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It’s official, Zombie Congress is our only hope to stop fiscal cliff

September 21, 2012

Today, Representative Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland, Minority Whip) spoke from the floor of the House:

this 112th congress convulses to an ugly end of it’s time before the national elections. All of us must be sad, and the American people are angry and sad that this Congress has been so inattentive to the needs of the American people. Mr. Speaker today House Republicans are leaving town and will not return until after the November elections.

It’s official. Congress is over until elections. No more votes. And so an upcoming post-election Zombie Congress coined by Rep. Jim Cooper will be the last stand against Sequester Taxmagaddedon (the across the board cuts considered horrible for everyone including defense department). If a compromise is not reached, we go over the fiscal cliff (like Thelma and Louise did).

So who is this Zombie Congress? Wikipedia helps make it easier to identify these undead policy makers. See United States House of Representatives elections, 2012:

Retiring incumbents

Forty incumbents are retiring.

Democrats

Twenty-one Democrats are retiring.

Arkansas’s 4th congressional district: Mike Ross[1]
California’s 6th congressional district: Lynn Woolsey[2]
California’s 51st congressional district: Bob Filner: To run for Mayor of San Diego.[3]
Connecticut’s 5th congressional district: Chris Murphy: To run for the U.S. Senate.[4]
Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district: Mazie Hirono: To run for the U.S. Senate.[5]
Illinois’s 12th congressional district: Jerry Costello[6]
Indiana’s 2nd congressional district: Joe Donnelly: To run for the U.S. Senate.[7]
Massachusetts’s 1st congressional district: John Olver[8]
Massachusetts’s 4th congressional district: Barney Frank[9]
Michigan’s 5th congressional district: Dale Kildee[10]
Nevada’s 1st congressional district: Shelley Berkley: To run for the U.S. Senate.[11]
New Mexico’s 1st congressional district: Martin Heinrich: To run for the U.S. Senate.[12]
New York’s 5th congressional district: Gary Ackerman[13]
New York’s 8th congressional district: Edolphus Towns[14]
New York’s 22nd congressional district: Maurice Hinchey[15]
North Carolina’s 11th congressional district: Heath Shuler[16]
North Carolina’s 13th congressional district: Brad Miller[17]
Oklahoma’s 2nd congressional district: Dan Boren[18]
Texas’s 20th congressional district: Charlie Gonzalez[19]
Washington’s 6th congressional district: Norman Dicks[20]
Wisconsin’s 2nd congressional district: Tammy Baldwin: To run for the U.S. Senate.[21]

Republicans

Nineteen Republicans are retiring.

Arizona’s 6th congressional district: Jeff Flake: To run for the U.S. Senate.[22]
California’s 2nd congressional district: Wally Herger[23]
California’s 24th congressional district: Elton Gallegly[24]
California’s 26th congressional district: David Dreier[25]
California’s 41st congressional district: Jerry Lewis[26]
Florida’s 14th congressional district: Connie Mack IV: To run for the U.S. Senate.[27]
Illinois’s 15th congressional district: Tim Johnson[28]
Indiana’s 5th congressional district: Dan Burton[29]
Indiana’s 6th congressional district: Mike Pence: To run for Governor of Indiana.[30]
Missouri’s 2nd congressional district: Todd Akin: To run for the U.S. Senate.[31]
Michigan’s 11th congressional district: Thaddeus McCotter: failed to make the ballot for renomination due to fraudulent signatures.[32]
Montana’s At-large congressional district: Denny Rehberg: To run for the U.S. Senate.[33]
New York’s 9th congressional district: Bob Turner: To run for the U.S. Senate.[34]
North Carolina’s 9th congressional district: Sue Myrick[35]
North Dakota’s At-large congressional district: Rick Berg: To run for the U.S. Senate.[36]
Ohio’s 7th congressional district: Steve Austria[37]
Ohio’s 14th congressional district: Steve LaTourette[38]
Pennsylvania’s 19th congressional district: Todd Russell Platts[39]
Texas’s 14th congressional district: Ron Paul: To run for U.S. President.[40]

Incumbents defeated

Due to redistricting, many incumbents are forced to compete against each other in the same district, which will result in a higher than usual number of incumbents being defeated in primaries.
In primary elections

Thirteen representatives lost renomination: Eight were lost in redistricting battles pitting incumbents against each other, and five incumbents lost nomination to non-incumbent challengers. Additionally, one failed to make the ballot for renomination.
Democrats

Seven Democrats lost renomination: five in redistricting and two to a non-incumbent challenger.

Michigan’s 13th congressional district: Hansen Clarke (first elected in 2010): redistricted and defeated August 7, 2012 by fellow incumbent Gary Peters
Missouri’s 1st congressional district: Russ Carnahan (first elected in 2004): redistricted and defeated August 7, 2012 by fellow incumbent William Lacy Clay, Jr.
New Jersey’s 9th congressional district: Steve Rothman (first elected in 1996): redistricted and defeated June 5, 2012 by fellow incumbent Bill Pascrell
Ohio’s 9th congressional district: Dennis Kucinich (first elected in 1996): redistricted and defeated March 6, 2012 by fellow incumbent Marcy Kaptur
Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district: Jason Altmire (first elected in 2006): redistricted and defeated April 24, 2012 by fellow incumbent Mark Critz[41]
Pennsylvania’s 17th congressional district: Tim Holden (first elected in 1992): defeated April 24, 2012 by challenger Matt Cartwright[41]
Texas’s 16th congressional district: Silvestre Reyes (first elected in 1996): defeated May 29, 2012 by challenger Beto O’Rourke[42]

Republicans

Six Republicans lost renomination: three in redistricting and three to a non-incumbent challenger.

Arizona’s 6th congressional district: Ben Quayle (first elected in 2010): redistricted and defeated August 28, 2012 by fellow incumbent David Schweikert
Florida’s 3rd congressional district: Cliff Stearns (first elected in 1988): defeated August 14, 2012 by challenger Ted Yoho
Florida’s 7th congressional district: Sandy Adams (first elected in 2010): redistricted and defeated August 14, 2012 by fellow incumbent John Mica
Illinois’s 16th congressional district: Don Manzullo (first elected in 1992): redistricted and defeated March 20, 2012 by fellow incumbent Adam Kinzinger
Ohio’s 2nd congressional district: Jean Schmidt (first elected in 2005): defeated March 6, 2012 by challenger Brad Wenstrup
Oklahoma’s 1st congressional district: John A. Sullivan (first elected in 2002): defeated June 26, 2012 by challenger Jim Bridenstine.

And then there’s still the elections. All 435 seats of the House of Representatives (first time under the new 2010 census redistricting) and 33 Senate seats are up for grabs. Anyone that loses will be added to the list of zombie congress. And the whole group of dead and undead politicians will have to figure out how to stop the Sequester. And not just the Sequester, maybe the Farms Bill and some judicial confirmations, or Jobs bill?!??! ya know, the stuff a living Congress is supposed to do; but in this dysfunctional world we need zombies to get things done… bootstrapping our way through history.

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