Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Led by GOP Speaker of the House John Boehner, Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing your “Do Nothing Congress” of 2012

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Republican obstructionism, or Republican obstructionism?

So far this year, lawmakers have staged 195 roll-call votes, which boils down to only about 60 pieces of legislation, including post-office namings.

Among them are:
● The Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Act.
● The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012.
● Legislation requiring the Treasury to mint coins commemorating the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Marshals Service.
● The World War II Memorial Prayer Act.
● The Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act.

Because the Democrats lack a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, they can bring virtually nothing to a vote without the blessing of the Republicans. Even with that hurdle, the Senate has been able to slog through a few bills in recent weeks, including a long-term renewal of the surface transportation bill, renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, postal reform and a bill making it easier for companies to go public.

The House also has yet to act on the China currency bill the Senate passed last fall (2011). Instead, House Republicans have voted repeatedly on budgets that will never be followed and have similarly doomed attempts at repealing presidential priorities.

House Republicans are now devoting full floor debates to bills such as H.R. 2087, “To remove restrictions from a parcel of land situated in the Atlantic District, Accomack County, Virginia.” That issue – allowing development on a 32-acre property – was so crucial to the Republic that lawmakers had five roll-call votes on the topic.

They dressed it up and called it a “jobs bill” – but really it was another bill showing that House Republicans aren’t doing theirs.

Records of the House Clerk’s Office show 3,914 bills have been introduced by lawmakers this year, but just 61 of them have become law – less than 2% of all proposed laws, according to a USA TODAY analysis of those records since 1947.

In 2011, Congress passed 90 laws.

In contrast, the Congress of 1947 and ’48, which President Harry Truman famously ran against as the “Do-Nothing Congress,” passed 908 laws; among them, the Marshall Plan that financed the rebuilding of Europe after World War II.

We don’t have anything comparable to a Marshall Plan now. And what we have instead is a debt limit debacle, a failure of the supercommittee, an inability to pass a farm bill in the midst of the worst drought since the Great Depression, a failure to tackle in any way a looming fiscal cliff that could send the country back down into a recession, and passage of a bunch of commemorative bills naming post offices.

In 2011, after Republicans took control of the U.S. House, Congress passed just 90 bills into law. The only other year in which Congress failed to pass at least 125 laws was 1995.

The difference between 1995 and now is that Republicans rebounded in the second year of the 104th Congress in 1996, churning out 245 laws with a Democratic president, including a tax cut package, a minimum wage increase, an overhaul of the nation’s welfare system, and requiring law enforcement to disclose where sex offenders live.

When Democrats controlled both chambers during the 111th Congress, 258 laws were enacted in 2010 and 125 in 2009, including the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act health care law.

Only 61 bills have become law to date in 2012 out of 3,914 bills that have been introduced by lawmakers, which is less than 2% of all proposed laws, according to a USA TODAY analysis of records since 1947 kept by the U.S. House Clerk’s office.

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One Response to “Led by GOP Speaker of the House John Boehner, Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing your “Do Nothing Congress” of 2012”

  1. […] thoughts are that a new Congress – NOT this DO NOTHING Congress (about which I have written) – would be necessary before any advancement were […]


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