Friday, November 05, 2010

The Empty Chamber of the U.S. Senate

I was watching the program "Need to Know" on PBS tonight, and happened across a segment that I felt was quite telling of the state of the U.S. Congress right now. I've often mentioned to friends that our own congress needs to be quite a bit more like the British House of Parliament, where they have 'lively' debate, and have what is spoken contested or answered on the spot.

The reality is that most debate in the U.S. Senate, for example, is just a hand-full of people for the benefit of the C-SPAN cameras and the public record. But otherwise there isn't actually a room full of Senators listening to debate or speeches on the legislation that is being discussed. No...Senators (and Representatives too) are all too busy to participate in that kind of wasting of time, otherwise know as discussion about a bill they will need to vote on.

George Packer from the New Yorker shares his thoughts and experiences with the U.S. Senate:

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.



Click here to watch this segment on PBS.org