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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid