Stick a Fork In 'Em: Congress Is So Done


Idaho's congressional delegation, along with 531 brethren in the U.S. House and Senate, are heading home today. And even though the Senate is expected to agree with the House on a budget deal—hammered out last week by Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and GOP Rep. Paul Ryan—the 113th Congress will be known for its record-low accomplishments.

According to congressional records, there have been approximately 60 public laws enacted this year, so far below the previous low in legislative output that officials have already declared this session to be the least productive ever. In 1995, when the newly empowered GOP congressional majority confronted the Clinton administration, 88 laws were enacted for what had been the record low in the post-World War II era.

Which means there is plenty of unfinished business for Congress when it returns in 2014. At the top of the list is passage of the farm bill (they have to do it, but funding for food stamps continues to be a major sticking point. Congress will also need to once again address the debt ceiling, which maxes out on Feb. 7.

Some are hoping that Congress will take up immigration, an extension of unemployment insurance and even the minimum wage, but keep in mind that 2014 is a mid-term election year.

The current group of Capitol Hill lawmakers are also distinguished by being the most unpopular Congress on record. Last month, American's approval of the way Congress was handling its job dropped to 9 percent, the lowest in Gallup's 39-year history.