Confirmed: Democrat-controlled Senate the laziest in years

posted at 6:01 pm on April 16, 2012 by Tina Korbe

If the fact that the Senate — in defiance of the law — has failed to pass a budget in more than 1,000 days didn’t tip you off, a new report from Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson confirms that the current Senate is the laziest since 1992 (h/t Paul Bedard).

The Senate spent an average of just 6.5 hours in session on the 170 days it officially met, the second-lowest since 1992. The upper chamber passed just 90 public laws and 402 measures, both the second-lowest in 20 years. They confirmed just shy of 20,000 judicial and other nominations — or 19,815, a 20-year low.

It’s not just that the Senate is lazy, though: It’s that they’re apparently strategically lazy. Productivity is significantly down from 111th Senate, which met in 2009, when Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate.

A few thoughts: While it’s shabby that the Senate hasn’t passed a budget, the generally decreased productivity might actually be a positive. That means the government is passing fewer laws, in general, and, given the countless unintended consequences of the legislation Congresses have hastily passed in the past, that just means we have fewer such unintended consequences with which to cope. Secondly, who knew 19,815 judicial and other appointments was a 20-year low? That seems to say nothing so much as it says that the bureaucracy has swelled to an insane size. Finally, though, the discrepancy between the activity of the Senate in 2009 and the activity of the Senate last year suggests, again, that the “laziness” of the Senate is strategic. Majority leader Harry Reid and the Democratic senators are intentionally not giving Republicans anything with which to work. That could be because they tried early on in the session — say during the debt ceiling debate — and found it impossible to force their proposals through or because they’ve found it’s politically more advantageous to wait to see House Republicans’ proposals and shoot them down. Either way, the lack of effort in the Senate shows bad faith and an unwillingness to engage the process that, while difficult, occasionally leads to productive outcomes. The president and Senate Dems really cannot accuse Republicans of failing to compromise on budgetary or any other matters if they refuse to give Republicans any material from which to incorporate Democratic proposals into their own. The conciliatory process cannot happen when one side will not take part.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

The less time in session the better. Democrat or Republican controlled.

Aplombed on April 16, 2012 at 6:06 PM

What Budget?
We just SPEND!
Spending’s no work!

KOOLAID2 on April 16, 2012 at 6:10 PM

You think that eventually they would run out of laws to pass.

tommer74 on April 16, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Where else can you have LAWMAKER’s blatantly break the law and get paid for it…and give themselves perks and raises?
Hope & Change baby!

KOOLAID2 on April 16, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Who needs the senate when you can have executive orders or unelected bureacrats in fredom squelching agencies expand their reach? Odd too how a lack of a budget has not kept them from spending trillions more than they take in.

AnotherOpinion on April 16, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Hey! Harry has “a plan”. It’s called “not having a plan”. This way he can be more “flexible”.

GarandFan on April 16, 2012 at 6:15 PM

“…in defiance of the law — has failed to pass a budget in more than 1,000 days…”

Law? What law?

Just as the hypothetical posits no sound from a falling tree if there’s no ear to hear, is a law truly a law if enforcement is non-existent?

locomotivebreath1901 on April 16, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Thats the travesty of our Democracy. And the media is supportive.

FlaMurph on April 16, 2012 at 6:18 PM

The Democrats have been Free-Lancing their Lilly-Pads
and in the last three years,they also have been Lolly
-Gagging,

on Jobs….economy,and ad nausem to infinity!

canopfor on April 16, 2012 at 6:23 PM

Who needs to pass laws when the president just rules by Executive Order and unaccountable csars?

Trafalgar on April 16, 2012 at 6:27 PM

locomotivebreath1901 on April 16, 2012 at 6:16 PM

BUDGETS? We don’t need no stinkin’ budgets!

The upper chamber passed just 90 public laws and 402 measures, both the second-lowest in 20 years

At least they did something right.

