America’s Ineffective Government

…Congress has given no indication that other major issues of the day will be confronted this year, even on matters where members of both parties agree urgent action is needed. The immigration system is still in crisis. Companies are renouncing their American citizenship over tax breaks. The Highway Trust Fund is running on empty as the nation’s infrastructure crumbles, and entitlement programs are creaking under the weight of an aging population. …

“Everybody talks about affordable health care, Syria, Ukraine or the children at the border,” said Senator Angus King of Maine, an independent. “The real issue is our institutions aren’t working. That’s one of the reasons we’re unable to deal with these other questions.”

By traditional measurements, the 113th Congress is now in a race to the bottom with the 112th for the “do nothing” crown, with members of both parties frustrated about the lack of action. As of Wednesday, it had passed just 142 laws — 34 of them ceremonial — compared to the 151 passed by the same date by the last Congress, which produced fewer laws than any in history. The original “do nothing” Congress of 1947 and 1948 passed 906.

– Jonathan Weisman and Ashley Parker, Congress Off for the Exits, but Few Cheer, NYT, August 1, 2014