Congress: The Least Productive in 70 Years

How long do you think you would still be employed if out of dozens and dozens of projects waiting to be handled, you had only managed to complete 15 of them over the past six months?  I don’t know of many employers that would keep someone on their payroll who was so unproductive.

Believe it or not, one company has over 500 employees that make a minimum of $174,000 per year, who after only completing 15 projects out of dozens and dozens backlogged projects, are still employed.  They are the members of Congress.

Congress didn’t start keeping progress records until the 1940s.  Since that time, the last three Congresses have been the least productive and based upon the first six months of the 113th Congress, they appear to be on a record setting level for passing the fewest pieces of legislation than any other Congress.  In the first six months of office, the 111th Congress had passed 34 pieces of legislation that were set on the President’s desk for signing.  So far this year, they have only managed to pass 15 pieces of legislation, largely due to the differences between the Democrat controlled Senate and GOP controlled House.

There are approximately 125 work days in the first six months of the current Congressional session.  During that time, the House was in session for only 84 days and Senate for only 80 days.  The rest of the time has been spent back in their home districts, supposedly meeting with constituents and carrying on with other business.  Yet, there is a huge backlog of bills waiting to be reviewed, revised, rejected or approved.

Perhaps there are some benefits to not having very many pieces of legislation being passed by both the House and Senate.  The Senate passed the immigration reform bill and a farm bill, but the House has yet to move on either piece.  If they fail to do so, the immigration reform bill will die which is a very good thing, and from what I’ve heard from farmers, few of them wanted the new farm bill passed, so that’s also a good thing.

Good or not though, the general public has become very unsupportive of Congress and their failure to accomplish much of anything.  In the latest Real Clear Politics poll dated July 1, Congress had an approval rating of 14% compared to a disapproval rating of 78%.  Another poll, the Economist indicated that Congress had an approval rating of only 9%.

I wonder what would happen if Congressional pay was performance based instead of a flat salary?  They could all have a much lower base pay to start with.  The rest of their pay could be commensurate upon their actual performance and the approval ratings of their constituents.  If a senator votes yes on a bill that most of his constituents didn’t like, they could give him a low approval rating and he would not receive his full pay accordingly.  Making politicians earn their pay is novel idea worth considering, don’t you agree?