In defense of a “do-nothing” Senate…
Yesterday, the Washington Examiner reported that the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats and led by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), is the “laziest” in 20 years based on the number of laws they’ve passed and time they’ve spent in session:
For those who need proof that the Senate was a do-nothing chamber in 2011 beyond the constant partisan bickering and failure to pass a federal budget, there is now hard evidence that it was among the laziest in 20 years.
In her latest report, Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson revealed a slew of data that put the first session of the 112th Senate at the bottom of Senates since 1992 in legislative productivity, an especially damning finding considering that it wasn’t an election year when congressional action is usually lower.
For example, while the Democratically-controlled Senate was in session for 170 days, it spent an average of just 6.5 hours in session on those days, the second lowest since 1992. Only 2008 logged a lower average of 5.4 hours a day, and that’s when action was put off because several senators were running for president, among them Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain.
On the passage of public laws, arguably its most important job, the Senate notched just 90, the second lowest in 20 years, and it passed a total of 402 measures, also the second lowest. And as the president has been complaining about, the chamber confirmed a 20-year low of 19,815 judicial and other nominations.
Many conservatives have taken this as another opportunity to knock Reid and his Democratic counterparts. And while there is no doubt in my mind that Senate Democrats would pass more bills if they didn’t have to work with House Republicans, you’re not going to find me complaining about this.
As Bruce McQuain notes, this will surely be used as a talking point during the fall campaign. But really, the liberty movement should have no problem with gridlock in government or a Congress that is constantly legislating.
Don’t criticize here too much, conservatives, this is what we really what we should want — a Congress that comes in, passes a budget, and goes home.