Congress’ ability to pass legislation is historically/laughably/depressingly low


  • 1995-1996 Is currently the least productive two-year Congressional session on record, dating back to 1947 when the U.S. House Clerk’s Office first began keeping such records. The 104th Congress passed 333 bills in total.
  • 2011-2012 Will become the new least productive two-year Congressional session on record, barring a number of miracles during the final days of the 112th Congress. Our sitting senators and representatives would need to send at least 115 more bills to the desk of President Obama to avoid becoming the least productive Congress in decades. Currently, they’re at 219 for the year. source

Define “productive”. 

If Congress spends an entire year and doesn’t pass a single law, I find that to be productive. And if they spend that entire year not passing a single piece of legislation and they manage to somehow repeal even a single existing law? I call that the most successful Congress in the history of man. 

There are two ways to define “productive” when it comes to politics: Internally and Externally. To me a successful government is not one that is productive internally (for Congress or government) but productive for people and the private sector. 

If we define success of Congress by how busy they keep themselves, we’re only encouraging them to create more and more laws which we don’t need nor that we don’t ask for.

This line of thinking promotes quantity over quality. 

We don’t need a high quantity of laws for a high quality of life. In fact, much of history has proven that the opposite is usually true and that the more laws a society has, the more corruption is also present. Now one can argue whether the corruption births the laws or if the laws facilitate the corruption, but they go hand in hand, that much is clear. 

So when you say a static Congress is not a “productive” Congress, I can only agree with you if you qualify that statement with the notion that a successful Congress eliminates laws, not increases their numbers. 

- Sha