NYT: Underachieving Congress Appears in No Hurry to Change Things Now

With the 2013 clock running out, House Republicans’ non-existent list of legislative accomplishments and their unfinished to-do list is garnering even more attention.  Today the New York Times noted the record lack of productivity by the Do-Nothing Republicans:

“The 113th Congress has passed all of 55 laws so far this year, seven fewer at this point than the 112th Congress — the least productive Congress ever. House and Senate negotiators will meet on Wednesday to try to come to terms on a farm bill, but they remain far apart, especially on food-stamp cuts that the House is demanding. The leaders of the House and Senate budget committees will also meet this week, and they appear to be closing in on a modest deal that would set spending levels for the next two years while relieving some of the pain from the across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration.”

“’I ran on a government that did less,’ said Representative Reid Ribble, Republican of Wisconsin. ‘I felt the government was overreaching, and the citizens that sent me didn’t want me to be overaggressive in writing new laws.”

 “It is not as if there is nothing to do. If agreement cannot be reached on a farm bill by the end of the month, an agricultural system in place for decades will suddenly cease. The price of milk is set to skyrocket. Lawmakers were given until Dec. 13 to reach a deal on spending and taxation. That would give the House and Senate Appropriations Committees enough time to pass spending legislation by Jan. 15 to avert another government shutdown.”

“Congress is flirting with failing to pass its annual Pentagon policy bill for the first time in 52 years. This time around, the bill was set to address major military concerns, from sexual assault to the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.”

“At the same time, major bills passed by the Senate with bipartisan majorities to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, update farm programs, allow states to collect sales taxes from online retailers and protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from workplace discrimination have been blocked from votes in the House — where members of both parties say they could pass.”