US Capitol (Source: Wiki Commons)
US Capitol (Source: Wiki Commons)

By Katherine Terrell | LSU Student

National Public Radio congressional correspondent Andrea Seabrook says she has never seen in her nearly decade of covering Congress a governing body so divided, adding that no member wants to discuss the state of the federal budget.

Seabrook said 2011's debt ceiling crisis typifies the paralyzing standoff. Democrats and Republicans could not agree on a solution and nearly defaulted on its loans which, in turn, caused the nation's credit rating to be downgraded, she said.

That was the moment NPR made the editorial decision to cover Congress as a dysfunctional body, she said.

Politics have become so partisan, Seabrook said, that focus of coverage has shifted almost exclusively to the problems within Congress instead of what Congress is doing

"We talk a lot about politics, a lot about bickering, and a lot about what lawmakers say, and a lot less about what they actually do with their time."

She shared her experiences Friday evening at LSU as part of WRKF's Distinguished Speaker Series, which partnered with LSU's Manship School of Mass Communications and Southern University.

Seabrook said Congress has stopped talking about the budget in favor of bickering over issues such as gay marriage, contraception and foreign aid.

"They talk about almost anything else frankly, that's immaterial to the future of this country, compared to this giant black hole that is sitting in the middle of the room. It's mind boggling that we have a presidential election going on, and very little talk about this issue."