Posted on 26 December 2013.
Here is an editorial from the Los Angeles Times:
Do-nothing Congress II: It’s not a compliment
Barring a dramatic change, the 113th Congress will be the least productive in modern memory.
No the liberal LATimes did not mean it as a complement:
It’s official: The Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate agreed on so few issues this year, Congress
is on pace to pass the fewest bills in a two-year term since World War II. Pundits have compared the current occupants of Capitol Hill unfavorably to the infamous “Do-Nothing Congress” of 1947-48, which was a dynamo in comparison. Lawmakers passed 1,729 bills in that two-year term, compared to 58 in the first year of this one. Unless something changes dramatically in the second half of the 113th Congress, it will be the least productive in modern memory.
I would say few bad bills is a good thing. Certainly the agenda of the editorial writers is clear:
A modestly productive Congress would handle both of those fiscal tasks without drama, then make at least incremental progress on immigration, the sluggish economy, healthcare costs and other major issues. If last year is any guide, this Congress will do none of those things. And if that’s how its term concludes, it will be a most unproductive Congress regardless of how many other bills it passes.
I would say that no progress in some of those areas would be better than bad progress. So, let’s keep these laments from newspapers on “do-nothing” Congress in perspective. (A similar thing occurs with President Calvin Coolidge – an excellent conservative example of a fine Chief Executive – who is panned by historians
for doing nothing. But they meant: Did Coolidge increase government power and programs; he did not so he is ineffective. Here is an alternative view
.) Sometimes the best thing is to do nothing – rather than doing something harmful. Coolidge is quoted as saying in that alternative article that, “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.”
That is a good thing. Now if we ever have a true constitutional President and Congress, a lot of bad bills and executive orders will have to be repealed!
Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written seven scholarly legal articles and was an adjunct at T. C. Williams School of Law. (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)