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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

China-India Border Standoff Continues as Leaders Hold Summit

New Delhi accuses hundreds of Chinese soldiers of illegally entering Indian territory in disputed region of Ladakh More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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 Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid