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Slow and Unresponsive

April 4, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

Roll Call has a good piece today on the “glacial” pace of the 112th Congress so far and the fact that it’s going to get even slower from here on out. The problem, of course, is that neither the Republicans who control the House or the Democrats who control the Senate are working with an eye towards the other chamber. Particularly in the House, the legislative docket is being used more as a political platform than a means to make laws and solve the problems facing the nation.

“Where are the jobs?” is, of course, the relevant question here. So far this year we’ve seen votes on divisive program cuts, stopgap bills to patch the budget, extending the government’s spying powers, and some cheap fluff, but there’s been no honest work on legislation addressing the jobs crisis that could pass both chambers and actually help people. Below is a list of the bills that have been signed into law so far this year. We’re facing a deeper and longer lasting jobs crisis than anything we’ve seen since the Great Depression, but you wouldn’t know it looking at the output of the federal legislature:

  • H.R.366 – To provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes.
  • S.188 – A bill to designate the United States courthouse under construction at 98 West First Street, Yuma, Arizona, as the “John M. Roll United States Courthouse”.
  • H.R.514 – To extend expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 relating to access to business records, individual terrorists as agents of foreign powers, and roving wiretaps until December 8, 2011.
  • H.J.Res.44 – Making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2011, and for other purposes.
  • H.R.662 – To provide an extension of Federal-aid highway, highway safety, motor carrier safety, transit, and other programs funded out of the Highway Trust Fund pending enactment of a multiyear law reauthorizing such programs.
  • H.J.Res.48 – Making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2011, and for other purposes.
  • H.R.1079 – To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the funding and expenditure authority of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, to amend title 49, United States Code, to extend the airport improvement program, and for other purposes.
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