Outgoing Congress proves to be unproductive to the end
The 112th Congress is limping to a formal close next week with the dubious distinction of passing fewer bills into law than any Congress in decades.
Its dismal record will come as no surprise to anyone who’s been watching the post-election lame duck session consumed by lawmakers’ inability — so far — to craft a deal to avert the year-end “fiscal cliff.”
But the number of legislative disputes that they have failed to resolve while they have been failing to craft a budget deal is equally striking. They include reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, renewing a sweeping farm bill and reforming the U.S. Postal Service.
Congress’s inability to solve even the stuff that used to be considered routine in Washington portends trouble for work on broader legislative initiatives like immigration reform or new gun control laws next year, when Republicans will continue to have solid control of the House and the Democrats’ majority in the Senate will expand by two seats.