The current congressional leaders have realized that giving lawmakers the chance to fund projects for their communities back home is actually a great way to get votes for legislation. Below is information about the earmarks in the $1.5 trillion government spending bill signed by President Biden.

There were nearly 5,000 earmarks totaling $9 billion included in that bill.

  • 3,682 earmarks totaling $5 billion – Democrats
  • 1,014 earmarks totaling $3.4 billion – Republicans
  • 266 earmarks totaling $609 million – Bipartisan

Approval of the Congress is down roughly 10% from where it was a year ago and disapproval is up a similar amount.

Approve Disapprove
Real Clear Pol. 5/3/22 24.2% 66.0%
Real Clear Pol. 3/2/22 21.8% 67.8%
Real Clear Pol. 2/1/22 21.0% 67.2%
Real Clear Pol. 12/21/21 23.0% 65.8%
Real Clear Pol. 11/30/21 22.2% 68.6%
Real Clear Pol. 10/12/21 25.0% 65.8%
Real Clear Pol. 9/1/21 28.5% 60.3%
Real Clear Pol. 8/3/21 31.4% 59.6%
Real Clear Pol. 6/15/21 28.8% 60.5%
Real Clear Pol. 5/18/21 35.0% 56.3%
Real Clear Pol. 5/4/21 36.3% 55.5%

Americans are split 46% to 46% as to whether they prefer a Congress controlled by Republicans or Democrats. [NBCNews 5/10/22]

The House of Representatives

Washington Watch uses the Cook Political Report for its report on elections in the U.S. House of Representatives.


  • Democrats – 221 seats
  • Republicans – 209 seats
  • Vacancies – 5 seats

As of April 5, 2022, there are currently 48 seats in which House incumbents have announced they are not running for re-election because they are either running for another office or retiring. 18 of those seats are currently held by Republicans and 30 by Democrats.

The dates have now been set for the special election to fill the seat of Congressman Don Young who, at the time of his death, was the longest serving Republican member of the House of Representatives: June 11 and August 16.

51 people have filed to be on the ballot for the June 11th special election to serve out the balance of this year.

The top four candidates of the June 11th election will face off on August 16, 2022, the primary date for the November general election. For the first time, Alaska will use Ranked Choice Voting this year.

One of the most well-known candidates is Sarah Palin, former governor, and former vice-presidential candidate

The Senate

[WW uses Jessica Taylor of the Cook Political Report and Inside Elections for the Senate chart below. When those two organizations do not agree, WW uses Sabato as a tie breaker.]

  • Republicans – 50
  • Democrats – 48
  • Independents – 2

Six U.S. Senators are retiring from public office; 1 Democrat and 5 Republicans. None are running for other office.

Democrats Republicans Independent
Seats not up in 2022 34 30 2
Safe in 2022 9 14  
  Padilla Murkowski  
  AL – open  
  Blumenthal Boozman  
  Schatz Grassley  
  Duckworth Crapo  
  Van Hollen Young  
  Schumer Moran  
  Wyden Paul  
  Open (Leahy) Kennedy  
  Murray Hoeven  
Likely 1 3  
  Bennet Rubio  
    MO – open  
    OH – open  
Lean 1 1  
  Hassan NC – open  
Toss Up 3 1  
  Cortez Masto Johnson  
Warnock PA – open

Vice President Kamala Harris is the 49th Vice President of the United States. She has now cast 18 tie breaking votes in the Senate. Only 3 Vice Presidents, have cast more tie breaking votes – all of them in office before 1849; John C. Calhoun – 31 tie breakers, John Adams – 29 tie breakers, and George M. Dallas – 19 tie breakers.

Schuyler Colfax (in office 1869-73) also cast 18 tie breakers. [Wikipedia]