Ranking congress

31 Dec

sleeping-lawmaker-sizedAs we get ready to wrap up 2012, the 112th Congress is ready to wrap up as the most unproductive session since the 1940s.

A record not to be proud about.

According to what records we could find, President Obama has signed 219 bills passed by the 112th Congress into law.

With just hours left in the year, there are another 20 bills pending presidential action.

To compare, the 111th Congress passed 383 bills, and the one before passed 460.

We have to go back to 1995-1996 and the 104th Congress to find the record holder for the least productive session of Congress, according to the U.S. House Clerk’s Office.

It squeezed out 333 bills became law – and that means the 112th Congress needs to send nearly 100 more bills to the President’s desk in the next few hours if it doesn’t want to take over #1 on the lazy list.

Won’t happen.

While there were several pieces of major legislation, most of the bills passed by this Congress have been small and noncontroversial.

At least 40 have to do with renaming of post offices or other public buildings.

Six others have something to do with commemorative coins.

Meanwhile the important stuff that traditionally received bipartisan support were bogged down.

Bills like the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Here’s some of the things that have taken their attention:

House Republicans have held votes to repeal Obamacare more than 30 times since gaining control of the chamber in 2011.

The Republican majority has 115 times held up a bill’s passage by threatening to filibuster it.

They’ve been busy saying “no”.

Everyone agrees Congress has become dysfunctional.

That word has been thrown around so much lately that it no longer gets any attention.

It’s the new normal.

And just about everyone, even some Republicans, blame the Republicans.

Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine pointed to the hyper-partisan, unproductive atmosphere of Congress when she announced her retirement early this year.

“[W]hat I have had to consider is how productive an additional term would be. Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short-term. So at this stage of my tenure in public service, I have concluded that I am not prepared to commit myself to an additional six years in the Senate, which is what a fourth term would entail.”

The public seems to agree, giving Congress an 18 percent approval rating.

And then vote the same ones back into office.

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