It's official: the least-
Congress in recent history is also the least productive, according
to a new
analysis from the Pew Research Center
In its first year, the 113th Congress passed just
55 substantive pieces of legislation, 65 laws total counting measures like
post-office renaming and commemorative-coin authorizations. It surpassed the
112th Congress, which passed 63 substantive measures in its first
year and previously held the title for least-productive in recent memory.
Even the 80th Congress, which President Harry
Truman nicknamed the "do-nothing Congress" had passed
395 bills into law by the end of 1947, its first year.
Pew's analysis, which goes back to the 104th
Congress which presided from 1995 to 1996, finds that the 108th
Congress from 2003 to 2004 was the most productive in terms of substantive
legislation. They passed 144 such bills, and 54 ceremonial ones.
Among the legislation Congress failed to send to the
president this year: a farm bill, immigration legislation, or any
appropriations bills. They did manage to pass an aid
package after Superstorm Sandy, renew
the Violence Against Women Act, and reach a deal on student
The body's approval rating, which is usually on the low
side, plummeted to a record low of 9 percent approval in early November, just
weeks after the government shutdown ended, according to Gallup.
By early December, they had recovered by a modest 3 points, for an approval
rating of 12 percent.