Congress officially ended its least-productive year on record after passing 80 bills, the fewest recorded since they began keeping year-end records in 1947, The Washington Times reported.
An analysis offered by the Times found that Congress set a record for legislative futility by accomplishing less in 2011 than any other year. This study took into account the lawmakers time spent in debate, the number of conference reports that were produced and the instance of voting on the floor of the House and Senate.
The newspaper reported that the Senate’s record was weakest by a significant margin, according to the futility index, and the House had its 10th-worst session since records have been taken.
“Absent unified party control with a bolstered Senate majority, I think it’s just very hard to get things done, particularly in a period when revenues aren’t growing and the decisions are how to cut, and how to cut in the long term,” Sarah Binder, a professor at George Washington University, told the Times. “Congress just isn’t very good at solving long-term problems.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that both Democrats and Republicans have placed the blame on the other party’s ineptitude, and lawmakers from both sides have targeted payroll tax extension as the first issue for 2012.