The 112th Congress is set to have the worst legislative year in nearly seven decades, according to an analysis by USA Today.
Of the 3,914 bills that lawmakers have submitted this session, only 61 or approximately 2 percent, have become actual laws. In the calamitous congressional sessions of 2011, 90 laws were passed. According to USA Today, the only other time that Congress failed to pass at least 125 laws was in 1995, when the federal government completely shut down because of congressional gridlock. The paperdid note that Congress came back in 1996 and passed 245 laws, including a variety of tax reform packages, which has not been the case for 2012.
Political scientists Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein have argued that the recent Congress was even more dysfunctional than any other in the past. In an op-ed in The Washington Post, they primarily blamed Republican lawmakers for the gridlock in the legislature.
“The filibuster, once relegated to a handful of major national issues in a given Congress, became a routine weapon of obstruction, applied even to widely supported bills or presidential nominations,” Mann and Ornstein wrote.
In a statement to USA Today, Doug Heye, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor R-Va., said Senate Democrats were to blame for having blocked 90 bills on economic recovery.
The lame duck session following the November presidential election will be busy for lawmakers, as they are set to debate many high-profile issues, including the Bush tax cuts and automatic across-the-board cuts, known as sequestration, that are set to kick in next year