By Editor-in-chief
updated 1/3/2007 10:29:46 AM ET 2007-01-03T15:29:46

With a Democratic-controlled Congress opening for business this week, voters have a long list of problems they want fixed – Iraq, health care, immigration, global warming, jobs, education and many more.

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But the biggest problem may be Congress itself, and a political system that doesn’t seem relevant, accountable or productive. Democrats and Republicans alike want reform.

“Clearly, the No. 1 priority needs to be Congress cleaning its own house,” wrote “Rjr62” at the issues-based community “… If Congress does not show any movement toward reforming the way they do things, toward policing themselves and adopting a legitimate code of ethics wholeheartedly, they will find themselves in a bit of a pickle. Anything else they do will be looked at with a jaundiced eye. They need to restore trust and respectability.”

Nobody is doing the people’s business, not even the media, according to writers at, a site consisting largely of grassroots opinion leaders. “No more waste.  Not one penny of my tax money wasted.  A congressman breaks the law?  Put him/her in jail,” wrote “Trackboy1,” a new community member.  “The public needs to have a better way to see how our tax money is spent.  Not one mainstream media outlet does a good job covering this.  Why?  It's tedious and complex.  They won't spend the money when they can cover Paris Hilton and still get ratings. Checks and balances no longer exist.”

House Democrats plan to launch their new regime with a 100-hour blitz of legislation including bills to raise the minimum wage, expand stem cell research, lower interest rates on student loans and impose new ethics rules on members of Congress. What do voters think? Some samples:

  • “The new Democratic Congress is in a horrible spot as far as the war goes. They campaigned on ending the war, which they can't realistically do,” wrote “Dorsk188.”
  • “The (Democrats) should responsibly investigate, investigate, investigate. Let’s get to the bottom of this Iraq mess and put it to bed. I think the electorate and the rest of the American public fully realizes that something stinks with this Iraq adventure and its initiation. Get it over with in a non-partisan manner, if possible, and be done with it. And while we're doing this, bring our troops home,” wrote “Oldie.”
  • “To immediately pass legislation financing scholarships for the study of Arabic, Farsi, and Mandarin Chinese, and the cultures where these languages are spoken, with the recipients being required to work for the State Department for 4 years upon graduation. After that, get busy looking at the Massachusetts health insurance plan to see if it is a viable national fix,” wrote “wamoshii.”
  • “Perhaps Congress needs a special "retreat" session to discuss why the American people deserve the blessings of liberty, that Congress has consistently secured for themselves. In other words, they should be discussing how to give "The People" the same "life-securities" that they've obviously secured for themselves. If the "blessings" of liberty and security are not possible for everyone, it shouldn't be had by anyone. Besides, if a parent would do without to provide for the children, why shouldn't a country's leadership?” wrote Kolt4JC.”

Join the conversation and give Congress your priorities at

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