Current Congress Has Passed Fewer Bills than any Since at Least the 1940s

If the job of Congress is to pass laws, then the 112th Congress is the laziest in modern history. Of the 6,600 bills introduced, lawmakers passed only 231—and only a couple handfuls are pending. At least 45 of the successful bills involved the naming of federal buildings, while many others were similarly insignificant, such as six commemorative coin bills and five correcting “technical errors” Congress made in past legislation.


In comparison, the 111th Congress passed 383 bills, and the one before it passed 460.


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Less than 70 real bills went to President Barack Obama’s desk for signing, and he signed every one, with nary a veto. This paltry productivity means the 112th Congress will be the least productive in modern history. Even the 80th Congress, which President Harry Truman branded the “do-nothing Congress” in 1948, passed 906 bills, more than three times as many.


The 104th Congress of 1995-1996 (also controlled by the GOP), which passed only 333 laws, used to be the least productive session of Congress, according to the U.S. House Clerk’s Office, which has records dating back to 1947.


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