18 Bills | The Lamest Congress

Megan O’Neil


By the time lawmakers quit town for their 2012 summer break, they’d passed just 54 bills, an impressive show of do-nothingness. In 2013 they’ve somehow done less — just 18 bills in seven months.

4 Laws Renew Existing Laws

Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013

Animal Drug and Animal Generic Drug User Fee Reauthorization Act of 2013

Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013

Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act

A quick-fix budget bill to avoid a government shutdown

2 Laws Tweak Existing Laws

H.R. 475 amended the IRS code, slapping a 75¢ excise tax on some flu vaccines

S.716 modified the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012

Exempts 28,000 federal workers from having to file financial disclosure statements to an online database

1 Law Undoes an Existing Law

The Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013

Stopped the sequester-imposed furloughs of thousands of air-traffic controllers

11 Miscellaneous Laws

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Docked members’ pay if either the House or the Senate failed to pass a federal budget by April. Both did, but the law didn’t require an agreement between the two chambers

The District of Columbia Chief Financial Officer Vacancy Act

D.C.’s deputy CFO can act as CFO when the job is vacant

The Stolen Valor Act of 2013

Lying about military service to make money is now a crime

The Freedom to Fish Act

Tennessee and Kentucky anglers can still trawl for bass, catfish, and trout in 10 areas the Army Corps of Engineers had wanted to close off

H.R. 360 awarded a Congressional Gold Medal posthumously to the 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing victims; H.R. 324 awarded one to the Devil’s Brigade, a WWII U.S.-Canadian commando unit

The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act and H.R. 41 sent $60.4 billion to areas hit by Hurricane Sandy

H.R. 1151 ordered the secretary of state to endorse Taiwan’s attendance at an international aviation regulations meeting

H.R. 1071 lets the U.S. Mint print coins for the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s 75th anniversary; H.R. 2383 named a St. Louis bridge the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge


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