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Guess When Things Were Like This In Your Lifetime....Before 2015-2016?

Updated on April 1, 2016

When were these the top issues leading into a presidential election?

In November of a year before a presidential election these were the top issues: (1) increasing the debt ceiling, (2) campaign finance reform and political action committees, (3) terrorism, (4) curbs on federal wiretapping powers, and (5) moves to have the Justice Department account for its handling of an investigation involving Hillary Clinton.

We should pause here and give you time to think of when these would have been the top issues leading into a presidential election year that was not November 2015.

Here are some hints

(1) The national debt was $4.9 trillion dollars.

(2) A leader in Congress had promised the sitting president he would set up a bipartisan committee to examine reforming campaign finance, to include examining the campaign contributions from individuals and political action committees.

(3) In the wake of a horrific terrorist bombing the president had supported an anti-terrorism bill passed by the Senate.

(4) A group in the House of Representatives was trying to put limits on the government's wiretapping powers and bar U. S. aid to foreign governments supporting terrorists.

(5) A Senate committee had just grilled Hillary Clinton's chief of Staff and was preparing to hold hearings on the Justice Department's handling of the department's initial investigation.

The Answer

The date was November 13, 1995 when the magazine "U.S. News & World Report" ran a section headed "Eye On Congress" which listed those as current issues the Congress was dealing with.

The federal debt was climbing to the $4.9 trillion dollar level and Congress wanted some promises from Bill Clinton before raising the debt ceiling further.

The House Speaker was Newt Gingrich and he was proposing a commission to reform campaign financing which would have 16 members equally divided between Democrats and Republicans.

The Oklahoma City bombing had spurred Congress with Bill Clinton's support to pass a wide-ranging bill including provisions for deporting terrorism suspects. Action by the House was bogged down by such unlikely partners as the National Rifle Association and the American Civil Liberties Union concerned that the Senate bill would give too much power to the federal government.

A Senate committee had just grilled a close friend of Hillary Clinton (Susan Thomasses) and Hillary's chief of staff (Maggie Williams) about their phone calls to each other possibly related to controlling federal investigators looking into White House lawyer Vince Foster's apparent suicide. Meanwhile congressional hearings were continuing on the Justice Department's efforts to get to the bottom of the Whitewater investigation.

Swiftly go the days!



Does it surprise you that 20 years later the 2016 discussions seem strikingly similar?

See results


© 2016 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.


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    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 16 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      It has been 8 months since this Hub. The dust is ever so slowly settling. Now that it appears one party will control all three branches of the government of the USA, is it likely that finally things will get tackled and done in Washington, DC? Or, will we look back 20 years from now, as this Hub did. and find things so much the same?

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Just business as usual, but I like your approach to this article. Nothing has really changed since the 1992 election that resulted in William Jefferson Clinton and his husband Hilary moving into the oval office. We even had a viable non-establishment candidate in that election who was ultimately destroyed. Great hub!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      The coincidences would be strange, but the problems are cyclic because the politicians start out young and have to die off. Seems like we always have gridlock, then we unduly gripe about it. When the president is a Democrat, we elect a Republican Congress, and when the president is a Republican, we elect a Democrat Congress. Could this be subconscious creative controls so we won't let one party run away with the country?

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 2 years ago from Auburn, WA

      Interesting hub. When the GOP took over Congress, they let revenge consume them, instead of focusing on bigger issues. They eventually got stuff done but not enough.