The most uniquely dysfunctional, least popular, and least productive Congress in history

“Something has gone terribly wrong when the biggest threat to our American economy is the American Congress.” — Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia

First Read: “Regardless of what happens today, the 112th Congress is going to wind up as the least popular and least productive Congress (in terms of legislation becoming law) in the modern era. For starters, Congress’ approval rating the last time the NBC/WSJ poll measured it (in August 2012) was just 12%, and a whopping 82% disapproved of Congress — the highest percentage in the history of our NBC/WSJ poll. In addition, just 219 bills have been passed into law — the lowest number since Congress began tracking this number in the 1940s. (And many of these bills were naming courthouses or post offices.) The previous low was 333 in the 104th Congress (1995-1996).”

“Throughout its history, of course, Congress has always been a dysfunctional place; in fact, the Founding Fathers ensured it that way (with the federal government’s checks and balances). But this particular Congress, which comes to an end on Jan. 3, has been uniquely dysfunctional. Just consider: the current fiscal-cliff debate, the debt-ceiling standoff of 2011 that resulted in an S&P credit downgrade, the Super Committee’s failure, the near government shutdown in the spring of 2011, the defeat of the U.N. Disabilities treaty, etc. With the debt ceiling, the fiscal cliff, and the near government shutdown, it’s hard not to conclude that Congress has been an active player in the sluggishness of the U.S. economy.”

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The 112th Congress — which finally comes to an end on Thursday — is officially, and by all quantifiable means known to man, and without any exaggeration, the worst. If John Boehner and Mitch McConnell were to stand up to give thanks for this ‘award,’ Oscar-style, they would have to first embrace each other before wiping their eyes and listing: the teaparty and American fundagelicals, Grover Norquist, every Fox “news” host and co-host, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, every House Republican who bravely collected a paycheck while refusing to work, war criminals like Dick Cheney, billionaires like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson, and professional and semi-professional grifters like Karl Rove and Sarah Palin.

Tonight, let’s all raise our glasses to toast an end to this malarkey.

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