ye goodly inhabitants of the slave States, your legislators to abolish slavery by the year 1850, or now, and save the abolitionist from reproach and ruin, infamy and shame. My cogitations…have for a long time troubled me, when I viewed the condition of men throughout the world, and more especially in this boasted realm, where the Declaration of Independence “holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” but at the same time some two or three millions of people are held as slaves for life, because the spirit in them is covered with a darker skin than ours... The Southern people are hospitable and noble. They will help to rid so free a country of every vestige of slavery, whenever they are assured of an equivalent for their property… Joseph Smith, Jr.
The Alien & Sedition Acts are a nullity as absolute and palpable as if Congress had ordered us to fall down and worship a golden image. Thomas Jefferson
The acts of [the Confederate] Congress authorizing issues of currency were the hastily formulated thought of a not very wise body of men, and … they were frequently susceptible of widely different construction by different officials. However that may be, it was clearly out of the power of the government ever to redeem the notes, and whatever may have been the state of affairs within the treasury, nobody outside its precincts ever cared to muddle his head in an attempt to get at exact figures. We knew only that money was astonishingly abundant. Provisions fell short sometimes, and the supply of clothing was not always as large as we should have liked, but nobody found it difficult to get money enough. George Cary Eggleston
Do I have comedy writers? Of course I have writers—535 of them—100 in the Senate and 435 in the House. Mark Russell
The only time the Democrats and the Republicans are together is when they are voting for their own pay raise. Mark Russell
In our system today, many people don’t have to win general elections; they just have to win primaries. David Axelrod
As human nature is very much the same in Congress as in a stock exchange, a church convention, or a newspaper office, the President who deals with Congress tactfully and courteously will, in the long run get more of what he wants than the President who does not do so. He may not get so much credit for what he does gain, from those people who like to see a President fight Congress, especially in that flattering way which consists in appealing to them to make Congress do what the President wants done. Henry B.F. Macfarland
Most Americans look upon the President as superior to the Congress and the Supreme Court, about whose powers and functions they know very little; Henry B.F. Macfarland
Though many will criticize the president for mis-steps in Iraq and at home, it is with the complicity of Congress that we have become a nation of pre-emptive war, secret military tribunals, torture, rejection of habeas corpus, warrantless searches, undue government secrecy, extraordinary renditions, and uncontrolled spying on the American people. Fighting over there has nothing to do with preserving freedoms here at home. More likely the opposite is true. Ronald E. Paul
Though many will criticize the president for mis-steps in Iraq and at home, it is with the complicity of Congress that we have become a nation of pre-emptive war, secret military tribunals, torture, rejection of habeas corpus, warrantless searches, undue government secrecy, extraordinary renditions, and uncontrolled spying on the American people. Fighting over there has nothing to do with preserving freedoms here at home. More likely the opposite is true. Ronald E. Paul
the American people become less secure when we risk a major conflict driven by commercial interests and not constitutionally authorized by Congress. Victory under these circumstances is always elusive, and unintended consequences are inevitable Ronald E. Paul
I am convinced that there are more threats to American liberty within the 10 mile radius of my office on Capitol Hill than there are on the rest of the globe. Ronald E. Paul
We are not a deadbeat nation. Barack Obama
I am biased against stupid members of Congress who would put your economy at risk. Ali Velshi
The supreme majesty of the law and the power of this republican Government was illustrated anew to-day by the fresh scenes and proceedings in the great trial of impeachment. The business-like, almost matter-of-fact manner in which the Congress of the United States proceeds with this grave work is the most striking illustration of the innate love and reverence for law and order that characterize the American people. New York Times
I have been in the Senate for 30 years practicing comedy. Arlen Specter
… the most bitter and angry contests ever known in Congress Thomas Jefferson
The gentleman’s time has expired, and I now have the floor, and I want to say that it is an improvement to the floor. Thomas Reid
We don’t care what the cost-benefit is. We’re going to build it somehow because Congress says it’s going to be built. George Voinovich
Right from the start [1902] every Senator … wanted a project in his state. Every representative wanted one in his district. They didn’t care whether they made economic sense or not. Marc Reisner
The debt limit does not affect the deficits or surpluses. The critical revenue and spending decisions are made through the congressional budget process. Barteltt Bruce Reeves
If my doing the right thing will cost me my seat, they can take this job and shove it. Roy J. McDonald
The earth didn’t stop spinning. The moon didn’t fall into the pond. The people who live across the street are the same people, except that they’re married. James S. Alesi
I was 55 and I realized that if I didn’t leave Congress then, I would have to stay there [till retirement]. I would not be able to do anything else. I left when I still could…. Besides. Congress had become like a Junior High School Lunchroom throwing food at each other. Patricia Schroeder
