The 112th Congress Was The Least Effective And Most Disliked In History

Walter Hickey

The failure to negotiate a successful conclusion to the fiscal cliff was a truly fitting end to the 112th Congress, which was the least effective and most disliked legislative body in years.

Congress had a year to delay the impact of the fiscal cliff — a crisis that this Congress itself initiated after the failure of the debt ceiling negotiation and the subsequent failure of the congressional super-committee — and still failed to do so in time. 

The U.S. Congress passed 219 bills that were signed into law in the 112th session, a dizzying low compared to the 111th Congress (383 bills) and the 110th (460 bills), according to MSNBC. 

For a remarkable comparison, Harry Truman's "Do-nothing" Congress passed 906 bills from 1947-1948.

U.S. history professor Daniel Feller told NPR that "I think you'd have to go back to the 1850s to find a period of congressional dysfunction like the one we're in today."

This is the first time the House and Senate were forced to hold roll call votes between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve since the 1970s, according to the New York Times.

During this session, Congress also hit record lows when it comes to Congressional Approval Rating. The body's approval rating has remained in the mid to low teens for months.

Worth noting is that Congress has just received a salary raise, and did have a 91% incumbent retention rate. 

This post was edited on January 2 to include the incumbency statistic for the 112th Congress.

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