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Is Congress Less Effective than Ever?


vcczar
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Just wanted to get your thoughts. This is inspired by, but is not directly as result of, noting that Congress passes fewer bills today than it has in the recent past. 

For most of the 1970s, Congress passed almost 25,000 bills in a 2-year session. Since the 1978 election, this is fallen usually to between 10,000 and 15,000 bills in a 2-year span. The Clinton years are the only years in which fewer than 10,000 bills have been passed--6 years in a row, in fact. 

Trump's final two years saw the most legislation since Carter's last two years. We saw over 16,000 laws passed. Currently, this Congress has passed 7,000, keeping it about on bar with Trump, I'd say. Expect this to slow down if COVID and its repercussions are much less of a priority by the end of next year. 

On another note, imagine having to read 25,000 bills in their entirety! As much as that work load is, they better be reading every letter on those bills and thinking about them. Who knows how many bills are read that fail. These numbers are only those that pass.  

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1 hour ago, vcczar said:

Just wanted to get your thoughts. This is inspired by, but is not directly as result of, noting that Congress passes fewer bills today than it has in the recent past. 

For most of the 1970s, Congress passed almost 25,000 bills in a 2-year session. Since the 1978 election, this is fallen usually to between 10,000 and 15,000 bills in a 2-year span. The Clinton years are the only years in which fewer than 10,000 bills have been passed--6 years in a row, in fact. 

Trump's final two years saw the most legislation since Carter's last two years. We saw over 16,000 laws passed. Currently, this Congress has passed 7,000, keeping it about on bar with Trump, I'd say. Expect this to slow down if COVID and its repercussions are much less of a priority by the end of next year. 

On another note, imagine having to read 25,000 bills in their entirety! As much as that work load is, they better be reading every letter on those bills and thinking about them. Who knows how many bills are read that fail. These numbers are only those that pass.  

Partisanship is pretty strong, so bills are hard to pass.

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There's no way they read even half of that amount of bills in a session. Assuming a conservative 10,000 bills per session, that's still reading 14 bills a day... there's no way they're reading all of them, because if they did, there's no way in hell that many would go through.

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11 hours ago, DakotaHale said:

There's no way they read even half of that amount of bills in a session. Assuming a conservative 10,000 bills per session, that's still reading 14 bills a day... there's no way they're reading all of them, because if they did, there's no way in hell that many would go through.

Yep. That's why we need the read the bills act from Massie and Rand. Would prevent this last minute omnibus bill nonsense they have resorted to far too often.

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15 hours ago, DakotaHale said:

There's no way they read even half of that amount of bills in a session. Assuming a conservative 10,000 bills per session, that's still reading 14 bills a day... there's no way they're reading all of them, because if they did, there's no way in hell that many would go through.

I'd be okay with them having staff read them -- like three members of each congressman's staff read an individidual bill and give their report, while three other members of the Congressman's staff are reading another bill, etc, so the Congressman is gettin a CliffNotes version highlighting pros and cons and flagging any problem areas.  But that's not what actually happens either.

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