If Olympia Snow and I were talking together on the floor of the House, Newt Gingrich would send his boys over to tell her to get back to the Republican side of the aisle. Patricia Schroeder
Facts just don’t mean anything anymore. It’s who shouts the loudest and repeats it the most. Patricia Schroeder
Congress has become the center of legalized bribery/ Thomas Friedman
You can’t change Washington from the inside. You can only change Washington from the outside. Barack Obama
Today, thousands of immigrant families are living in fear and being torn apart because Congress refuses to act. Simone Campbell
You used to get legislation done by getting the moderates to agree. But we have no moderates now so it doesn’t get done Peter Orszag
There is no such thing as suicide in any provision of the Constitution. Thomas Reid
The object of Parliament is to substitute argument for fisticuffs. Winston Churchill
I don’t think we should go to war with one person’s authority.. Rand Paul
The Pentagon says that they are too big to be audited. That’s an insult. They spend $700 billion a year. They need to be audited. Rand Paul
Our trouble is that we do not demand enough of the people who represent us. We are responsible for their activities. . . . we must spur them to more imagination and enterprise in making a push into the unknown; we must make clear that we intend to have responsible and courageous leadership. Eleanor Roosevelt
Washington specialized in doing something that does nothing. Herman Cain
Right here in this heart and home and fountain-head of law--in this great factory where are forged those rules that create good order and compel virtue and honesty in the other communities of the land, rascality achieves its highest perfection. Here rewards are conferred for conniving at dishonesty, but never for exposing it Mark Twain
Your notion and mine about polygamy is without doubt exactly the same; but you probably think we have some cause of quarrel with those people for putting it into their religion, whereas I think the opposite. Considering our complacent cant about this country of ours being the home of liberty of conscience, it seems to me that the attitude of our Congress and people toward the Mormon Church is matter for limitless laughter and derision. The Mormon religion is a religion: the negative vote of all of the rest of the globe could not break down that fact; and so I shall probably always go on thinking that the attitude of our Congress and nation toward it is merely good trivial stuff to make fun of. Mark Twain
In my experience, only third-rate intelligence is sent to Legislatures to make laws, because the first-rate article will not leave important private interests go unwatched to go and serve the public for a beggarly four or five dollars a day, and a miserably trivial distinction Mark Twain
Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman can. Mark Twain
...the smallest minds and the selfishest souls and the cowardliest hearts that God makes. Mark Twain
Whiskey is carried into committee rooms in demijohns and carried out in demagogues. Mark Twain
...I never can think of Judas Iscariot without losing my temper. To my mind Judas Iscariot was nothing but a low, mean, premature, Congressman. Mark Twain
People seem to think that if a man is a Member of Parliament he may do what he pleases. Anthony Trollope
Every one wanted to say so much that no one said anything in particular. Rudyard Kipling
What Congress needs is a trochar. Harry S Truman
Redistricting will determine the future control of Congress. Kevin Mack
Nothing Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton did together will ever have as much impact on election results as the partisan makeup of congressional districts around the country. Rob Richie
Congress no longer declares war or makes budgets. So that's the end of the constitution as a working machine. Gore Vidal
In a very real and terrifying sense, our Government is the CIA and the Pentagon, with Congress reduced to a debating society. Jim Garrison
The chief duty of the National Government in connection with the currency of the country is to coin money and declare its value. Grave doubts have been entertained whether Congress is authorized by the Constitution to make any form of paper money legal tender. The present issue of United States notes has been sustained by the necessities of war; but such paper should depend for its value and currency upon its convenience in use and its prompt redemption in coin at the will of the holder, and not upon its compulsory circulation. These notes are not money, but promises to pay money. If the holders demand it, the promise should be kept. James A. Garfield
It is of course true that any kind of judicial legislation is objectionable on the score of the limited interests which a Court can represent, yet there are wrongs which in fact legislatures cannot be brought to take an interest in, at least not until the Courts have acted. Learned Hand
If we’re going to do all the things that the Constitution says that legitimately we can do as a country, … we have to be able to have a Congress where people can talk together like our Founding Fathers did. Marvin Henry “Mickey” Edwards
On the political chessboard of internal palace intrigue politics, our people were played last night as a pawn…. It is why the American people hate Congress. It is why they hate them. Chris Christie
I suspect that the great Continental powers will see a military Government at Paris with pleasure; they go rather far in their hatred of everything Parliamentary. Leopold I
All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology and the big bang theory, all that is lies from the pit of Hell. And lies to keep me and all the people who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior…. The earth is about 9,000 years old it was made in six days. Paul Collins Broun Jr.
