The Fix: Think the 113th Congress was bad? Just wait.

The emails of WaPo’s chief Congressional reporter Paul Kane are legendary. Witty and informative, PK’s emails tell you how Capitol Hill really works. In an attempt to show that to Fix readers, every month or so PK and I have an email exchange about a topic on our minds — and publish it. This week, we tackled what the 113th Congress meant and whether any of the rising stars in either party will stick around Congress long enough to become legends.

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The Fix: Americans think we’re in a recession. They’re wrong. But still…

We here at The Fix love polls — love, love, love them. We write about them frequently because they are the best way to quantitatively examine the American electorate. On-the-ground reporting is vital, but polling, more than anything, allows us a 30,000-foot view.

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Kaine: If Congress doesn’t authorize military action, ‘we will have created a horrible precedent’

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) intensified his calls for Congress to debate the authorization of expanded U.S. military operations in the Middle East Tuesday: failing to take up the issue later this fall, he said, would essentially be an endorsement of the Cheney Doctrine of preemptive war they’d once rejected.

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In the Loop: Scott Brown posed nude for Cosmo, but doesn’t get magazine’s vote

To all aspiring politicians pondering the age-old question, “Should I pose nude in a international women’s magazine?” Yes, you can still have a career after. No, the editors cannot guarantee their support when you run for office 30 years later.

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Federal Eye: Identity theft cost the IRS $5 billion last year. Here’s what Congress can do.

Identity thieves stole an estimated $5.2 billion from the Internal Revenue Service last year, helped by the fact that the agency lacked timely information to detect fraudulent filings, according to federal auditors.

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People used to be able to walk into the White House. Legally.

Getting onto the White House grounds is not easy, even when you have an appointment to be there. It is likely to get even more difficult as the U.S. Secret Service weighs options to keep tourists and others farther away from the executive mansion in the wake of an unprecedented security breach Friday where a man jumped a fence surrounding the complex and entered the White House, where he was arrested.

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The new ‘kissing congressman’ ad takes a page from the Mark Sanford playbook

Embattled Rep. Vance McAllister’s wife is coming to his defense in a new TV ad.

The commercial, the Louisiana Republican’s first in his uphill bid for reelection, features the congressman and his wife appearing to allude to the kissing scandal that became a national story earlier this year without mentioning any specifics.

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The Fix: Since 1978, Congress has worked a full week 14 percent of the time

Of the 13,000-plus days since Jan. 1, 1978, both chambers of Congress have been in session at the same time for about 4,700 of them — about a third of the total time and a little fewer than half of all weekdays. The Senate has worked more than the House, having been in session about 42 percent of the time to the House’s 39 percent.

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Federal Eye: Patent official says fraudulent time is ‘unacceptable’ and will be met with ‘disciplinary action’

The head of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office told all agency employees on Friday that time and attendance fraud is “unacceptable” and will be met with disciplinary action, an about-face from a morale-boosting voice-mail message she left on their office phones in August, a day after The Washington Post reported on fraudulent practices.

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READ IN: Kilt-Lifter Edition

Don’t forget to sign up for Read In, your daily must-read on what’s happening in politics, inside the Beltway and beyond!

A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.

Voters in Scotland on Thursday opted to stay with the United Kingdom by a wide 55 percent to 45 percent margin, after a heated and divisive campaign over independence. Most electoral districts reported turnout north of 80 percent. Pro-independence leader Alex Salmond said he would hold British leaders accountable for promises they made in the closing days of the campaign, when they offered Scotland more autonomy if the union held. (Washington Post) Only four of 32 constituencies voted for independence. Full election results at The Scotsman and the Daily Record.

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House conservatives say they want vote on Syria AUMF

Calling for a more “humble” foreign policy, Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Id.) — a leader among the more conservative wing of the House GOP — called Thursday for the GOP to be cautious and deliberate before authorizing any further use of force by President Obama in dealing with the Islamic State.

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Hillary Clinton: Congress living in an ‘evidence-free zone’

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton said Thursday that Congress is alarmingly detached from the lives of everyday Americans and encouraged people to turn policy ideas into political movements.

“The Congress, increasingly, despite the best efforts of my friends and others, is living in an evidence-free zone where what the reality is in the lives of Americans is so far from the minds of too many,” said Clinton.

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Ukrainian President Poroshenko asks Congress for military support

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko asked Congress Thursday to provide more assistance, including military equipment, to aid his government’s fight against Russian-backed separatists.

“I urge America to help us rise and be equal to its natural and manifest role — I urge America to lead the way,” Poroshenko told a joint session of Congress.

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The Fix: Debbie Wasserman Schultz is in trouble. Her consolation? She’ll likely have a soft landing.

If the long-running rumors are, at last, true, Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) may be on her way out. This is according to a deeply unflattering report from Politico — which, we must note, is similar to a less-deeply-unflattering report Politico published in 2012. But there are a variety of reasons to think that this time it’s more likely.

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House approves Obama’s Iraq-Syria military strategy amid skepticism

More businesses are closing than starting. Can Congress help turn that around?

Americans are starting fewer businesses, new companies are going out of business more quickly, and the new firms that do get off the ground are creating fewer jobs.

None of that bodes very well for an economy still trying to find its footing.

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In the Loop: A House divided over Scottish independence

Like the Scots themselves, members of Congress are split over Scotland’s future.

At the start of the August recess, House lawmakers introduced a resolution expressing support for a “united, secure, and prosperous United Kingdom.”

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The Fix: The Daily Show noticed that Lindsey Graham is not a fan of understatement

When Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) went on “Fox News Sunday” this weekend, he spoke about the Obama administration’s current plan to fight the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL: “Our strategy will fail yet again. This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed here at home.”

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Federal Eye: More fallout from VA, IRS scandals hitting federal employees

Legislators are pushing this week to leave Washington for the campaign trail, but they are taking the time to revisit two scandals, in the Department of Veterans Affairs and the IRS, that have occupied much of their attention this year — with spillover impact on federal employees.

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In Congress, path clearing for Obama plan to aid Syrian rebels fighting Islamic State

President Obama’s plan to train and equip Syrian rebels in the fight against Islamic State militants appeared headed for quick passage on Capitol Hill this week, with congressional leaders expected to schedule a full debate on the use of military force after the midterm elections.

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