News / USA

US Congress in 2013 Passes Fewest Laws in History

US Congress Passes Historically Few Laws in 2013i
X
December 20, 2013 5:31 AM
The 113th Congress has been the least productive in history, with the House and Senate passing only 57 bills that were signed into law by President Barack Obama. Analysts say that even in the context of a divided government, performance has been dismal. VOA's Cindy Saine reports.
US Congress Passes Historically Few Laws in 2013
Cindy Saine
The 113th Congress has been the least productive in history, with the House and Senate passing only 57 bills that were signed into law by President Barack Obama. Analysts say that even in the context of a divided government, with a Democrat in the White House, a Democratic-controlled Senate and a Republican-led House of Representatives, performance has been dismal. Most analysts do not expect a dramatic change next year, as lawmakers look to midterm elections coming in November.
 
Immigration reform passed in the Senate, but was not even taken up in the House of Representatives. This prompted some activists to fast for days or even weeks to get lawmakers to pay attention.  
 
Majority Republicans set the agenda in the House, where a lot of time was spent passing legislation to repeal or delay President Obama’s health care law. Budget analyst Stan Collender thinks present patterns of behavior are likely to continue.
 
“They voted to repeal Obamacare 37 times, knowing full well that not one of them was going to get through. What actually… [got done] at the end of the day is very, very little. It was totally predictable, and almost certainly will continue in the absence of some sort of major crisis.”
 
Republican opposition to ObamaCare led to a government shutdown for two weeks in October, with conservative advocacy groups leading the charge. 
 
Two months later, House Speaker John Boehner criticized some fellow Republicans, saying they pushed the party into a futile budget standoff.
 
“The day before the government reopened, one of the people at one of the groups stood up and said, ‘well, we never thought it would work.’ Are you kidding me?” said Boehner.
 
Stuart Rothenberg, who follows Congress for his political report, thinks the entirety of Congress is to blame.
 
“Republicans, Democrats, Independents all think Congress has failed, that they haven’t addressed the nation’s toughest problems, that they’ve been bickering, that it’s all about politics. Each side points the finger at the other so there’s no doubt about that. Congress as an institution is now held in as low a regard as I’ve ever seen,” said Rothenberg.
 
Veteran Republican Senator John McCain agrees.
 
“The American people, very appropriately, have very little regard for us. It is down now to some nine percent. And when you know that low number, you have to got to remember in the nineties, in the eighties, general approval rating was in the sixtieth percentile, it wasn’t always like this,” said McCain.
 
Senator McCain reports that the current atmosphere in Congress is as poisoned as he can remember in his 30 years on Capitol Hill. He says lawmakers should remember that one can compromise to get laws passed without compromising one’s principles.

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs