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Why Can’t Congress Just Get Along?47:22

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Former Indiana Republican Senator Richard Lugar spent 36 years in office. Now he’s judging the current Congress and US policy. He joins us.

The U.S. Capitol is illuminated at night as the Senate continues to work late, Friday, May 22, 2015, on Capitol Hill as a pile of important bills await action. (AP)
The U.S. Capitol is illuminated at night as the Senate continues to work late, Friday, May 22, 2015, on Capitol Hill as a pile of important bills await action. (AP)

The mess in the US Senate over the weekend on the USA PATRIOT Act and mass surveillance was an unusual example of bipartisanship. But only in the sense that both party’s ranks were scrambled and divided on what to do. In general, Capitol Hill remains in a deep freeze of polarization, parties battling, paralysis. Longtime US Senator from Indiana Dick Lugar says it needs to end. Lugar, a Republican, lost to a Tea Party primary challenger in 2012. But he’s still watching. The votes. The NSA. Russian nukes. And his onetime colleagues. This hour On Point: Dick Lugar on how to unfreeze Congress.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Dustin Volz, tech policy correspondent for the National Journal. (@dnvolz)

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), former US Senator for the state of Indiana. Founder and president of the Lugar Center. (@TheLugarCenter)

From Tom’s Reading List

National Journal: The Patriot Act Just Expired. Here's What Happens Now. -- "The Senate packed up Sunday evening without extending the expiring surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act, meaning that—for now, at least—the U.S. intelligence community is without tools that it says are vital to national security, including the National Security Agency's bulk collection of U.S. call data."

USA Today: New analysis shows an increasingly partisan Congress — "Members of Congress are working across the aisle on legislation less often than they used to, according to a new measure that supports other assessments of increasing partisanship in Congress."

Roll Call: Reviving the Lost Art of Bipartisanship — "Political wrangling in Washington is as old as the Republic itself, and partisan battles over ideas and power will surely be with us long into the future. But the current era of hyper-partisanship has frequently paralyzed congressional decision-making and led both Republicans and Democrats to fail the most basic tests of governance."

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