For a larger version of this chart – click HERE. I put this chart above together to highlight productivity by Congressional session (every 2 years) and color coded by the majorities in the House and Senate as well as the Executive branch. The bar graph on the right is coded to represent control: blue = Dem control, red = GOP control and purple = Divided Control. Since the days of Reagan – you can see there has not been another Congress that has done so little. The 239 “bills passed” includes 219 bills actually signed by Obama and another 20 waiting on his desk (source). And if you go back all the way to 1947 since the House Clerk’s office has been tracking this – you’ll see that there has never been a more unproductive Congress in modern history (source).
It isn’t an accident that the last two years of Congress have been the most unproductive in history. In 2010 – Republicans decided to rebrand themselves “Tea Party” Republicans to highlight just how “conservative” they really were. I make it a point never to refer to anyone as being a member of the “Tea Party” because it is a figment of our imagination just like supply-side, concealed carry Jesus; there is not one single “Tea Party” person that doesn’t have an R next to their name. Not one. Within this revolution – these newly elected officials promised to go to Washington and “shut it down”. And that’s what they did.
It’s interesting though – in these last two years … the Republican led House of Representatives had no problem passing a bill to privatize Social Security and Medicare (twice); they were considered persona non-gratis in the Senate and didn’t even come up for a vote. Republicans had no problems passing tax cuts for millionaires or bills to limit a woman’s availability to abortion services. House Republicans had no problem passing a bill to make it legal for a woman’s employer to decide whether or not she should have access to contraception. House Republicans had no problem cutting Medicaid, cutting funding for free lunch programs and rape crisis centers, pushing for anti-union laws, trying to neuter regulators that hold banks accountable like the CFTC, passing tax cuts for oil companies, expanding loopholes for multinational corporations, and eliminating capital gains taxes which would be a huge windfall to the rich.
It isn’t that conservatives couldn’t pass legislation – it’s that the legislation they passed was so horrific and they were so unwilling to compromise that everything ground to a halt. Grover Norquist recently said if Obama didn’t like the original Tea Party’s conversatism then he’d really hate Tea Party 2.0 should he win re-election. Except – we’ve seen Tea Party 2.0 out on the shelves. The Christine O’Donnells and Richard Mourdocks and Todd Akins and Joe Millers of the world – they keep losing. And that’s why the Republican party can’t win state wide races at the national level in large numbers; the only reason they even exist as a party right now is because they were able to gerrymander congressional districts with their temporary majorities from the 2010 Republican wave.
Americans are rejecting conservatism and they will continue to for the next generation if you look at what’s on the calendar for 2013. House Republicans can’t even pass tax cuts for 99% of Americans because it would result in raising taxes on the rich. House Republicans can’t take action on avoiding ruining the full faith and credit of the American treasury by increasing or eliminating the debt ceiling. House Republicans can’t pass a farm bill that would prevent milk prices from going to $8 a gallon. They can’t pass an extension of unemployment benefits. They can’t stop the Post Office from being held hostage by Congress’s own ridiculous laws that no other government agency is held to the same standard.
And it’s intentional. And it’s a scandal. And every American should punish this party for its obstruction, its cowardice, its sabotage.
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