Poll: Two-Thirds of Americans Think This Congress Is the Worst Of Their Lifetime
Here's something Americans on both sides of the aisle can apparently agree on: Congress pretty much sucks. In fact, we've probably never disliked Congress this much in history. According to a CNN/ORC International released Thursday, two-thirds of Americans think that the 113th Congress has been the worst Congress of their lifetime. Oh, and 73 percent think it's "do-nothing." What's a Congress to do? (Well, nothing, obviously.)
Here's a quick round-up of why Congress might be so unpopular this year.
1. Immigration Reform
What happened to immigration reform? Well, nothing. We had hopes back in June when the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration bill 68-32 that would have increased border security and opportunities for undocumented immigrants to gain citizenship. But just as quickly as our hopes were raised, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives came in and smashed them to a pulp. John Boehner announced that the House wouldn't be voting on the immigration bill. As we explained:
This put the ball in the hands of the House Speaker John Boehner … who promptly refused to put the immigration bill up for a vote. Not long thereafter, after massive backlash from conservatives, Rubio yanked his support for the bill he helped craft. So close to supporting sensible, broadly-popular policy, yet so far.
You can now expect to see immigration reform pushed back far into 2014.
2. Gun Control
As we've pointed out before, since the tragedy at Newtown, Congress has failed to mobilize:
California Senator Dianne Feinstein pushed hard for an assault rifles ban (despite the fact that such a ban wouldn’t have prevented Newtown), but a policy requiring universal background checks seemed to hold the most promise of both passing Congress and having a tangible effect on gun violence. The hope was that if it was voted on soon enough after Newtown, the political will might just be strong enough to defy the National Rifle Association, and get the legislation passed.
But it wasn’t. The amendment neared the 60-vote threshold Senate Republicans had required in order for it to pass, but ultimately failed by five votes. The larger gun control bill to which it was attached also went nowhere, and House Republicans characteristicallydid nothing at all about the issue.
Congress has passed exactly zero pieces of gun control legislation since Newtown.
3. The Government Shutdown
Speak no more, that was a national embarrassment.
4. Fewer Than 60 Bills Signed
By Congressional standards, our Congress has never been this do-nothing — it has even beaten out Harry Truman's "do-nothing" 1947 Congress. As Bustle reported:
It would be a bad idea for Congress to indiscriminately pass bills just for the hell of it, but our elected officials seem to be on the opposite end of that spectrum. Over the last two years, Congress has been historically unproductive. And that’s not hyperbole: The 112th Congress has passed 561 bills, which is less than literally any other Congress on record. The ratio of bills introduced to bills passed is eight percent, also lower than any other year since 1947. In short, Congress hasn’t really been doing much.
There's nothing left for us to do except good riddance to 2013 — and raise a glass to a hopefully less disastrous Congress in 2014.