Pew Research: 113th Congress on Track to Become 'Least Productive'

Tuesday, 03 Sep 2013 11:30 PM

By Cathy Burke

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The 113th Congress is on pace to become the least productive Congress in the last decade -- and Americans have taken note, according to the Pew Research Center.

Of the 31 measures that have became law so far this Congress, 24 count as "substantive" -- five more than the 112th Congress managed to get through by Labor Day, and three more than the 107th Congress mustered at the same point in its term.

“Substantive,” Pew said, covers everything from major policy legislation to appropriations bills, with “some tangible real-world impact" -- and discounts ceremonial measures, like laws that rename post offices or authorize commemorative coins.

The productivity is reflected in the low opinion of Americans: Pew said its most recent survey in July found seven in 10 Americans have a “very” or “mostly” unfavorable opinion of Congress.

It said those findings matched the highest unfavorability rating in its nearly three decades of asking the question.

The lax productivity compares with the 45 substantive bills that became law by the end of August 2007; and in 2009 -- when Congress wrangled with health-care reform, financial regulation and economic stimulus -- it still passed 38 substantive laws by summer’s end, Pew said.

Under former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), 463 “substantive” bills became law between 1999 and 2000 during the 106th Congress, The Hill reported.

Pew noted there’s been a gradual decrease in the volume of legislation since then.

The Hill noted, however, Republican Speaker John Boehner of Ohio has said Congress “should not be judged on how many new laws we create, we ought to be judged on how many laws that we repeal."

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