You might have thought the 112th Congress’ historic low of 23 legislative items passed at this same last year was the epic fail, but you’ll have to revise that. This 113th Congress has only passed 15 legislative items at the 6 month mark.
They have passed:
1. H.R.41 : To temporarily increase the borrowing authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for carrying out the National Flood Insurance Program.
2. H.R.152 : Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013
3. H.R.325 : No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013
4. S.47 : Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (this only took one year for them to pass)
5. H.R.307 : Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013
6. H.R.933 : Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013
7. S.716 : A bill to modify the requirements under the STOCK Act regarding online access to certain financial disclosure statements and related forms. (This was a CYA bill for the legislators to take back disclosures they promised the public.)
8. H.R.1246 : District of Columbia Chief Financial Officer Vacancy Act
9. H.R.1765 : Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013 (This was passed in response to the sequester causing delays to flights, which impact your elected representatives, who fly every week.)
10. H.R.1071 : To specify the size of the precious-metal blanks that will be used in the production of the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins.
11. H.R.360 : To award posthumously a Congressional Gold Medal to Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley to commemorate the lives they lost 50 years ago in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where these 4 little Black girls’ ultimate sacrifice served as a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement.
12. H.R.258 : Stolen Valor Act of 2013
13. S.982 : Freedom to Fish Act
14. S.622 : Animal Drug and Animal Generic Drug User Fee Reauthorization Act of 2013
15. H.R.475 : To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to include vaccines against seasonal influenza within the definition of taxable vaccines.
(You can cross check these here for bills signed by the President, but note that some of the Jan 2013 bills belong to the 112th Congress.)
That’s it. Not one significant law in the bunch. Do you see a jobs bill anywhere? Nope. Do you see a budget resolution? Nope. The jobs bills were killed by the Republican House and budget reconciliation is also being stalled by the Republican House, who screamed about a budget for years until they got one. Now they can’t be bothered to sit down and begin the process of budget reconciliation because the Republican party can’t get their own act together enough to agree on anything.
Perhaps this historic failure is a function of Republicans cutting down the total work days for the House to just 126 days. Yes, we have a part-time House of Representatives, and if they worked in the private sector, this would make them ineligible for health insurance, pensions, paid days off, etc. But lucky for them, they get to suck off of “big government” like “lazy, entitled welfare queens” and “thug union members”.
The 112th Congress made history as the most unproductive session since the 1940s (records only go back to 1947) for passing only 220 laws. For perspective, President Harry Truman labeled his Congress the “Do-Nothing Congress” for passing just 906 laws. I know math isn’t exactly the forte of Republicans, but 15 versus half of 906 is pretty basic.
The Republican minority in the Senate has abused the filibuster in historic measure, while at the same time the House of Representatives is so divided within the Republican Party that they have blocked even the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act. The House can’t get anything passed without Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi bringing Dems on board, due to the inner Republican divide.
However, Congress was very busy renaming post offices last session, and House Republicans have been all tied up making sure they get on record as voting against ObamaCare AGAIN (37 times!) so that they can use it in their 2014 campaign ads.
Before Republicans took over the House, we had the same level of movement in Congress as prior to Obama taking office. “In 2011, Congress passed just 90 bills into law. The only other year in which Congress failed to pass at least 125 laws was 1995,” USA Today explained. That was another Democratic President, Bill Clinton, with a Republican Congress. “When Democrats controlled both chambers during the 111th Congress, 258 laws were enacted in 2010 and 125 in 2009, including President Obama’s health care law.”
The 113th Congress is the real Do-Nothing Congress.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.