When members of the 113th Congress take their oaths of office today, it won’t exactly be an occasion for national celebration. But at least it will signal the end of an especially sorry chapter in American politics.
HERE‘s how Gail Collins sees it:
Right now you are probably asking yourself: Will the new Congress being sworn in this week work any better than the last one?
There’s always a chance. Because, you know, it’s new. Also, the bar is low, since some people believe the departing 112th Congress was the worst in history, because of its stupendous lack of productivity and a favorability rating that once polled lower than the idea of a Communist takeover of America.
On the very last day the Republican-led House of Representatives was in session, the Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, announced it was “why the American people hate Congress.” This was after Speaker John Boehner failed to bring up a bill providing aid to the victims of the megastorm Sandy. Disaster relief joined a long list of bills that the 112th Congress could not get its act together to approve, along with reforming the farm subsidies and rescuing the Postal Service. Those particular pieces of legislation were all written and passed by the Senate, a group that’s generally less proactive than a mummy.
Ah, the House. To be fair, it takes a lot of effort to vote to repeal Obamacare 33 times.
Our outgoing lawmakers did retrieve us from that “fiscal cliff.” Although they were the ones who pushed us off in the first place. And they left the new Congress facing a debt chasm, a sequestration void and a government-stoppage bottomless pit.
So, yeah, this last one was pretty darned bad. The best argument I can make for it is that none of the outgoing members walked onto the floor and brained a colleague with a cane, as did happen in the 34th Congress. Which also was being led by President Franklin Pierce. So I would give the 34th the ribbon. But definitely the 112th is a contender.