The One Hundred Twelfth United States Congress is considered the worst Congress in the history of the United States. This Congress has passed the least amount of meaningful bills and has been the most polarized Congress since Reconstruction.
Although the 112th Congress has a few days to go before the 113th Congress are sworn into office, they’ve only passed 219 bills for Obama to sign into law. At least 40 bills are for the renaming of post offices or other public buildings. Another six dealt with coins and 30 more bills were to repeal Obama Care or the Affordable Care Act. The previous two Congresses (110th and 111th), passed 383 and 460 respectfully.
The famous “do-nothing Congress” as named by Truman passed 906 bills but this was after World War two. In times of crisis Congresses job is to pass as many meaningful bills as possible in order to fix the problems facing the nation, but the 112th Congress will be known for trying to do nothing to help the America people who needs government assistance. The fact of the matter is this Congress has cut more programs for the needy in order to protect tax cuts for the top two percent.
How Congress become so dysfunctional:
The blueprint for our current Congress was championed by Newt Gingrich when he became speaker in the mid-90s. Newt Gingrich showed the Republican party how to shut down the government in order to cut spending and balance the budget. Although the Clinton administration and Speaker Newt Gingrich shut down the government twice in the late 90s, they successfully balance the budget. Newt Gingrich knew when to say yes but with Obama in the White House, Republicans in Congress has said no on everything, and the current Speaker John Boehner can’t get his caucus to say yes to anything causing dysfunction in Washington.
The 2010 midterm election was a historic win for the Republican party. The Republican Party won the majority in the House of Representatives by winning a record number of seats, while the Democrats kept their Senate majority, but it was reduced from the previous Congress. Republicans have its largest number of House members 242 since the 80th Congress (1947–1949). It turned out the Obama Care argument was won by the Republican party or the Tea party, leaving Democrats to rethink how to govern in the next two years.
With the Tea Party and established Republicans joining together, they believed the 112th Congress had a mandate to destroy federal spending and to stop the Obama Administration to only be in office for one term.
On the second day of the 112th Congress, Republican members read a modified version of the Constitution on the floor of the house; this was the first time in history. A few days later, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and nineteen other people were shot by a gunman in Tucson, Arizona. Instead of working on new gun legislation to protect their members, Congress went on recess for one week until media news died down.
Once back in session, Congress went into the pit. During the debt ceiling fight, Congress threatened to shut down the government over funding for planned parenthood; it lead to a credit rating down grade for the first time in US history. This was the start of a two year process to undermine the President by cutting government spending. In the long-run this only slowed the growth of the US economy, manufactured by Republicans in Congress to beat Obama in the 2012 elections, which they failed.
What have we learned from the 112th Congress:
The 112th Congress has shown the American people that if we don’t compromise or work together, then it’s hard to run a country. The 112th Congress was the first to read the Constitution on the floor of the house, but they missed the part that stated why we have three branches of government.
Congress create the laws, but although they’re the lesser of the three branches of government, Republican members are acting like they have absolute power. Maybe this is why our founding fathers made Congress the lesser of the three because they didn’t trust the common citizen. Republican house members are proving them right.
House members are less wealthy than Senate members exposing them to their rich donors exposing them to rely on these people. In return the rich has people who are willing to hurt the whole for only the few.
In order for Congress to work for the American people again things will need to be changed. Congressional members are paid well in Congress, but the pay should be based on their attendance. This could keep members in Washington D.C. to do the peoples work and eliminate them fundraising 70 percent of their time for reelection.
Another change needed in Congress could be term limits. Term limits should also be included in the Senate too. This will eliminate life-time politicians; Washington has too many baby-boomers, and they’re leaving other generations out of the loop. If we have every generation represented in Congress, then everyone will get a fair deal instead of people only lobbing for themselves. A few twenty-two years old members could only help the aging Congress.
Today, Congress is broken and everyone is about to give up, but this is what some people want. With the 113th Congress about to be sworn into office, there is hope for the future in Washington DC. If the 113th Congress can work with the Obama Administration over the next two years then this country can do big things, lets just hope and pray the next two years are not as bad as the previous two held by the 112th Congress, the worst in American history.
Congresses approval rating is at 18 percent.