With 2013 coming to a close, the 113th Congress have yet to negotiate a budget deal, pass the farm bill or set Pentagon spending levels. These unaccomplishments have made this not far from being a “do-nothing” Congress.
And with a handful of legislative days left, they are on track to become one of the most unproductive Congress – EVER.
The record number of gridlock and single digit approval ratings can only attest to the measly number of bills the 113th Congress
passed. According to the Library of Congress bill database, THOMAS, the 113th Congress passed a total of 52 public laws. However, subtracting ceremonial measures such as the naming of local Post Offices and determining the size of the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coin, the 113th Congress passed only 44 substantive bills this year.
In all fairness, these numbers are expected because Congress as an institution has never been popular. Moreover, at its best, the approval rating for Congress has been mediocre. These mediocre ratings are attributable to a growing trend in the last decade of declining confidence in major government institutions among the American people. Confidence in banks, the criminal justice system, the media and labor unions is constantly dropping. And Congress is at the very bottom of the bottom.
One would think that with the constant criticism, record shattering approval ratings and unproductiveness our leaders would finally come together and do something.
But with the overwhelming power of ideology within the two parties, Congress leaves no space to do anything. It has only resulted in record-breaking gridlock. These gridlocks have led the American people to serious discontent towards the country’s leaders, which has had an extremely destructive effect on the nation’s social dogma.
Furthermore, at the core of the American people’s anger is the belief that the so-called American dream is no longer attainable. Our system is structured in such a way that wealth and power is in the hand of a concentrated few at the expense of many. And the government is doing nothing.
So with this discontent brewing it is a clear sign that the American people have reached their boiling point.
But, there is an emerging movement that is calling for the change of the current status quo and the leadership class of America. More and more, we are witnessing mainstream American pushing for cutbacks from global affairs and for our leaders to have a renewed focus on problems here at home. Furthermore, there is a growing concern among Americans about issues such as the disappearing middle class; concentration of wealth in the top 1 percent while one in six Americans live below the poverty line; loopholes for big businesses; healthcare; and joblessness. These issues, among others, will slowly dominate politics moving forward, and result in our political leaders – from both parties – no matter their ideology, coming together to enforce change.
Until then, the American people will continue to judge Congress through a microscopic lens to see if our political leaders (meaning both parties, no matter their ideology) will continue to be out-of-touch and cling to the status quo of protecting those at the top or will they start fighting for the change that will make the government work for everyone.