Congress can, by edict, as a part of the military defense which it is the duty of Congress to provide, abolish slavery, and pay for such slaves as we ought to pay for. Then the slaves near our armies will come to us: those in the interior will know in a week what their rights are, and will, where opportunity offers, prepare to take them. Instantly, the armies that now confront you must run home to protect their estates, and must stay there, and your enemies will disappear. There can be no safety until this step is taken … Ralph Waldo Emerson
All legislation looking to the perpetuation of our national debt, and of the national-banking system which feeds and fattens upon it, should be universally discouraged and denounced as a crime against the people, and all laws looking to their existence should be immediately repealed. James Baird Weaver
I am as much opposed as any member here to worthless money, to depreciated money, but unquestionably it is the interest of the great mass of our people that we should have cheap money and dear property; I do not mean worthless money, but I mean cheap money as compared with the property which it buys. Property is held by the many and money by the few. James Baird Weaver
The building of the transcontinental railroads resulted in an orgy of political corruption. The public lands and the natural resources of coal, of iron, and of timber were lavishly wasted in the great scramble for wealth and material power. The carnival of waste and plunder reached its climax about 1890. Evidences were abundant that the great business interests of the country were controlling the government for their own private benefit. The capitalists who financed the railroads, mines, mills, packing houses, grain elevators, and other great enterprises, received from Congress favors which destroyed competition and enormously increased private fortunes. Fred Emory Haynes
Do Nothing Congress Harry S Truman
I am not using the word slavery. I am simply reading from the petitions I have received from my constituents wishing Congress to redress their grievances. John Quincy Adams
No president … has ever quarreled with Congress as a whole, or with either chamber, without being backed by the people. The great body of voters hate what they regard as an unequal fight, and may always be trusted to side with the one man as against the many; with the public servant whom they have jointly elected, as against any number of public servants chosen to represent fractional parts of the Union. Francis E. Leupp
To reform Congress, you have to get Congress to play along. Robert Draper
Congress members put their ideology ahead of your prosperity. Ali Velshi
I need this job [Speaker of the House] like a hole in the head. John Boehner
I have been in Washington for 22 years and have seen us kick the can down the road. Well there is no more road to kick the can down. John Boehner
When the question of the new coinage came up we looked into the law and found there was no warrant therein for putting 'In God We Trust' on the coins. As the custom, although without legal warrant, had grown up, however, I might have felt at liberty to keep the inscription had I had approved of its being on the coinage. But as I did not approve of it, I did not direct that it should again be put on. Of course the matter of the law is absolutely in the hands of Congress, and any direction of Congress in the matter will be immediately obeyed. At present, as I have said, there is no warrant in law for the inscription. Theodore Roosevelt
I do not assert that a President and the Congress must on all points agree with each other at all times. Many times in history there has been complete disagreement between the two branches of the Government, and in these disagreements sometimes the Congress has won and sometimes the President has won. Franklin D. Roosevelt
Members of Congress don’t speak to their colleagues any more. They talk to the national audience. Tom Daschle
You are the non-patriots, and you are the un-Americans, and you ought to be ashamed of yourselves. Paul Robeson
The district that is best represented is the district that is wise enough to select a man of energy, intelligence, and integrity and reelects him year after year. Sam Rayburn
Our Congress makes the UN look efficient by comparison Mark Shields
At home when people go to lawmakers and induce them with trips and gifts and so on to pass legislation, it's called corruption. But in the U.S. it's actually a profession called lobbying! Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
We are there to be an opposition to the Democratic philosophy and the only way to do that is through confrontation. Tom DeLay
The Military Industrial Complex. President Eisenhower had it wrong. It’s the Military Industrial Congressional Complex. Robert McNamara
When Congress opens the government’s purse, the benefits flow to special interests rather than the public interest. Kishore Mahbubani
In the fifteen years since Earl Warren became Chief Justice, the Court has brought about more social change than most Congresses and most presidents. Anthony Lewis
The minority makes every effort to delay business. Fisher Ames
Our great committee is too unwieldy for this operation. A great, clumsy machine is applied to the slightest and most delicate operations--the hoof of an elephant to the strokes of mezzotinto. Fisher Ames
