Any Wonder Why Colorado Legislature is More Effective than Congress?

With approval ratings for Congress at an all-time low (as in, no other organization has ever been so disliked in the history of polling), it's safe to say that the public is not particularly enamored with Republican House Leadership trying to spin as a positive the fact that they don't do anything. And coming off a record year of doing-nothingness, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is actually planning to do even less. From the New York Times:

Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader, is quietly playing down expectations for any major legislative achievements in the final year of the 113th Congress, which passed fewer laws in its first year — 65 — than any single session on record. The calendar, drawn up to maximize campaign time ahead of midterm elections in November, is bare bones, with the House in session just 97 days before Election Day, the last on Oct. 2, and 112 days in all.

In 2013, the House was in session 118 days before November and 135 in all.

In other words, the House is not even going to end up working a full year in 24 months, which is all by Republican design. Democrat Irv Halter, who is challenging Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn in CD-5, issued a statement this week criticizing the decision:

"When I was active duty in the Air Force, I didn't work for 97 days a year and then call it quits, but that seems to be a full year for Congressman Lamborn.  Spending time campaigning instead of addressing our problems is an embarrassment for our district, our state and this great nation."

The U.S. House may end up working just 112 days in 2014. The Colorado Legislature, which opens today, is in session through early May for a total of 120 calendar days. To be clear, all legislators aren't going to work full eight-hour days on the weekends, but many probably will come close. Depending on scheduling, the Colorado Legislature will likely do more work in 4 months than the U.S. House will do in a full year.

6 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Ralphie says:

    Let me hazard a guess as to why the CO legislature is more effective.  Because they don't have Tipton and Lamebrain?

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Yeah, maybe . . . still — McNulty, Szabo, Wright, Brophy, Baumgardner . . . 

      My guess is that it's raw numbers — there's only 100 of 'em in Colorado versus 535 in Washington!

      Synergy is for unicorns . . . 

    • Because (a) we don't have filibusters, (b) we don't have a divided government, and (c) we have people on both sides of the aisle who still listen to the other side?

      Oh, and (d) – we don't have as much grandstanding because each politican represents a smaller constituency, has a similarly smaller public profile, and a greater than proportional decrease in having to dial for dollars vs. Federal candidates.

      • BlueCat says:

        Mainly the filibuster thing, I think. Crazy rightie majority legislatures get lots of stuff done too. It's just really horrible stuff.  Although I do think we're still blessed here in Colorado with a few not totally batshit crazy Rs in the leg. The primary process should fix that.

  2. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Having large numbers of women makes a difference. Republicans believe that, too. That's why they're attacking Carroll.  Women are just more practical, hence more able to compromise without thinking that something vital might shrink.

  3. gaf says:

    Two reasons: First, the Colorado legislature has rules that result in decisions getting made (like 'em or not). The rules of Congress–both houses in different ways–are disfunctional. And second, as mama said, large numbers of women.

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