With Congress away for their month long summer recess, the news has been filled with information about what Congress has NOT done in this session. Facts like the House of Representatives have passed less than 30 bills all year and even that fact the unproductive bug has effected the Senate as well. While on paper i.e., the numbers this Congress is the least productive, this Congress has been more productive than it seems in two ways: 1 – GOP Representatives were sent to “not do” and 2 – Surge of Women on Key Senate Committees
The 2012 Election rang strong on the economy, immigration and health care. For many Republicans that won elections, especially in conservative districts in the South and Mid-West their campaigns gave a lot of weight to repelling Obama Care and overturning other “socialist” policies passed during the first four years of the Obama Administration.
Therefore, looking at what has occurred in Congress over the last eight months, I’m not surprised by their “lack of productivity.” The most representative body in our country at a national level is controlled by Republicans. And those are the perspectives that are going to be addressed at a level leading to bill votes on the House floor. So if a bill doesn’t reflect what the Republicans want…it may be a bill for awhile. Also, in our current culture of partisan politics, it is not in the interest of Congress (especially from their party hats) that the Obama Administration gets anything that it wants. So the lack of action on jobs, that some say this Congress has had, isn’t about not wanting more jobs. Its about thinking that efforts to increase jobs should come from the private sector and being able to say to the people back home “see an Obama presidency didn’t do anything. Its time to re-elect me and send a Republican to the White House.”
The 2012 Election also rang strong on the number of women running for Congress. Thanks to re-districting and a push by initiatives like The 2012 Project, more women ran and won seats in the House and Senate. During the eight months of this session the news was intrigued by these women and their actions in congress from Sen. Warren’s first Banking committee hearing to Sen. Gillibrand’s work on The Armed Services committee. While work by these women senators (and representatives too) for their constituents has not come in the form of bills passed, their work has actually garnered key progress for our government. From a push for greater transparency from banks and businesses to shifting the way the Military handles sexual assault cases, these ladies have pushed to change the status quo in some of the most conservative and red tape filled areas of our government and society. This just does not say unproductive to me…
While saying that this Congress is the least productive in history makes for “sexy” titles that get people to read articles or watch newsmagazines, it is in short a manipulation of statistics to enhance their point similar to what is seen in the world of sports. Its like looking at a NBA point guard’s low field goal percentage, rebound and steals numbers and concluding that they are not an effective point guard. All while negating the type of team they are on and the role they play on that team. Based on this it is quite easy to manipulate those stats to enhance the argument that that point guard is ineffective. The same goes for this Congress. Taking one aspect of what it means to be a Congressperson and using that as a major measure of productivity is not telling the whole story of what is occurring in this particular Congress. It also negates why some members of Congress were elected in the first place. And based on the numbers shared in the news lately of bills passed to date, many in the 113th Congress are productively blocking and hindering policies they and their districts disagree with like Immigration Reform and Obama Care.