The people are gainers by the election of representatives. They may destroy, but they cannot exercise, the powers of government in person, but by their servants they govern: they do not renounce their power; they do not sacrifice their rights; they become the true sovereigns of the country when they delegate that power, which they cannot use themselves to their trustees. Fisher Ames
I consider biennial elections as a security that the sober, second thought of the people shall be law. Fisher Ames
When I face an issue of great import that cleaves both constituents and colleagues, I always take the same approach. I engage in deep deliberation and quiet contemplation. I wait to the last available minute and then I always vote with the losers. Because, my friend, the winners never remember and the losers never forget. Everett Dirksen
When you're going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people. John Dingell
A government may only govern so long as the people, through their representatives, vote it the money to carry on. Judy LaMarsh
Whenever Canada moves to protect its own industries and people, it is subjected to violent attacks in the U.S. Congress and to threats of economic retaliation. Judy LaMarsh
The power of uncontrollable decision is of the most delicate and dangerous nature. James A. Bayard
When I was very young, I was attracted to men and to government. I assumed that my attraction for men would likely interfere with my activity in government. I could not have believed that today, my attraction to men is much more politically acceptable than my attraction to government. Barney Frank
The sequester is stupidity on stilts. David Brooks
Fearing that I am regarded as an obstacle to establishing the Republic on a firm base of happiness, I remove myself from the high office to which you were good enough to elevate me... My one desire has been to contribute to your liberty... The Republic will be happy if, accepting my resignation, you name a president beloved of all the nation... Hear my prayers. Save the Republic. Save my glory, which is Columbia’s. Simon Bolivar
In republics the executive must be strongest because everything conspires against it, while in monarchies the legislature must be strongest, because everything conspires in favour of the monarch Simon Bolivar
It’s tough for Washington to pass complicated legislation. David Brooks
Congressional parties are parochial parties. David Brooks
Someone should put up a chart for Congress showing the difference between millions, billions, and trillions. Our problems are in trillions and Congress is arguing about millions. David Brooks
Talking heads will chatter, argue, and rant on TV and in the houses of Congress but that's all they will do. Weeks and months will go by in which the crowning achievement of Congress may be little more than perhaps passing a bill to declare National Eat Your Spinach Week (sponsored, of course, by the Spinach Growers of America). Rich Turner
In a parliamentary system, the opposition would make an explicit case against the governing party’s policies and hope that voters shift their support in the next election, But in a non-parliamentary system such as ours, a unified opposition can try something different. It can keep those policies from being implemented, often through means that leave few fingerprints. Norman Ornstein
Congress has been pathetic. Not only did it fail to renew the Violence Against Women Act, but it has also stalled on the global version, the International Violence Against Women Act, which would name and shame foreign countries that tolerate gender violence. Nicholas Kristof
You’re going to be respected if you can throw a punch, but you also have to prove you can do a deal. Lindsey Graham
Gerrymandering is not hard. The core technique is to jam voters likely to favor your opponents into a few throwaway districts where the other side will win lopsided victories, a strategy known as “packing.” Arrange other boundaries to win close victories, “cracking” opposition groups into many districts. Sam Wang
If Congress is going to reverse the long slide in corporate tax collection, it will have to make enemies along the way. David Leonhardt
Bright, serious people who understand policy still do run for and serve in the House and Senate, but they are a small minority. Service in Congress is losing its allure. Robert J. Kaiser
Most Congressman voted for or against Dodd-Frank —nearly all along party lines—without any remotely understanding its provisions. Robert J. Kaiser
This notion that members of Congress are power-hungry—absolutely the opposite. Most members like to duck tough issues. Barney Frank
Congress actively undermines the best of legislative practice. Robert J. Kaiser
The men and women who now run for Congress have special features. Most of them are much wealthier than their constituents. Surprisingly few have strong policy interests or experience. Most are willing to spend a day or two or three each week asking strangers for money on the telephone, a demeaning but obligatory exercise. Most have internalized an ethical code that allows them to solicit campaign contributions from people directly affected by legislation they vote on. This is not rare or even unusual — it’s standard Robert J. Kaiser
