Just after Gallup released the latest public poll numbers, members of Congress headed back to their districts on Friday for their two-week recess.
For some incumbent lawmakers fighting to hold their seats, it was a long flight, perhaps the last time they travel home from their Washington office for a spring break. Congress' approval rating fell to 13 percent, not far from the all-time low of 9 percent set last November.
The approval number has never been less than 20 percent before a midterm election.
A new report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office didn't help matters.
It identified 26 new areas where federal government programs are fragmented, duplicative, overlapping or just inefficient.
Add to that number the 162 areas identified in its past three reports, and you can understand why there is public outrage.
In 2012, the Government Accountability Office called on federal agencies to evaluate the potential for overlap. Last week, the GAO reported that the executive branch and Congress had only addressed 20 percent.
More than 60 percent were partially addressed, and about 15 percent weren't addressed at all.
Catfish inspections are one example. GAO found last year that the Department of Agriculture was poised to waste $14 million annually on catfish inspections because of a provision in the 2008 farm bill that directs the agency to do a job already being done by the Food and Drug Administration.
Some in Congress do show concern. GAO recommended that Congress pass two bipartisan bills: the Let Me Google That For You Act, introduced by Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, and the Taxpayers Right to Know Act, introduced by Rep. James Lankford, also from Oklahoma, which passed in the House last February.
Coburn also introduced a Senate version of the Taxpayers Right to Know Act, which would require federal agencies to provide taxpayers with an annual report card for each of its programs and disclose overlap and performance measures.
Rep. Darrell Issa, House Oversight Chairman, said one of the most troubling things in GAO's report is the number of agencies that have no idea just how much taxpayer money they are spending on their programs. He's also sponsored the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act that would require the government to better track spending data from Congress to an agency.
As one Gallup analyst pointed out, the midterm election climate "could be ripe with anti-incumbent sentiment."
Wasteful federal government programs are costing taxpayers billions, and some incumbents facing tough re-election challengers are in the cross hairs of an angry electorate.
By JIM ZBICK