Congress' Productivity Plunges

Hill approving fewer bills, fewer laws being signed
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2011 7:01 AM CST
Congress' Productivity Plunges
The US Capitol building is seen Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – Non-election years are typically productive times for Congress, but not this year. As of last week, the House had passed 326 bills, its fewest in the last 10 non-election years, while the Senate had green-lit 368, its lowest total since 1995, the Washington Post observes. (For comparison, the House passed 970 bills in 2009 and 1,127 in 2007, while the Senate passed 478 and 621.) All of that resulted in 62 signed laws—or 26 fewer than Bill Clinton managed to sign when he faced a new Republican Congress in 1995.

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House Republicans say that’s because they’re focusing on quality over quantity, with fewer “commemorative bills,” such as post-office namings, and longer consideration periods for bills. But one American University professor calls the numbers “Exhibit A in showing how dysfunctional the Congress has become,” with even the basic appropriations process apparently broken. The House has so far passed just six of 11 appropriations. (Read more House Republicans stories.)

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