Sir Winston Churchill once famously remarked that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others... The same thing could be said of the illustrious 112th congress, whose members packed their bags over the weekend and departed the capital for a seven-week break that will see them remain in their home districts through the presidential election. Their next day in the office? November 13. This, after the House was in session for just twelve– Yes, count ‘em, twelve – days in August, September and October. Nice work if you can get it!
The 112th Congress will be mainly remembered for two noteworthy accomplishments. First – It has the dubious distinction of being the least popular congress on record. According to Gallup it received the lowest approval rating on record – 10% -- and it did it twice -- once in February and once in August.
It is also by far the least productive congress of the post WWII-era, having passed just 174 laws, 35 of which were to name post offices or federal buildings. Before departing, it did manage to pass yet another congressional resolution to keep the federal government functioning through March 27, 2012. It may not have done anything about the Bush tax cuts set to expire Dec. 31 or the so-called “sequester” due to slice $109 billion from defense and other domestic programs next year. But that’s not to say it didn’t accomplish anything. Early Saturday morning, the Senate passed a flurry of bills – 40 in fact – before going on vacation. They included: HR 2453 The Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Act. It also passed Senate Resolution 558 congratulating athletes from Nevada and across the US who participated in the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Senate also determined that astronauts should be able to keep some of their souvenirs from space. Bravo Congress! See you in seven weeks!