The 112th Congress shut down on Thursday to make way for 113 in a sadly fitting fashion. From Roll Call:
There was no formal resolution to usher out the 112th Congress. It’ll just kind of end today, and the new Congress will start as the Constitution instructs it to at noon.
What a perfect coda for the most contentious, fired-up, hard-to-please Congress in recent memory. They couldn’t even formally agree on when to end things.
Perhaps the worst Congress in our nation’s history is now in the history books. Oddly befitting the 112, there will likely be far more written about their two years than the members wrote themselves in terms of legislation. As Bloomberg explains:
What’s the record of the 112th Congress? Well, it almost shut down the government and almost breached the debt ceiling. It almost went over the fiscal cliff (which it had designed in the first place). It cut a trillion dollars of discretionary spending in the Budget Control Act and scheduled another trillion in spending cuts through an automatic sequester, which everyone agrees is terrible policy. It achieved nothing of note on housing, energy, stimulus, immigration, guns, tax reform, infrastructure, climate change or, really, anything. It’s hard to identify a single significant problem that existed prior to the 112th Congress that was in any way improved by its two years of rule. [Pols emphasis]
The 112th, which was gaveled into being on Jan. 3, 2011, by newly elected House Speaker John Boehner, wasn’t just unproductive in comparison with the 111th. It was unproductive compared with any Congress since 1948, when scholars began keeping tabs on congressional productivity.
When it ends, the 112th Congress will have passed about 220 public laws — by far the least of any Congress on record. [Pols emphasis] Prior to the 112th, the least productive Congress was the 104th, from January 1995 to January 1997. Not coincidentally, that Congress also featured a new Republican House majority determined to ruin a Democratic president in advance of the next campaign. The 104th, however, passed 333 public laws — almost 50 percent more than the 112th. The 112th stands alone in its achievement of epic failure.
“Epic failure.” How’s that for a legacy, Mr. Speaker?
They can take away my money, my house, my cars…but they can never take…our Epic Failure!
A poll follows.