According to Bloomberg News, this Congress is getting even less done than the Congress before it which set a record for not getting things done:
Since the 113th Congress convened in January, the Senate has been in session 80 days and the House 84 days. Lawmakers passed 15 bills that were then signed by the president. That’s eight fewer than in the first six months of the last Congress and 19 fewer than in the same stretch of the 111th Congress.
“The 113th Congress is on track to be even less productive than the historic 112th Congress,” said Thomas Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “The problem arises from a Republican House unwilling and unable to engage in the normal process of negotiation and compromise with the president, and their continued willingness to live with a destructive sequester.”
This will be reported as a negative by the media who have a fetish for bipartisanship regardless of the nature of the compromise. “[J]ournalists fetishize centrism and deal making, and assume that the best of all possible legislation, regardless of its actual content, is the kind that has both parties’ fingerprints on it,” wrote Ross Douthat for the New York Times about what he says critics of the attitude have labeled “bipartisanthink.”
“By conflating the march of progress with the march of legislation through Congress, bipartisanthink allows journalists to take sides and root for particular outcomes without having to explicitly choose sides.”
So what we will get from our reports and editors and television news personalities is endless griping about a “do-nothing Congress” without any talk about what sort of bad policy this Congress might have avoided passing.
Which is amazing in a nation with as many laws as this one. There is credible research indicating that the expansion of the federal regulatory code has made America 72% poorer, and the federal criminal code is growing at an alarming rate as well. Between 2000 to 2007, the federal government created an average of 56.7 new federal crimes every year according to the Heritage Foundation.
Our tax code is so expansive, and so complicated, that even many of the federal government’s lawmakers and top-ranking administrators can’t file their returns free of errors.
So here’s to a do-nothing Congress. Because often – usually, even, I’d argue – federal lawmakers doing nothing is better than doing something.