Speaker of the House John Boehner is a real hoot. Somebody asked him today what it was like to preside over half of the least productive Congress since records starting being kept in 1947. In this 112th Congress (2011-12), the House has passed fewer bills than any Congress in modern history. At the same near mid point in 2011, when the House was beginning its least productive session ever, the House had passed 23 bills which became laws. Their dismal record is even worse this year, 15.
Well that isn't what he really said but it is close. Here is what he actually said today:
“That’s just total nonsense,” Boehner said, cutting off a reporter before he could finish his question about how Congress has recently had fewer and fewer bills signed into law.The good Speaker says he isn't doing commemorative bills. I have a question? What do you call the bills he passed yesterday, the 39th attempted repeal of the ACA, the Obamacare program which is the law of the land and has zero chance of being repealed in the Senate? Talk about a monumental waste of time, resources and taxpayer money. Give it a rest already.
“Now listen: We made clear when we took over that we weren’t going to be doing commemorative legislation on the floor,” Boehner said. “In addition to that, most Americans think we have too many laws. What they want us to do is repeal more of those. So I reject the premise to the question. We got a big job to do here. We need to stay focused on those things that are most important to the American people.”
The Ohio Republican vowed when he took office that the House would not fill its time with post office naming bills or other insignificant measures that Congress rubber-stamps and the president auto-pens.
“The metrics used to hold Congress accountable are often flawed,” Boehner said in his 2010 Pledge to America. “Rather than using the scale of how well elected representatives represent the views of the people, the scale is often currently measured in bills passed, dollars spent and programs created.”
Of course the problem lies deeper. Everything is so gerrymandered in this country that there are very few districts actually in play. What we really have are two separate countries with very divergent values, ideas and morés. Very little benefit for a politician to compromise or actually accomplish anything.