The 113th U.S. Congress which ended Jan. 3, 2015 received extremely bad grades, and unflatteringly nicknamed by frustrated American citizens the “Do-Nothing Congress.” Experts called it one of the most unproductive legislative periods of all time. While just 285 bills cleared the House of Representatives and the Senate, the 20 previous congresses managed an average of 564. But it was not just this statistic that made it a stalemate legislature.
In October 2013, for example, the tough dispute about the federal budget meant that many government agencies had to stay closed for weeks. Important political projects such as immigration reform, regulation concerning climate change, minimum wage and health care for war veterans fell victim to the Republican blockade. And there is little hope that things will be better with the 114th Congress which began work on Tuesday. Not just because up to 80 percent of its members are white men of Christian faith and therefore, on a personal level, hardly reflective of the far-reaching problems in “God’s own country.” Republicans now dominate both houses and have signaled their bitter opposition to President Obama in his last two years in office. The stalemate threatens to last.
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