Do we really have a do-nothing Congress?
By the beginning of December, Congressional records say the House of Representatives had passed 326 bills, the lowest number in the last 10 nonelection years, while the Senate had approved 368 laws, the least since 1995.
President Barack Obama said in October, according to CNN, "I would love nothing more than to see Congress act so aggressively that I can't campaign against them as a do-nothing Congress. But the American people are very frustrated. They don't get a sense that folks in this town are looking out for their interests."
Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution in Washington has his own opinion. Mann is writing a book about Congress titled “It's Even Worse Than It Looks.”
Mann said, according to NPR, “In modern history there have been battles, delays, but nothing quite like this."
Just 11 percent of Americans approve of the efforts of Congress, according to a December Gallup poll. Another 86 percent disapproved, to mark the poll’s lowest rating since it began in 1974.
The Week reported some of the low points on Congress’ 2011 record, and there were many.
1.) The GOP read the entire Constitution on the House floor, which took 90 minutes, and cost taxpayers around $1.1 million.
2.) The near-government shutdown.
3.) The U.S. credit near default and downgrade.
4.) Reaffirming “In God We Trust” as our national motto.
5.) The failure to cut $1.2 trillion of the deficit by the “super” committee.
The latest Congressional impasse nearly raised taxes on 160 million Americans. The Alaska Dispatch reported a late deal extended expiring unemployment benefits provisions and the payroll tax “holiday” for two months, and avoided a potential 27.4 percent cut to doctors treating Medicare patients.
Of course there are times when the best course of action is to do nothing, but Congress even did that wrong. In November, they declared pizza a vegetable for school lunches.