Congress on Track to Set Do-Nothing Record

Friday, August 17, 2012
(book by Tony Fucile)
If lawmakers on Capitol Hill wanted to encapsulate the current session of Congress in a t-shirt slogan, they could go with: Support your party and don’t compromise.
The highly partisan environment in Washington has resulted in the most “do-nothing” congressional session since the end of World War II.
Of the more than 3,900 bills introduced, lawmakers have adopted just 147 this year—a passage rate of less than 4%. It is worth noting that 32 of the successful bills involved the naming of post offices and other buildings, while many others were of similar import.
Only 61 real bills went to President Barack Obama’s desk for signing, and he signed them all. This paltry productivity has put the 112th Congress on track to be the least productive in recent history. Even the 80th Congress, branded the “do-nothing” Congress by President Harry Truman in 1948, passed more pieces of legislation.
Congressional efficiency peaked in the election years of 1956 and 1958, when Republican President Dwight Eisenhower worked with Democrats, who held slim majorities in both houses of Congress. In 1956, 638 bills were signed into law and in 1958 620. Eisenhower did veto 23 bills in 1956 and 39 in 1958.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
In 2011, Fewer Laws and Fewer Confirmations (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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