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2013 Congress One of the Least Productive in History

Just when you thought Congress’ historically-poor approval rating couldn’t go any worse.

Having passed only fifty-five laws—in other words, about one per week, representing only 2% of the submitted bills—the 2013 Congress is set to go down as one of the least productive in the institution’s history. By contrast, the past seven Congresses averaged 321 non-ceremonial laws per session.

Only five days remain before the two chambers adjourn for the holidays, meaning Congress is unlikely to pass enough bills to clear even low thresholds of legislative performance.

As the Boston Globe points out, the laws it did manage to pass were none too impressive, as renewing the Violence Against Women Act, normally a widely popular action, became a partisan battle, and funding the government turned into a protracted shutdown. Meanwhile, the two chambers’ more ambitious goals, immigration reform and gun control legislation chief among them, were stalled or defeated. Even the Farm Bill, a textbook example (literally) of the legislative process, failed to pass through the 2013 Congress.

The problem is not only the growing polarization between parties, but also the dysfunction between the House and Senate. Each chamber passed about 300 bills apiece, but only a fraction of those cleared both houses.

House Speaker John Boehner dismissed the charge. “The House continues to do its job,” he said Tuesday. “It’s time for the Senate to get serious about doing theirs.”

[h/t Boston Globe]

[Image via Getty]

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