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The Most Productive Year in Congress Since 1947

Written by Gary North on October 18, 2012

U.S. Senator Tom Corbin, M.D., has put out a report, Wastebook 2012. It is rather like Senator Proxmire’s beloved “Golden Fleece” reports, but in one place.

Unfortunately, Sen. Corbin does not understand the true importance of his collection of bizarre Federal projects. We can see this in his Introduction. He laments the fact that Congress in 2012 got less done legislatively than any Congress since 1947.

I call this a triumph. Liberty had fewer chains attached to her long chain.

Here is his assessment.

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Congress is “on pace to make history [for] the least productive legislative year” since 1947, with just 61 bills passed and made law in 2012 to date. “Even taking into account bills the House and Senate are expected to pass in the upcoming lame-duck session, the current Congress could easily have the lowest level of legislative activity since statistics began being tabulated,” according to the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call.

The inability of Congress to get things done has resulted in the lowest public approval in the nearly four decades the rating has been measured by Gallup. A stunning 83 percent disapprove of “the way Congress is doing its job.” The poor ratings given Congress are consistent across the political spectrum with approval from only nine percent of Democrats, 11 percent of Independents, and 10 percent of Republicans.7 During these contentious times, Americans find so much to disagree about, yet almost everyone agrees Congress is failing to do its job.

With the House and Senate controlled by opposite parties, partisans point fingers of blame at the party in control of the other chamber. But, the stalemate is not simply the product of split-party control between the two chambers.

The Senate has cast fewer votes in 2012 thus far than any year in decades. More than 20 of the 100 senators — on both sides of the aisle — have not had a single amendment considered on the Senate floor in 2012.11 And after blocking senators from offering fixes to bills throughout the year, the Majority Leader of what once was the world’s greatest deliberative body publicly announced from the Senate floor, “I will say this so it will save a lot of trouble for anybody. … Amendment days are over.”

A number of important committees within both the House and the Senate are failing to do the important work for which they are responsible.

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Let us hope that 2013 will produce even better evidence of gridlock.

I think it will.

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6 thoughts on “The Most Productive Year in Congress Since 1947

  1. Howard in Wyoming says:

    The only time the Republic is safe is when Congress is not in session. I forgot who said it.

  2. Dick Murphy says:

    You damage your credibility when you get the name of the person you're writing about wrong. It's Senator Coburn from Oklahoma.

  3. Phillip the Bruce says:

    Not positive, but may have been Will Rogers. Or possibly Mark Twain.

  4. Emma Freeman says:

    Thanks for the link to the Wastebook 2012, whether it was Corbin or Coburn who wrote it, the waste is beyond explanation. I was particularly interested in #7 When Robot Squirrels Attack. I've always been concerned about how snakes would interact with robotic squirrels, so I don't know why this made it onto the list…. (Yes, this is said with tongue-in-cheek.)

  5. Actually Howard is correct. he was quoting someone esle. Coburn is the one that regrets not passing these awful laws. Unfortunately the Executive branch has quite a history of damage with congress in session and when they are not. The only help in that regard is a Congress that will stand up to the Executive branch, which they have'nt done in quite some time.

  6. Will Rogers stated “It’s a damned good thing we don’t get all the government we pay for”.