Biden: "Washington Right Now Is Broken"

VP says he hears the critics

By Jim Iovino
|  Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010  |  Updated 4:55 PM EDT
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Biden: "Washington Right Now Is Broken"

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Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday morning that "Washington right now is broken," but he wasn't talked about the crippling blizzard that left the District in shambles.

Biden told the CBS "Early Show" that the country is in "deep trouble" unless it attacks ballooning federal deficits.

Asked about the political climate across the country, Biden said in the nationally broadcast interview that "we understand why they're angry. ... We get it."   And speaking of intense partisanship in the Capitol, Biden said that "I've never seen it this dysfunctional."

He said the message coming from the stunning Republican upset in the recent Massachusetts election was, "Hey guys, get your act together. Get something going."

Biden isn't the only one who thinks this way. On Monday Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) said he wasn't going to seek re-election, and blamed it on partisan politics in Washington.

“For some time, I have had a growing conviction that Congress is not operating as it should,” Bayh said. “There is too much partisanship and not enough progress -- too much narrow ideology and not enough practical problem-solving. Even at a time of enormous challenge, the people’s business is not being done.”

His stunning announcement led many to concur -- something they've probably wanted to do but didn't have the guts to say in public.

But now, the sentiments are flowing.

“I used to think it would take a global financial crisis to get both parties to the table, but we just had one,” G. William Hoagland, who was a fiscal policy adviser to Senate Republican leaders and a witness to past bipartisan budget summits, told the New York Times. “These days I wonder if this country is even governable.”

Of course, this frustration with partisan politics in Washington isn't new. Bill Bradley, like Bayh, didn't seek re-election 15 years ago due to the same thing.

But with an enormous deficit and a stagnant economy, things aren't going to fix themselves anytime soon.

So will this newfound call for cooperation change things? Probably not.

But if they don't, Washington won't have to worry about whether snow is shutting down Capitol Hill. There doesn't seem to be much actual work going on there anyway.

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