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    17 July 2007

    The Do Nothing Congress of the Republican Minority

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    New Wars Mike Burleson complained Sunday that the 110th Congrees is "[t]he most “do-nothing” Congress of all". He compared our Congress and their obstructionist to that of Iraq's. (h/t Postscripts)

    Three quick points: First, the Congress has been compromised by small group of Republican "dead-enders" hell bent on protecting the most unpopular presidents in a generation. Instead of enacting bipartisan legislation destine for Bush veto, the the Republican minority in this Congress has taken the heat off of the President by stonewalling legislation with procedural maneuvers. Open Congress reported yesterday that
    A popular Democratic proposal to require that U.S. troops be given more time at home between their deployments was blocked, even though an overwhelming majority of the Senate voted for it. The vote on that proposal was 56-41, but because of a Senate rule that allows the minority party to require 60 votes for the passage of any bill or amendment, it was considered a failure and its sponsor, Jim Webb (D-VA) was forced to withdraw it.

    adding that "Senate Republicans in the 110th Congress have been putting up these 60-vote blockades in record numbers."

    This flows nicely into point two, the same article mentioned in Burleson's post adds this
    after the last major power shift in 1994, the productivity of Congress also dropped off, from 104 bills enacted at the start of 1993 to 77 at the start of 1995 (just after the Republicans took power), and then 56 two years later in 1997. But still the relevant comparison is 77 to 42, and that’s a big difference.

    (As another caveat, it’s possible the drop in productivity isn’t Congress’s fault. For instance, Bush might be more reluctant to sign bills than Clinton was, or you could say that the Iraq issue reasonably needed more time than whatever was the leading issue in 1994 (I wouldn’t know, I was 12).)

    So Bush is stubborn and Iraq is the paramount issue in America and to Americans. Additionally, legislative action in the realm of legislation has been low when Republicans were in power. No surprise there.

    Finally on Iraq and the Bush administration. While this congress has been unable to pass a record number of laws as pointed out above, they have provided some much needed oversight and accountability. This is a responsibility that the real do nothing congress of years prior chose to ignore; to the detriment of our national security and our national standing.

    Posted by Geoff

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