Does it seem like Congress is getting less done than usual this year? Well, it’s true. Congress has enacted fewer bills in the last six months than in any first-six-months period after an election going back at least to 1993. I don’t have bill data going further back than that, so I don’t know just how “do-nothing” our Congress is. We’ve had 42 enacted bills so far this year, compared to the average of 94 for the similar time periods in the previous seven Congresses — so about half as much.
(As another caveat, it’s possible the drop in productivity isn’t Congress’s fault. For instance, Bush might be more reluctant to sign bills than Clinton was, or you could say that the Iraq issue reasonably needed more time than whatever was the leading issue in 1994 (I wouldn’t know, I was 12).)