Congress Getting Failing Marks on Economy in Year of Gridlock [View all]
By Laura Litvan - Dec 16, 2011 12:01 AM ET
Congress is ending what may be its least productive year on record after government shutdown threats, the collapse of debt-reduction talks and little action to fix the worst U.S. economy since the Great Depression.
Just 62 bills were signed into law through November this year, meaning that 2011 may fall short of the 88 laws enacted in 1995, the lowest number since the Congressional Record began keeping an annual tally in 1947. In 1995, as in this year, a new House Republican majority fought a Democratic president’s agenda.
This year’s partisan battles have brought the U.S. to the brink of a government shutdown four times, caused a two-week furlough of Federal Aviation Administration workers and led Standard & Poor’s to lower the nation’s credit rating after it said lawmakers didn’t do enough to reduce the federal deficit.
“It’s been one of the worst Congresses in modern history,” said Representative Jim Cooper, a Tennessee Democrat. “We have failed to meet our minimum standards of competency and endangered America’s credit rating. We have failed to pass key legislation on time. And there is very little hope for improved behavior.”