Welcome back to the Weekly QuizCap. This week, Democrats take back the House, a division that hasn’t happened since Ronald Reagan, and debt worldwide.
The results are in and this year’s midterms turned out about how most pundits expected. The Democrats control the House and the Republicans maintained the Senate. When was the last time there was a Democratic House, a Republican Senate and Republican White House?
During that session, Congress passed and President Ronald Reagan signed the Gramm–Rudman–Hollings Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, the first binding spending constraints on the federal budget. They also passed the most sweeping reorganization of the Department of Defense with the Goldwater-Nichols Act. They also passed the Tax Reform Act of 1986, a major simplification of the tax code. Hopefully, the upcoming 116th Congress can replicate their fiscal conscience and reform minded legislating.
This means we are back to a divided government. Over the last 100 years, how many years have been unified government (meaning one party controls the House, Senate and White House) versus divided government?
49 of the last 100 years have been divided government. Over that century, Republicans have had unified government 18 years and Democrats have had unified government for 33 years.
With election day over, the voter turnout statistics are starting to roll in. How many people voted in this year’s midterm election?
An estimated 113 million Americans voted on Tuesday, making it the first midterm in history to exceed 100 million votes. Great job, America!
The U.S. saw a record number of Americans vote early, including 3.3 million Americans aged 18-29. How much of an increase was early voting for this group compared to 2014?
Almost a 200% increase! According to exit polls, young Americans aged 18-29 will make up around 13 percent of the electorate this year, up from 11 percent in the 2014 midterm election.
Dipping into the civic illiterate section of the quiz, there have been some concerns that Republicans gained multiple seats in the Senate despite losing the “popular vote.” Democrats received about 55 percent of the votes cast in Senate elections on Tuesday. What percentage of the seats up for election did they win?
Out of the 35 Senate seats up for election on Tuesday, Democrats won 23 of them and it's possible they could win one or two more (Arizona and/or Florida). So even if the Senate popular vote was a thing (it's not), Democrats won above the proportion of seats than the vote - even with California having two Democrats competing for the Senate seat on the ballot.
As the 115th Congress comes to an end, how many times was the government ‘shutdown’ in 2018?
In mid-January, Senate Democrats filibustered a stopgap funding bill over immigration and the fate of the Dreamers that led to the first shutdown. Then, less than a month later, the government shutdown for the second time - though it only lasted 9 hours. That shutdown culminated with the passage of the $400 Bipartisan Budget Act. With a December 7th deadline to pass seven more appropriations bills and a possible border wall fight in the mix, there's still potential for another one before this session wraps up.
With Democrats taking control of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is likely to become the next Speaker of the House. How many Speakers have served over the past 229 years?
The House has elected a new Speaker 124 times since 1789, 32 of them serving multiple terms. If elected Speaker, this will be Pelosi’s second stint.
Who was the longest serving Speaker?
While Tip O'Neill had the longest uninterrupted time as speaker, serving for a decade, Sam Rayburn served on three separate occasions between 1940 and 1961 - serving for 17 years total.
While we focus a lot on the dangers of federal debt in America, debt has also been wreaking havoc on other countries. Which country went to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) requesting a bailout last month?
The recently elected Prime Minister of Pakistan announced they are turning to the IMF for a loan to bridge their $20 billion financing gap. Pakistan has already been taking massive loans from China and Saudi Arabia. Losing sovereignty because you are beholden to your creditors. Not a good look…
Pakistan isn’t the only country blowing up their debt. How much debt is there worldwide?
That is up $150 trillion over the last 15 years. Too many economies are built like a House of Cards. This could get ugly.
What did Congress do this week to address our $21 trillion national debt and runaway long-term debt outlook?
Though the American people sent in a new set of Congressmen that will hopefully take a new perspective than the last one. Last month alone the federal government spent $98 billion more than it took in. It's time for some ch-ch-ch-changes!