If we have a mediocre Congress—even when it manages to accomplish something—it is because of the people in it and the culture they have created. Robert J. Kaiser
The biggest downside [for the President] of having the other party control a branch of the Congress is its ability to use investigations and subpoenas as anvils. Maureen Dowd
Senators are a Constitutional impediment to the smooth functioning of staff. Patrick Leahy
It's time to put country ahead of party. It's time to put the next generation ahead of the next election. Barack Obama
Money is influential in Congress, but votes will kick money’s ass any time they come up against each other. Barney Frank
The choreographed standing and clapping of one side of the room - while the other side sits - is unbecoming of a serious institution and the message that it sends is that even on a night when the president is addressing the entire nation, we in Congress cannot sit as one, but must be divided as two. Mark Udall
Too much of our political debate...has become a race to the bottom. An exchange of insults and slanders more appropriate to reality television than a legislature. Jeanne Shaheen
I do not suspect that Jefferson or Madison ever envisioned Congress honoring the 2,560th anniversary of the birth of Confucius or supporting the designation of National Pi Day. Eric Cantor
The banks -- hard to believe in a time when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created -- are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place. Richard Durbin
Stop sending out press releases and start passing some bills... Barack Obama
Now it’s just sharp elbows, and instead of having a caucus where you sit down and say, ‘What are you doing for your country?’ you sit figuring out how to screw the other side. Alan K. Simpson
The powers relating to impeachment are an essential check in the hands of the body of the legislature against and upon the encroachments of the executive. House Judiciary Committee
Senators today are shying away from casting controversial votes on the proposition of any single vote can lead to their defeat. Hill
It’s like volleyball. There are setters and spikers. The chief of staff is a setter, putting the ball in the air so the Senator can spike it. Edward E. Kaufman
The more we do to avoid risk and protect our members from tough votes, the more ineffective and polarized the institution becomes John Boehner
A new Gallup poll shows that only 1 in 10 Americans approve of the job Congress is doing. A 10 percent approval rating is about the same approval rating that rabies has. Jimmy Kimmel
Congress is almost totally dysfunctional right now. All we've done this year and my first year in the Senate ... is barely keep the doors open. Roy Blunt
Legislation is the art of compromise. Harry Reid
We are voting on this measure again so that the new members of the House can have their chance to vote against Obamacare. John Boehner
Drawing forceful distinctions and being civil are not mutually exclusive. New York Times
if we stop talking at one another, and start talking with one another, we can get a lot done. Barack Obama
… triangulation is the idea that you demonstrate to some set of swing voters that you are politically palatable by poking the extremes of both parties in the eye. Daniel Pfeiffer
I don’t think that Wall Street should write its own rules. Tammy Baldwin
[Allen Dulles] was not above misleading Congress or his colleagues or even his commander in chief. Tim Weiner
Politics stops at the water's edge Arthur Hedrick Vandenberg
We have had a continuing problem of the equality of wealth and the power that goes with it. There are other ways of curtailing the power of corporations…. Congress is at fault for not requiring full disclosure of political contributions… Speech is the last thing we should be curtailing. Floyd Abrams
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States shall be, and he is hereby authorized and requested, to cause a survey to be taken of the coasts of the United States, in which shall be designated the islands and shoals, with the roads or places of anchorage, within twenty leagues of any part of the shores of the United States United States Congress
I am a Republican who is prepared to compromise—and contrary to the current misconceptions, compromise is not a capitulation of one’s principles Olympia Snowe
Anybody who covers Washington and Wall Street knows that there is an awesome amount of self-dealing, most of it perfectly legal. David Brooks
What begins in Washington as simple, garden-variety grasping becomes an entitlement, the argument being that the longer the benefit has lived, the more the beneficiaries have built their lives around it, so ending it would be disruptive. George Will
The only law Washington can be counted on to respect: It is the law of dispersed costs but concentrated benefits George Will
We will just have to tell the House that they will have to accept our judgment and we cannot answer a great many questions that might be asked Carl Vinson
The government needs good science, and I’m not willing to abdicate the role of advising the Administration and Congress on [science] policy. Craig Venter
