Advancing a Legislative Agenda in the Face of Historic Congressional Gridlock


Stop me if you’ve heard this before:  What’s the opposite of progress?  Congress.

Whether your reaction is a groan or a quiet chuckle, we react to that joke because we all know there is an element of truth to it, especially these days.

The 112th Congress stands to be the least productive Congress since World War II.  Of the approximately 11,000 bills introduced so far in the 112th Congress, only 169, or 1.5%, have been enacted into law*.  This enactment rate is just over half of that of the previous Congress, and less than half that of the 110th Congress. To get a sense of the historical magnitude of the gridlock, consider the fact the 80th Congress, dubbed the “do nothing” Congress by President Harry S Truman, enacted 7.5% of the bills introduced.  Since then, Congress has generally enacted between 3% and 6% of the bills introduced; the exceptions have been the Congresses in which the number of bills introduced has been substantially more than the norm.

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