Do Nothing GOP Congress

Poorly-attended hearing of Congressional Joint Economic Committee hearing on jobs, 2013

“Do Nothing Congress?” How about “Missing in Inaction Congress?” Photo and caption from National Journal: When the Joint Economic Committee’s hearing on fixing the nation’s long-term unemployment problem kicked off on April 24, only one lawmaker was in attendance: Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the committee’s vice chair who was holding the hearing. (Niraj Chokshi)

National Journal’s article fairly damns Congress and especially the House for doing very little this year about jobs.

Probably more damning is this little fact:  In a period of time that historically might see 50 or 100 laws passed, Congress has passed into law only 13 measures.  The “Do Nothing” 80th Congress Truman campaigned against passed nearly 900 laws.  The current Congress is on track to pass 52.  Most important, probably, are the authorization and appropriations bills for the different departments of the federal government, much more important than the non-binding budget resolutions conservatives whine about.  Republicans have successfully blocked almost all authorization and appropriations action.  Appropriations bills, of course, must originate in the GOP-shackled House of Representatives.

In the six months and four days since the 113th Congress began, it has passed 13 laws. And, despite lawmakers constantly beating the drum on boosting jobs, none of the new measures have been focused on employment. Here’s a list of what the 113th Congress has passed in its first six months:

  1. H.R.41: To temporarily increase the borrowing authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for carrying out the National Flood Insurance Program.
    Sponsor: Rep Garrett, Scott [NJ-5] (introduced 1/3/2013) Cosponsors (44)
  2. H.R.152: Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013
    Sponsor: Rep Rogers, Harold [KY-5] (introduced 1/4/2013) Cosponsors (None)
  3. H.R.325: No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013
    Sponsor: Rep Camp, Dave [MI-4] (introduced 1/21/2013) Cosponsors (1)
  4. S.47: Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013
    Sponsor: Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT] (introduced 1/22/2013) Cosponsors (61)
  5. H.R.307: Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013
    Sponsor: Rep Rogers, Mike J. [MI-8] (introduced 1/18/2013) Cosponsors (5)
  6. H.R.933: Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013
    Sponsor: Rep Rogers, Harold [KY-5] (introduced 3/4/2013) Cosponsors (None)
  7. S.716: A bill to modify the requirements under the STOCK Act regarding online access to certain financial disclosure statements and related forms.
    Sponsor: Sen Reid, Harry [NV] (introduced 4/11/2013) Cosponsors (None)
  8. H.R.1246: District of Columbia Chief Financial Officer Vacancy Act
    Sponsor: Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [DC] (introduced 3/19/2013) Cosponsors (None)
  9. H.R.1765: Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013
    Sponsor: Rep Latham, Tom [IA-3] (introduced 4/26/2013) Cosponsors (None)
  10. H.R.1071: To specify the size of the precious-metal blanks that will be used in the production of the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins.
    Sponsor: Rep Hanna, Richard L. [NY-22] (introduced 3/12/2013) Cosponsors (2)
  11. H.R.360: To award posthumously a Congressional Gold Medal to Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley to commemorate the lives they lost 50 years ago in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where these 4 little Black girls’ ultimate sacrifice served as a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement.
    Sponsor: Rep Sewell, Terri A. [AL-7] (introduced 1/23/2013) Cosponsors (301)
  12. H.R.258: Stolen Valor Act of 2013
    Sponsor: Rep Heck, Joseph J. [NV-3] (introduced 1/15/2013) Cosponsors (127)
  13. S.982: Freedom to Fish Act
    Sponsor: Sen Alexander, Lamar [TN] (introduced 5/16/2013) Cosponsors (3)

Freedom to Fish Act?  No doubt it is important to someone.  But even that someone, or those somebodies, would benefit from a jobs bill, more than from the Freedom to Fish Act.

When I worked for Lamar Alexander, I found him to be among the more fair and forward thinking of elected politicians.  It’s good to see he can still move a bill.

It’s tragic he’s been unable to push the GOP to move on more important matters.

The “Do-Nothing Congress” Harry Truman successfully indicted in 1948 looks like Wilma Rudolph streaking over the finish line in the 1960 Rome Olympics, by comparison.

I recall sitting up to get the news out to Utah, and anyone else interested in the nation, when Congress would pass 13 laws in a night.  At no point did it occur to me to think “these are the good old days of America,” then.


taken by yours truly during 2007 hof induction...

Baseball Hall of Fame on Induction Weekend, 2007, crowded with people who now need jobs.  Congress passed a bill dealing with the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Ironic, no? All inductees in Cooperstown got there by doing something, doing it with hustle, and doing a lot, a sharp contrast to the 2013-2014 U.S. Congress.  Wikipedia image

8 Responses to Do Nothing GOP Congress

  1. lowerleavell says:

    Perhaps I should say “majority” in the Senate, not “control.”


  2. Ed Darrell says:

    And then there was Texas Gov. Rick Perry (GOP, of course), going to Newtown, Connecticut, to invite Smith & Wesson to move to “friendlier climes” in Texas.

    Not just a tin ear and hypocritical behavior: Tin heart, too.


  3. jsojourner says:

    The Democratic President also put forth a jobs plan. He’s done this several times. Unfortunately, the only jobs Republicans seem to want to create these days are for ob-gyns who are willing to subject women to invasive ultrasounds.

    Oh. And gunmakers. Yeah…they’re creating jobs, too.



  4. Ed Darrell says:

    If you think the Democrats control the Senate, with the filibuster rule as it is, you’ve not been paying attention.

    I’m just calling out the facts. Denying the facts is destructive. We can only fix what we acknowledge is broken.


  5. lowerleavell says:

    DNC controls the Senate. Where are the jobs bills from the Dems this session?

    This finger pointing helps no one.


  6. Ed Darrell says:

    Dems not being there is a problem, I agree.

    On the other hand, Dems ARE sponsoring bills to fix things. Republicans in the House, where the appropriations bills must start, not so much.

    While ObamaCare improves health care and cuts health care costs for 200 million Americans so far, GOP has voted 36 times (37 times?) to repeal it, to hammer away at America’s health, and can’t find ten minutes for a jobs bill?

    Intentions can sometimes be determined from actions, and inaction. Republicans pledged to bring down Obama, even if they had to kill America to do it.

    They’re working hard to follow through.

    It’s awfully hard not to joke, “Where are those drones when we need ’em?”


  7. lowerleavell says:

    Looks like 4 out of 5 of the Democrats on the committee were also not in attendance.

    I’m not saying this is not a problem. I would however add that this is a bipartisan problem, not a GOP problem. If you disagree, why were the other Dems not their either?


  8. jsojourner says:

    What we are realizing, Ed, is Grover Norquist’s dream. That sound you hear is government…gurgling and bubbling, struggling for air as it drowns in the bathtub. Not your tub or poor Millard Fillmore’s. This one belongs to the Tea Party.

    Until an overwhelming majority of Americans wake up and catch the vision of the Founding Fathers, Lincoln, Both Roosevelts, Eisenhower & the GOP moderates and yes — liberal Democrats — we are doomed.

    I project not the doom of the addled minds of conspiratards like Glenn Beck or Michelle Bachmann are predicting…or the silly and patently unbiblical doom dripping from the pens of evangelical apocalypse fetishists.

    I project the doom of mediocrity. I wish I *did* believe in a rapture…



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