With the First Session of the 113th Congress about to wind up for a "much deserved" Christmas and New Year's break, I thought it prudent to take a look at what has been accomplished thus far with data current to the end of October 2013.
Here is a calendar showing the days that the House sat during the First Session of the 113th Congress (excluding part of December):
Here is a calendar showing the days that the Senate sat during the First Session of the 113th Congress (excluding part of December):
For their 152 days of work thus far in the First Session, the House and Senate managed to pass a total of 47 public bills into law; 11 for the Senate and 36 for the House. While relatively little was accomplished, the Senate created 7779 pages of proceedings and the House created 6958 pages of proceedings. That's a pile of words! According to the Library of Congress, the Congressional Record, a more or less resume ofverbatim account of the proceedings of both Houses of Congress averages about 272 pages every day, making it the world's largest daily newspaper. A total of 5983 measures were introduced; 1638 were bills introduced in the Senate and 3445 bills were introduced in the House.
Let's look back at the number of bills that the First Session of the 113th Congress has passed into law and compare them to the historical record since the 100th Session. Please note that I am using data from the Resume of Congressional Activity as listed on the United States Senate website located here.
Here is a graph showing the number of bills that have been passed into law by both the House and the Senate for each Session:
On average, since 1987, Congress has passed 230 bills in each Session.
Here is a graph that showing the number of bills that have been passed into law by the Senate for each Session:
On average, since 1987, the Senate has passed 75 bills in each Session.
Here is a graph showing the number of bills that have been passed into law by the House for each session:
On average, since 1987, the House has passed 155 bills in each Session.
As you can clearly see, if the First Session of the 113th Congress expects to get anywhere close to the average over the past twenty-five years by their last sitting day in mid-December, they have their work cut out for them. At only 47 bills passed thus far, this is looking like the poorest law-passing Congress in a generation. Keeping in mind that John Boehner recently said that productivity on Capitol Hill should be measured by the number of laws repealed rather than the number of laws passed, it is interesting to note that not only has the 113th Congress passed almost no new laws, they have not repealed any either.
I guess the House and the Senate losers by either measure. I guess that we can also understand why American voters are increasingly becoming disillusioned with government.
The 113th Congress – mission not accomplished unless of course obfuscation was the goal.