Laura in Maryland on April 16, 2012 at 6:27 PM

Speaking of the Senate,the Buffet Rule has failed,er,

REJECTED!!!

canopfor on April 16, 2012 at 6:27 PM

After the 2010 bloodbath, they’re all shellshocked.

They assumed voters would fall down and worship them after the long-delayed orgy of giant new social programs and regulations when they controlled Congress and the White House.

Didn’t work out exactly as they planned.

logis on April 16, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Aplombed on April 16, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Agreed, finding it hard to get too worked up about those fools not “working”.

Cindy Munford on April 16, 2012 at 6:31 PM

So nothing has changed since Obama was a bastard pup.

mike0993 on April 16, 2012 at 6:32 PM

Obama has floated various strategies during the past two years for this Campaign cycle.

1. The Do Nothing Congress (I like Lazy Senate better.)
2. Bush
3. War on Women (Contraception/Abortion and/or the SAHM Luxury)
4. Class War Fare

This do nothing or lazy senate is the assistance Harry intends to give Obama on his campaign strategy of the ‘Do Nothing Congress’. While this may have worked for Truman, I think that due to the other trial balloons floated out by the Obama Campaign the ‘Do Nothing Congress’ meme or running platform has not soared as high as they would have liked.

That is why they are back on the blame Bush, as that was the last Successful meme or campaign platform. “Fighting the previous war” is what they have left.

If this becomes the campaign meme, Romney needs to send out a add showing numbers of the productivity of the Congress (R Controlled) and the Sentat (D Controlled). Pointing to these numbers noted above worst Senate since 1992. There was a reason for that back then as there is today.

uhangtight on April 16, 2012 at 6:51 PM

It’s Obama himself who’s lazy.

He says so himself. Notice he didn’t have much to do with the health bill or anything. He has his campaign manager (Axelgrease) acting as the brains of the operation. What he did was say to congress “I want this country taken down the communist road” (paraphrased), and hit the golf course. Lazy lazy lazy O. Take another vacation please.

anotherJoe on April 16, 2012 at 6:56 PM

Now I realize why all the old farts want to stay in office forever—they don’t do much and get nice perks.
Unfortunately what they do pass is usually bad for US.

arnold ziffel on April 16, 2012 at 6:56 PM

It could also be said that Reid’s Senate is working exceedingly hard not to work. Exhibit A: The Budget.

On the plus side, I agree that a Senate (and Congress) on hiatus is a feature, not a bug. If only we could hide that in a virus and insert the program into The Executive.

AnonymousDrivel on April 16, 2012 at 7:03 PM

Petty progressive tyrants, let them go down in history with this asterisk next to their names.

Dr Evil on April 16, 2012 at 7:06 PM

has failed to pass a budget in more than 1,000 days

Yeah because the GOP has stopped it for political reasons, they do not want any budget to pass to put tlal the blame on the republicans.

damian1967 on April 16, 2012 at 7:15 PM

The less time in session the better. Democrat or Republican controlled.

Aplombed on April 16, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Overall I agree but we need the Pubs to get in there and start reversing O-Care and the anti-job mentality in Washington.

CW on April 16, 2012 at 7:15 PM

In other news, water is wet.

TulsAmerican on April 16, 2012 at 7:49 PM

You think the Founding Fathers ever considered that the advise and consent role for the Senate would lead to 19,815 confirmations being a slow term?

J-Paul00 on April 16, 2012 at 7:50 PM

Yeah because the GOP has stopped it for political reasons, they do not want any budget to pass to put tlal the blame on the republicans.

damian1967 on April 16, 2012 at 7:15 PM

You really are dumb, I don’t care where you went to school. The democrat controlled senate has not put up a budget for the republicans to stop.

Night Owl on April 16, 2012 at 8:14 PM

Yeah because the GOP has stopped it for political reasons, they do not want any budget to pass to put tlal the blame on the republicans.

damian1967 on April 16, 2012 at 7:15 PM

You must have not gotten the memo. Gotta stop saying that because the Senate is controlled by the Dems… in case you have wondered…

watertown on April 16, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Budgets involve the House, Senate, and President. Give credit/blame to the party that controls the majority (2 or 3) of those 3. The Democrats have held majority control since January 2007.

