With the new session of Congress quickly approaching, here's a look back at the most-opposed bills of the previous session that are likely to be introduced again next year. These are the bills with the most "no" votes among OpenCongress users, as tracked by our Battle Royale, that didn't become law in the past session. It's by no means a complete picture of political sentiments across the country, but it gives us a unique view into what specific proposals from Congress have gotten people concerned and engaged over the past two years.Read Full Article
There's been a lot of attention paid to the 372 bills that have been passed by the House this session, but are dying in the Senate because of record filibustering and divisiveness. But did you know that the House is sitting on their own stack of unfinished legislation? According to an original research from OpenCongress research assistant Hilary Worden, the Senate has passed 44 bills that are still awaiting follow-up action from the House.Read Full Article
Time to start paying attention again. It's mid-September, the "August" recess is officially over, and Congress is coming back into session today to get back to taking care of the people's business.
Clearly, there are some enormous issues facing Congress as they return. The unemployment rate is creeping back up (it's at 9.6% and is expected to stay high for some time), long-term unemployment is off the charts, and the expiring 2001 Bush tax cuts need to be dealt with. That's not to mention the 372 bills that this session of Congress has started working on but never finished, which deal with such critical issues as climate change, post-Citizens campaign finance reform, and food safety.Read Full Article
As we mentioned last week, The Hill recently reported that there are 372 bills that have been passed by the House but not yet been acted upon by the Senate. Which chamber is at fault for this? Is the House wildly passing superfluous bills, or is the Senate failing to keep up with matters that need to be addressed? For the most part, the latter. According to our analysis of data from OpenCongress and GovTrack, the House has passed many broadly popular bills that are stalling in the Senate for reasons other than their content.Read Full Article
On a party-line vote of 219-212, the House of Representatives has passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that fulfills President Obama's goals of reducing health care costs, increasing choices for consumers and guaranteeing access to quality, affordable insurance for all Americans. The bill has already passed the Senate and will be sent to President Obama immediately to be signed into law.
"At a time when pundits said it was no longer possible, we rose above the weight of our politics," President Obama said after the vote. "This is what change looks like."
The bill is widely considered the biggest domestic policy achievement by any President or session of Congress since Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Social Security Act of 1965 into law 45 years ago, creating Medicare.Read Full Article
The past year in Congress was one of the most productive sessions ever. But don't worry -- the lobbyists in Washington have managed to keep up with the pace, spending more money on influencing federal policy than ever before.Read Full Article
The 111th Congress "worked more days in 2009 than they have in any year since 1995, when the Republican party took control of both houses of Congress," according to research from the Sunlight Foundation.Read Full Article
Congressional leaders may have decided which bills to bring in front of the C-SPAN cameras over the past year, but they didn't control what the public paid attention to and what bills got them talking. Nearly 10,000 bills have been introduced in Congress over the past year. In many cases the ones that have really caught the public's attention are different from the ones that were sanctioned and promoted by the congressional leadership.Read Full Article