Did the Least Productive Congress in History Boost Stocks?

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After years of moving from one self-inflicted crisis to the next, the political bobbleheads on Capitol Hill have managed to dance their way to embarrassing productivity levels — even for Washington standards.

With the help of the fiscal cliff debacle and a highly publicized government shutdown debate, the current group of Congress members will enter the record books as the least productive group of lawmakers in decades. The first session of the 113th Congress passed only 55 substantive laws, which excludes only purely ceremonial legislation such as post-office renamings and commemorative-coin authorizations, according to Pew Research Center and the Library of Congress.

In comparison, the 112th and 111th Congress passed 63 and 79 laws in their first year, respectively. Since the 108th Congress passed 144 laws in 2003, the number of laws passed each year has been declining steadily. One could argue that Congress should also be judged on its ability to repeal laws, but as Pew Research points out, the current Congress hasn’t repealed any laws either.

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