In retrospect, I probably should have avoided some of the controversy and legal setbacks by seeking legislation on military tribunals, the T.S. P., and the CIA enhanced interrogation program as soon as they were created George W. Bush
Reaching consensus has gotten harder. Today, a minority if the minority plays hostage politics. It’s all or nothing politics at its worst. Elizabeth Warren
The framers of our Constitution came up with two major contributions to the art of government. The first was the idea of an executive not dependent on the political support of the legislature. The second was the idea of the judiciary independent of the executive and legislative branches. William Rehnquist
The Constitution requires that Congress treat similarly situated persons similarly William Rehnquist
The filibuster is the most important check on raw Presidential power. Robert Byrd
Most people revere the Constitution but they do not know what is in it. That may be true of many members of Congress. Robert Byrd
To remove or not to remove? That is the question. Robert Byrd
A senator should be held to a higher standard than Joe Six-Pack. Robert Byrd
The easiest votes I ever cast were the votes to cut taxes. The hardest votes I had to cast were to raise taxes. Robert Byrd
Congress is not an ATM Robert Byrd
Congress is not an ATM Robert Byrd
Never have I seen such a monstrous piece of legislation. Without a single committee hearing we are being asked to vote on that 484 pages. They think we will all go along with it. I read in the paper that nobody will have the courage to vote against it. Well, Robert Byrd is going to vote against it because I don't know what I am voting for. Robert Byrd
Time has proved that the Supreme Court’s judgment was wrong on the most outstanding issues upon which it chose to challenge the popular branches Robert Houghwout Jackson
… our representative system has failed. Robert Houghwout Jackson
If the Congress fails then American democracy is dysfunctional. Thomas S. Foley
Inside the institution (Congress) there's a sense of puzzlement that incumbents have a lock.... The members feel they are targeted of a conspiracy, using slick ad techniques and misinformation, to remove them from office, no matter how hard they have worked. Thomas S. Foley
Every member has his own way of sorting out the conflict between personal judgment and constituent opinion. Thomas S. Foley
We don’t have a problem of leadership. We have a problem of followership. Thomas S. Foley
It used to be that your ability to become a chairman of a major committee depended on seniority, what you knew about the subject, and your skill as a legislator, and not it depends on how much money you raise for the party leadership. Robert W. Packwood
The principles of a free constitution are irrevocably lost when the legislative power is dominated by the executive. Edward Gibbon
In this political climate, there is no possibility of passing anything comprehensive. Marco Rubio
It might be well if we could start a slogan "Improve your community by knowing real facts about it" and for the newspapers and magazines particularly I wish we could have a slogan "Do not write good stories based on imagination, write good stories based on facts Eleanor Roosevelt
There is no person in this town who is doing particularly well at the moment when it comes to the opinions of the American people. Barack Obama
Each representative [Congressperson] is naturally going to feel that the problems of his state require special consideration, and it is the duty of the President to keep the balance and try to work out a program which will be beneficial to all and unfair to none. This can't be done unless you see conditions with your own eyes and talk to people in touch with them. Eleanor Roosevelt
I never like to see a guy go to the can. Thomas P. O'Neill
In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives, asking the grounds, reasons, and evidence upon which the police commissioners of Baltimore were arrested and now detained as prisoners at Fort McHenry, I have to state that it is judged to be incompatible with the public interest at this time to furnish the information called for by the resolution. Abraham Lincoln
We cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves.... The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. Abraham Lincoln
The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. . . . We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth. Abraham Lincoln
Things go wrong in America. . . . What cowardice in government and Congress! They are afraid of conscription, of resolute financial steps, of attacks on slavery, of everything that is urgently necessary; they let everything loaf along as it will, and if the semblance of some measure finally gets through Congress, the honorable Lincoln so qualifies it that nothing at all is left of it any longer. Friedrich Engels
Resolved that the United States ought to co-operate with any state which may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such state pecuniary aid, to be used by such state in its discretion, to compensate for the inconveniences public and private, produced by such a change of system. Abraham Lincoln
The House Republicans are not the enemy, they’re the opposition. The Senate is the enemy. Thomas P. O'Neill
I don’t remember. John D. Rockefeller