Let’s look at the TRUE DEFICIT(*) from the Republican majority fiscal years and compare it to the TRUE DEFICIT from the following Democrat majority fiscal years…

————————————————————————————————————–
Republican majority FY 2002: Deficit = $421 Billion ($0.421 Trillion)
Republican majority FY 2003: Deficit = $555 Billion ($0.555 Trillion)
Republican majority FY 2004: Deficit = $596 Billion ($0.596 Trillion)
Republican majority FY 2005: Deficit = $554 Billion ($0.554 Trillion)
Republican majority FY 2006: Deficit = $574 Billion ($0.574 Trillion)
Republican majority FY 2007: Deficit = $501 Billion ($0.501 Trillion)
————————————————————————————————————–
Democrat majority FY 2008: Deficit = $1,017 Billion ($1.017 Trillion)
Democrat majority FY 2009: Deficit = $1,885 Billion ($1.885 Trillion)
Democrat majority FY 2010: Deficit = $1,652 Billion ($1.652 Trillion)
Democrat majority FY 2011: Deficit = $1,229 Billion ($1.229 Trillion)
Democrat majority FY 2012: Deficit = $1,390 Billion ($1.390 Trillion) {PROJECTED}
————————————————————————————————————–

TRUE DEFICIT(*): See:

Historical Debt Outstanding – Annual 2000 – 2010

To get around all of Washington’s budgeting gimmicks, I stick to just the actual debt outstanding on the Fiscal Year end date (September 30th each year).

I take the the total debt from one fiscal year end date and subtract the total debt from the prior fiscal year end date, and I call that additional debt accumulated the TRUE DEFICIT for that fiscal year.

Budgets involve the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the President. I give “Credit”/”Blame” to the party which controlled a majority of those three at the time the FY budget was passed (or should have been passed).

The last calendar year that the republicans held majority control was 2006, and they passed the FY 2007 budget.

The last majority Republican budget produced a true deficit of $501 Billion. Every majority Democrat fiscal year since then has produced a true deficit more than twice that, and the Democrats’ Fiscal Year 2009 budget produced a true deficit more than three and 3/4 times that… $1,885 Billion ($1.885 Trillion)!

The only way to change that is to win back the House, Senate and Presidency with conservative majorities.

ITguy on April 16, 2012 at 9:42 PM

The upper chamber passed just 90 public laws and 402 measures, both the second-lowest in 20 years.

I would view that as a feature, not a flaw. As a matter of fact, I’d love to see them spending time repealing laws vs. passing them.

We need an amendment to the constitution that states that for every law passed by congress, two need to be repealed. After a period of 10 years, we can reduce that to a one for one ratio

AZfederalist on April 16, 2012 at 10:16 PM

I wonder if Harrahs’ is getting an expected return on investment of, er, recommending employees support Harry Reid (D-Harrahs) during all that funny business that kept Dingy Harry afloat in November 2010 ?

viking01 on April 16, 2012 at 10:32 PM

wish it was a 200-year low.

John Kettlewell on April 16, 2012 at 11:40 PM

Laziest? And yet the most profligate spenders in history! DemonRats are killing us with laziness!

insidiator on April 17, 2012 at 7:53 AM

Thats the travesty of our Democracy Republic. And the media is supportive.

FlaMurph on April 16, 2012 at 6:18 PM

Now I will agree.

Yeah because the GOP has stopped it for political reasons, they do not want any budget to pass to put tlal the blame on the republicans.

damian1967 on April 16, 2012 at 7:15 PM

What?
Are you always this incoherent? Open the basement window so the pot smoke gets aired out of your room.
It’ll also allow your mom to come down & make sure you’re alive.

Badger40 on April 17, 2012 at 8:21 AM