As of July, the 113th Congress has had the highest disapproval rating of any Congress since 1974, when data first started being collected.
Divided by intense partisanship, the current session of Congress, beginning January 3rd, is projected by many political and social scientists to be one of the least productive legislative bodies our nation has ever assembled. Following the divisions of the 2012 election, cooperation is difficult. The resurgence of Tea Party conservatives in the House and Senate has forced an ideological line to be drawn on the floor of Congress.
While it has enacted a few laws, for the nine months it has been in session the representatives of the 113th Congress have only succeeded in passing 15 important pieces of legislation. Of these, only a few stand as notable.
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (March 7, 2013)
The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013 (March 13, 2013)
The 2013 United States Federal Budget (March 26, 2013)
The Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013 (August 9, 2013)
Relatively, this Congress has passed fewer laws than any other Congress – and Republicans are taking the blame. Regardless of right and wrong, the oppositional stance the Republican Party has taken as a bloc to any endeavors from the Democrats is not only stopping progress but also hurting the Republican position. Ideologically forced to oppose current conversations for immigration reform, the Republicans are alienating large groups of voters. This dissatisfaction can be seen in Congress’ approval ratings, which have never been at around ten percent.
Now complicated by Obama’s call for Congress to decide the issue of Syria, the future of the 113th looks like one of extreme division. One should expect a plethora of activity from both Democrats and Republicans alike, with few-to-no results to show for it. It will be the Republicans who suffer from this continuing stagnation, and unless conservative citizens want to be known for fighting immigration reform and cutting food stamps “on principle,” something will have to change.