The only way we can do oversight is if people tell the truth. James Sensenbrenner
We’ve got to have some certainty here. Chuck Hagel
Modern day Americans seem loathe to do the right thing unless it is also the smart thing – even “compassionate release” has to be touted for its cost-saving virtues. Diane McWhorter
The middle in Congress is gone now. That is where we got most things done. Peter Orszag
I can attest to the very real potential for unnecessary pain, suffering, and death when the work of public-health officials is curtailed. David Satcher
I will not compromise with my conscience. I will cast my vote to protect the liberties of our people. Herbert H. Lehman
If you really want to get something done in Washington, it has to be done in a bi-Partisan way. Mark Pryor
I once had considerable expectations from Congress, But since they adopted the fiery resolves of … Massachusetts, all hope of good from them has vanished Charles Inglis
… lobbyist-larded Washington Kevin Phillips
Our country is losing its self-esteem. John D. Rockefeller IV
In our political system it’s easier to block action than to act. Francis Fukuyama
The President will meet with Republicans at any time, but he will not pay the Republicans ransom to get them to do their job. Jay Carney
Oh Lord. Deliver us from the hypocrisy of talking to sound reasonable while not being reasonable. Barry C. Black
The idea of an actual representation of all classes of the people, by persons of each class, is altogether visionary. Unless it were expressly provided in the Constitution, that each different occupation should send one or more members, the thing would never take place in practice. Mechanics and manufacturers will always be inclined, with few exceptions, to give their votes to merchants, in preference to persons of their own professions or trades. Those discerning citizens are well aware that the mechanic and manufacturing arts furnish the materials of mercantile enterprise and industry. Many of them, indeed, are immediately connected with the operations of commerce. They know that the merchant is their natural patron and friend; and they are aware, that however great the confidence they may justly feel in their own good sense, their interests can be more effectually promoted by the merchant than by themselves. They are sensible that their habits in life have not been such as to give them those acquired endowments, without which, in a deliberative assembly, the greatest natural abilities are for the most part useless; and that the influence and weight, and superior acquirements of the merchants render them more equal to a contest with any spirit which might happen to infuse itself into the public councils, unfriendly to the manufacturing and trading interests Alexander Hamilton
A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. Alexander Hamilton
These lawyers, and men of learning, and moneyed men, that talk so finely and gloss over matters so smoothly, to make us poor illiterate people swallow down the pill, expect to get into Congress themselves. They expect to be the managers of this Constitution, and get all the power and all the money into their own hands. And then they will swallow up all of us little folks, like the great Leviathan, Mr. President; yes, just as the whale swallowed up Jonah. This is what I am afraid of.... Amos Singletary
They tell us Congress won't lay dry [direct] taxes upon us, but collect all the money they want by impost [import duties]. I say, there has always been a difficulty about impost.... They won't be able to raise money enough by impost, and then they will lay it on the land and take all we have got. Amos Singletary
In the Israeli system, if the Knesset cannot reach agreement on a budget by the end of the year, one-twelfth of the previous year’s budget is automatically appropriated each month for 6 months. If at the end of 6 months, there is still no agreement, we automatically call new elections. We have never had to call an election. Benjamin Netanyahu
The public must find a way avoid the damage caused by a majority who neither has the ability or the desire to legislate. Louise Slaughter
It’s time to get real. This isn’t a game. People will be hurt by your intransigence. Jim McGovern
Nobody gets to threaten the full faith and credit of the United States just to extract political concessions. Nobody gets to threaten our economy and hurt millions of people just because there are a couple of laws you do not like. Barack Obama
Holy God, you created us for freedom, so keep us from shackling ourselves with the chains of dysfunction …. Lord, deliver us from governing by crisis. Barry C. Black
I never bought a man who wasn’t for sale. Wiliam Andrews Clark
Nobody is afraid of him, and that’s not a good place to be for a president. Todd S. Purdum
The actual form of our present government is simply a scheme of Congressional supremacy. Woodrow Wilson
Everything comes at a price and I’m going to use the debt limit to extract things out of you that I would not otherwise get. John Boehner
Since the 1st World War, U. S. Presidents have 18 times asked the Congress for authority to go to war or use military force. The Presidents have never been turned down by Congress. David Gergen
Defaulting on our [national] debt is defaulting on America. Thomas J. Donahue
