With just eight legislative days left in the year, the GOP-run House has a laundry list of critical issues that need to be addressed before the GOP turns off the lights. From the Farm Bill and nutritional assistance for low income families to the Budget and replacing the sequester, House Republicans have nothing to show for the year. But at least they are consistent: Speaker Boehner and the GOP House excel at doing nothing for the American people.
Rep. Tom Cole, a senior House Republican and Deputy Whip for the GOP conference, had this to say on ABC’s This Week:
“You know, around here, we can’t walk and chew gum. Let’s just chew gum for a little while. And right now, chewing gum is getting a budget deal and making sure that we don’t default when the debt ceiling comes around.”
According to congressional records, there have been fewer than 60 public laws enacted in the first 11 months of this year, so below the previous low in legislative output that officials have already declared this first session of the 113th Congress the least productive ever.
USA Today: Congress hits new productivity lows
Congress is on track to beat its own low record of productivity, enacting fewer laws this year than at any point in the past 66 years.
It’s a continuing slide of productivity that began in 2011, after Republicans recaptured the House majority in the 2010 elections, and the ability to find common ground has eluded the two parties while the legislative to-do list piles up.
Wall Street Journal: Congress Faces Long To-Do List Before Year’s End
Congress is heading into the final stretch of its legislative session with a pile of year-end policy decisions before it and little time to address them…
The year’s final month caps a legislative session that has been long on partisanship, indecision and brinkmanship, and short on compromise and lawmaking. Congress has enacted only 52 new laws this year. At that pace, lawmakers would fall far short of the 284 laws enacted by the prior Congress from early 2011 to early 2013, according to the website GovTrack, which follows legislation. That itself was a significant drop-off from earlier sessions.
Lawmakers have spent relatively little time in Washington this year. The House has been in session for 143 days so far, the Senate for 142. In 2011, the House met for 175 days and the Senate for 170.
Some Republicans say the year’s slim legislative record is nothing to disparage. “If you value government doing things, you’re going to be more harsh on what we’ve done. But if you think government does too much, then it’s not as alarming,” said Rep. Steve Southerland (R., Fla.), who said the federal government has been overreaching and spending beyond its means.
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 major urgent areas of concern in the country just have not been addressed,” says Norm Ornstein, a congressional expert at the American Enterprise Institute. “It’s pretty pathetic.”