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Hullabaloo


Monday, December 02, 2013

 
Do nothing congress

by digby

They get paid no matter what, right?
With only a handful of remaining legislative days on their calendar, this current Congress is on track to go down as one of the most unproductive in modern history.

The paltry number of bills Congress has passed into law this year paints a vivid picture of just how bad the gridlock has been for lawmakers, whose single-digit approval rating illustrates that the public is hardly satisfied with their trickle of legislative activity.

According to THOMAS, the legislative tracking service, this Congress has passed just 52 public laws since it gaveled into session in January.

At this point in George W. Bush’s second term as president, for example, 113 bills had been enacted into law, according to numbers crunched by Pew Research Center’s Drew DeSilver. In the same amount of time during the 110th Congress – from January until before the Thanksgiving recess of 2007 – that number was 120.

The numbers are a little bit different – but no less grim – after you break out bills that are merely ceremonial.
[...]
So far this year, the president has signed legislation to specify the size of commemorative coins for the Baseball Hall of Fame, to name a subsection of IRS code after former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and to honor baseball great Stan Musial with a namesake Midwestern bridge.

With the ceremonial measures excluded, according to DeSilver’s calculations, Congress has enacted just 44 “substantive” laws so far this year.

That’s well below the average of about 70 substantive bills passed in the equivalent time period between 1999 and 2012.
The problem with this thesis is that it assumes everyone thinks the congress should be doing anything in the first place. Unfortunately, many millions of Americans don't. They do, however, blame the government when the conditions of their lives aren't improved. It's the ultimate Catch-22, brought to you by the Captains of Industry and the Masters of the Universe. It's how they keep us rubes from noticing what's really going on and doing something about it.

I did have a good chuckle at this, which is something only First Read would publish:
Of course, some of the legislation that has reached the president’s desk this year has involved some hard-fought and highly publicized issues like reverse mortgage rules, high interest rates for students and reopening the government after the lengthy shutdown.
Only in Washington could it be considered substantive that the legislation was passed to re-open the government after the Republicans shut it down in a fit of pique. That's what we've come to.

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