We never go against a candidate for one or two votes . You can’t. Thomas J. Donahue
When I was a young boy I used to raise chickens and I was studying to be a preacher. I used to practice preaching to the chickens. Some of those chickens listened to me better than some of my colleagues now in the Congress. John Lewis
Washington has become a permanent feudal class of insiders …those are people who are formally in office, staffers, journalists, hangers on … that becomes self-perpetuating … a Congress in which 42 percent become lobbyists… You have people coming here with no intention of going back to the farm. Tom Coburn
I’m an optimist. If you’re not an optimist, this [Congress] isn’t the job for you. Jeb Hensarling
Not every Congressionally declared war will be remembered as a “good war”, but few if any Presidentially declared wars, if any, will ever be. David C. Unger
I’m going to keep on working to get rid of the sequester. You get up and do your jobs every day; let’s make sure Washington gets up and does its job. And what makes me frustrated is sometimes the very folks who say they stand with our military proudly are the same ones who are standing in the way of fixing the sequester. It’s important to look at deeds and not words. Barack Obama
the high moral ones cost more because they give tone to a measure. Mark Twain
The 113th Congress has spent much of the year doing nothing but collecting campaign contributions … Brian McFadden
If I could solve these problems with passing laws in the Congress, I would do so. Barack Obama
Until the day I die, I am going to make my body a bridge so that somebody can run across it. Kweisi Mfume
Imagine where we would be if Congress had accepted George W. Bush’s privatization plan. The part of Social Security siphoned off to private accounts would have suffered the market’s losses, and recipients would have been forced to live off of basic benefits substantially lower than Social Security presently is. James K. Galbraith
Putting the principle of liberty into practice requires institutions: functional legislatures, government bureaucracies, and full-fledged legal system with police, lawyers, prosecutors, and impartial judges…. And the relevant institutions must be firmly anchored in values: people must believe in the importance of protecting … zones of social and civic life from state interference. Michael Mandelbaum
As recently as the 1960s, dozens of members of Congress frequently crossed the aisle to vote with a majority in the other party. Now there is only a handful of such moderates and they are a dying breed. Jordan Tama
Overall, Congress is dysfunctional, partisan, and polarized, and it isn’t getting anything done. We need commissions to break out of divisive partisanship. Frank R. Wolf
It is easy to scoff at the prestigious commissions that constantly sprout in Washington as empty exercises in buck passing—until you take stock of all they have accomplished. Jordan Tama
The reason I know it [our economy] is strong is that it has survived Congress. If the economy can survive Congress, I am confident that it will thrive eventually. Al Green
And when the guy [politician] says “Yes, I took money, but it didn’t influence my vote”? Oh, come on. The company that’s giving you the money thinks it is going to influence the vote. Why else would they give you the money? Michael Bloomberg
More than any other U. S. President, Theodore Roosevelt permanently transformed the position of Chief Executive…. What had been largely an administrative position subordinate in many ways to Congress, grew into the locus of policy making and the office everyone looked to for leadership on issues large and small. David Greenberg
… despite widespread popular unhappiness with the direction of national politics and a Congress with the lowest approval ratings on record, the highly partisan and deeply polarized American electorate opted collectively for the political status quo in 2012. Gary C. Jacobson
To get on an important [Congressional] committee, a member has to raise a certain amount of money per election cycle. If he does not, he will be dropped from the committee. Both parties actually have a formal price tag for that they call A, B and C committees. Peter Schweizer
Members of Congress can not only benefit corporations, but also they can hurt corporations. This gives them the opportunity to extort funds from moneyed interests. Peter Schweizer
We need to focus, not only the buyers of influence, but also on the sellers of influence. Peter Schweizer
The rules are written in Washington DC by members of Congress so as to benefit themselves. Peter Schweizer
When a member of Congress has a leadership PAC, he can be legally bribed by making donations to the PAC because when the member of Congress retires or is voted out of office, he is allowed to use the leadership PAC money that remains for his and his family’s personal expenses. Peter Schweizer
Saxby Chambliss spent over $100,000 of leadership PAC money to play golf…. Even after a politician leaves office he can use leadership PAC money to enhance his lifestyle….The irony is that the leadership PAC concept was intended to help other members of the party to get elected to office. Peter Schweizer

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