GOP House Has Passed Five Times As Many Bills as Dem Senate.9:14 AM, Jul 3, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Twice in the past week, President Obama has needled Republicans in the House of Representatives by saying that while he's doing his job, the GOP House is "not doing anything." The first time was when he was in Minneapolis to spend a "day in the life" of Rebekah, a mother concerned about making ends meet:
And, now, some of you may have read -- so we take these actions and then now Republicans are mad at me for taking these actions. They’re not doing anything, and then they’re mad that I’m doing something.
The second time the president used the phrase was Monday in Georgetown in Washington, D.C. in a speech on a familiar topic for the president, upgrading roads and bridges:
It’s not crazy, it’s not socialism. (Laughter.) It’s not the imperial presidency -- no laws are broken. We’re just building roads and bridges like we’ve been doing for the last, I don’t know, 50, 100 years. But so far, House Republicans have refused to act on this idea. I haven’t heard a good reason why they haven’t acted -- it’s not like they’ve been busy with other stuff. (Laughter.) No, seriously. (Laughter.) I mean, they’re not doing anything. Why don’t they do this?
While the president is hardly the first to label the legislature a "Do Nothing" Congress (Harry Truman famously did so in the 1950s), the president has directed his ire at the House rather than the Congress as a whole, leaving the Senate unscathed. But an analysis of the numbers shows that his shots may be misdirected.
According to GovTrack.us, a privately run website that tracks congressional activity, so far in the 113th Congress the House has passed 297 bills (280) or resolutions (17) that originated in the House. By contrast, the Senate during the same time has passed only 59. In spite of his words that the House has "done nothing," the president has put his signature on 90 House bills and resolutions and 35 Senate bills and resolutions for a total of 125.
Even compared to prior Congresses, this House does not appear to be as idle as the president suggests. Bills spiked during the 110th and 111th Congresses, but otherwise the 297 passed by the House in the 113th Congress is not far from the historical norm for the past several decades, particularly given that the 113th Congress is still in session (again, from GovTrack.us):
Again in contrast, bills passed by Senate have been down sharply since Harry Reid took over as majority leader, with the Senate in the 113th Congress on track to pass the fewest number of bills of any Senate as far back as 1973 (as far as the records at GovTrack.us go):
While the significance of the bills passed by the House and Senate may be debated, and while the president's frustrations with the House center around legislation (such as comprehensive immigration reform) where wide differences separate the parties, the numbers indicate that it's not so much that the GOP House isn't "doing anything"; the GOP is just not doing what the president wants.
A curious challenge to a GOP incumbent.Jun 23, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 39 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Republican primary challenges are all the rage these days. The GOP is reeling from House majority leader Eric Cantor’s loss last week in Virginia to David Brat, a relatively unknown economics professor who campaigned on local issues and against the GOP leadership’s flirtation with immigration amnesty. Brat was outspent by as much as 40 to 1 and still beat a sitting majority leader—that hadn’t happened since the position was created in 1899. In Mississippi, Tea Party favorite Chris McDaniel has forced Senator Thad Cochran into a runoff, despite a scandal-plagued campaign.
The Cantor succession. Jun 23, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 39 • By FRED BARNES
Kevin McCarthy won the race to replace Eric Cantor as House majority leader in the blink of an eye. Less than 24 hours after Cantor’s defeat in a Republican primary in Virginia, McCarthy, the majority whip, had amassed enough pledges to be confident of winning the vote for a new Republican leader, short of some unforeseen late challenge.
1:42 PM, Jun 11, 2014 • By FRED BARNES
Eric Cantor is expected to announce his plan to resign as House majority leader today, probably at a meeting of all House Republicans. Cantor lost the GOP primary to David Brat, a little-known college professor, in Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District on Tuesday.
12:00 AM, May 10, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Hedge fund manager Barry Rosenstein is not a man to be fazed by the recent rise in mortgage interest rates. Nor is he one to worry that the housing market might be softening, loping the odd million off the $147 million he shelled out for an 18-acre beachfront home in the Hamptons, on New York’s Long Island Sound. So all is well in the housing market.
1:11 PM, May 2, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, has issued a statement expressing support for Speaker of the House John Boehner's decision to have the House vote on forming a Select Committee on Benghazi.
"The Obama administration's ongoing reluctance to provide information and documentation voluntarily to the American people and their representatives has created the need for additional action by the House of Representatives," McConnell says in a statement released by his Senate office.
2:31 PM, Apr 9, 2014 • By DENNIS P. HALPIN
The student leaders of Taiwan’s Sunflower movement, having occupied the legislative chambers in the capital of Taipei for the past three weeks, recently announced plans for demonstrators to vacate the floor of the Legislative Yuan on April 10. The students have been expressing their strong reservations about the proposed Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) between Taiwan and mainland China, which they fear would bring Taiwan too firmly into Beijing’s economic orbit.
3:02 PM, Mar 27, 2014 • By THOMAS DONNELLY
As Vladimir Putin reminds us that hard power, military power – not “soft” or “smart” power – is the ultima ratio in international affairs, who speaks for the Republican party?
9:08 AM, Mar 6, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
The House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday afternoon to make the fine/“tax” for violating Obamacare’s individual mandate $0 for this year, and it did so by the wide margin of 90 votes (250 to 160). That’s 83 more than the 7-vote margin (219 to 212) by which Obamacare passed the House four Marches ago. Moreover, 27 Democrats voted for today’s legislation—27 more than the number of Republicans who voted for Obamacare when it passed. In all, 223 Republicans
8:04 AM, Mar 5, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on Wednesday to reduce the fine/“tax” for violating Obamacare’s individual mandate this year to $0. It will be interesting to see how Democrats in both the House and Senate react. President Obama has plainly violated the law—and the constitutional separation of powers—by unilaterally delaying the individual mandate for some people (those who liked their health plan but got a cancellation notice) and by unilaterally delaying the employer mandate.
But not an ordinary congressman. Mar 10, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 25 • By MARIA SANTOS
Representative Kerry Bentivolio once said, “I have a problem figuring out which one I really am, Santa Claus or Kerry Bentivolio. All my life I have been told I’m Kerry Bentivolio, and now I am a Santa Claus, so now I prefer to be Santa Claus.” Bentivolio, a 62-year-old freshman Republican from Detroit, plays Santa in parades and shows for his business, Old Fashioned Santa and Company, back in Michigan.
How the CIA’s No. 2 misled CongressMar 3, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 24 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Two leading Republicans on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence say that Michael Morell, then acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency, gave an account of his role on Benghazi that was often misleading and sometimes deliberately false.
Same as the old farm bill.Feb 24, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 23 • By DAVE JUDAY
The president just signed into law the Agricultural Act of 2014, a multiyear, comprehensive agricultural, rural, and nutrition policy measure. As legislation goes, it was rather unremarkable. What was remarkable was the path it followed to approval. Unlike most farm bill debates, which tend to be festivals of bipartisanship and comity, this one split lawmakers—rural from urban, House from Senate, Republican from Democrat—along every political fault including between the Tea Party caucus and the rest of the GOP.
10:01 AM, Feb 11, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
I understand House Speaker John Boehner has just announced to his conference that he intends to bring the floor of the House a clean debt limit increase. Conservative members of the conference had argued for this course. Conservatives will vote against "Obama's debt increase," but expect it to pass with mostly Democratic votes, and some Republicans. This should take the prospect of government default or shutdown off the table, and with it one of the few Democratic talking points that might help save them this year.