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Rogers: Gridlock in Washington is ‘exasperating’

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saxe County) believes many lawmakers are more interested in getting attention on cable TV news and on social media than they are in passing good legislation.

Rogers, who serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, discussed the gridlock in Washington during a recent appearance on Alabama Public Television's “Capitol Journal.”

“It's infuriating beyond words,” Rogers said. “When I started in 2002, we were still passing bills. In fact, we wrote appropriations bills. We have 12 bills, and we pass all 12 bills individually and on time every year. That hasn't been the case since 2010. Now it's always a package. We're the only standing committee now that passes authorization bills. All of those bills are frozen in this gridlock. It's infuriating.”

The congressman blamed social media's current incentive structure for some of the problems in the political process today.

“It's my opinion that the real root of this problem is cable television and social media,” he argued. “On cable television, you have all these different cable news networks that are so-called news but are really opinion networks, and they pick a business model that suits a certain demographic and they pander to that and they keep baiting it to keep the viewers tuned in.

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“And that in itself creates animosity. And on social media, they're just buying gas and pushing it onto the buyers.”

Rogers said one of the main reasons politicians want more attention online is because that's where much of their fundraising now comes from.

“We have some members whose only way of raising money is online,” he said, “and the way they raise money online is by doing something crazy in front of a camera, whether it's in a committee room or whatever, and then tweeting it and raising small donors. And they've raised a tremendous amount of money doing that.”

He also acknowledged that the problems created by social media probably aren't going away anytime soon.

“So the answer is I don't know,” he said. “I don't think social media or cable TV networks are going away anytime soon, but they really distort the process.”

Yaffe is a contributing writer for Yellow Hammer News and hosts “The Yaffe Program” weekdays from 9-11 a.m. WhistlerYou can follow us on Twitter @Yaffe

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