Monday, November 7, 2011

Do Nothing Congress

If President Obama wants to borrow a line from Harry Truman and call this a "do nothing Congress," it certainly looks like that would be an accurate description.

Since we're nearing the end of one year with the Republican-controlled House and the filibuster-happy Senate, I thought I'd do a comparison between this Congress and what happened in 2009 when Democrats controlled the House and had a bigger majority in the Senate just to make the point.

In 2009, Congress passed and the President signed the following bills (I'm leaving out the extensions, post office-naming, etc.):

* Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009
* Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009
* American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
* Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009
* Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009
* Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (allowed FDA to regulate tobacco)

And here's the record for 2011:

* Budget Control Act of 2011 (debt ceiling deal)
* Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (patent reform)

So the big "success" of the 2011 Congress so far has been the Budget Control Act of 2011, which simply passed the deficit reduction issue on to a Congressional Super Committee. We'll all be holding our breath about whether that will result in some major action by this Congress before the end of the year (said with tongue planted firmly in cheek).

The real crime in all of this of course is that the lack of activity in 2011 comes at a time when the American public is practically screaming for Congress to do something about jobs. And all they've been able to manage is patent reform.

All of this highlights that not only are Republicans incapable of governing, but that their strategy to sabotage any economic recovery in order to hurt President Obama politically is very real. So much so that the New York Times editorial today takes it as a given.

Tragically, the more entrenched the jobs shortage becomes, the more paralyzed Congress becomes, with Republicans committed to doing nothing in the hopes that the faltering economy will cost President Obama his job in 2012.
(Emphasis mine)

This is nothing short of matter how accustomed we've become to the reality.


  1. Republicans know nothing about governing and everything about obstruction.

  2. I have been trying to find examples of bipartisan legislation to prove to my children that we were indeed able to govern the country with two parties working together and COMPROMISING on many issues. I realized that they think this is how it has always been.

  3. mlf - one example that comes to mind is the Wellstone/Domenici Mental Health Parity Act. Those two - who agreed on NOTHING else - worked on it for years. It was finally passed in 2008.