Current Congress closest to being least productive in recent history

Sept. 3, 2013 at 2:33 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- As the U.S. Congress prepares to return from its August recess, a majority of Americans say they have an unfavorable opinion of it, a Pew survey indicated.

Seven in 10 respondents said they have a "very" or "mostly" unfavorable opinion of Congress, the Pew Research Center's survey indicated, matching the highest unfavorability rating in the nearly three decades the center has asked that question.

Much of the disfavor for the 113th Congress focused on the view that lawmakers didn't accomplish much.

Pew said it examined all laws passed since the 106th Congress in 1999-2000 to determine how many "substantive" laws passed, eliminating post office namings, commemorative coin authorizations, Congressional Gold Medal conferrals and other similar measures.

Pew said its survey indicated this year's Congress could be on pace to be one of the least productive. Of the 31 measures that have became law so far this Congress, Pew said it considered 24 as substantive -- five more than the 112th Congress passed by Labor Day 2011.

Since the 106th Congress, there's been a downward trend in the volume of legislation, both total and substantive, Pew said, noting that it coincided with increasing polarization in both the House and the Senate, making it harder to find enough common ground to pass bills.

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