113th Congress Set To Become The Most “Do Nothing Congress” On Record


With both the House and the Senate adjourned for the year – both are scheduled to return to Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2014 – we can now safely say that 2013 was the least productive year by far in modern history.  Furthermore the 113th Congress (each “Congress” is two years long; the 113th Congress covers the years 2013 and 2014) is well on its way to being the least productive Congress in modern history.  That dubious honor is currently held by the 112th Congress, which sent only 283 bills to President Obama for his signature in 2011 & 2012.  So far the 113th Congress, which is half-way over, has only sent 65 bills to President Obama to be signed into law.  The average, since 1947, has been over 600 bills signed into law over a two-year Congress.  Sadly, the most memorable action taken by the 113th Congress to date has been the government-wide shutdown, which lasted 16 days in October, 2013, and cost the American taxpayers an additional $24 billion. 

The one bright spot in 2013 from the NAACP standpoint was the confirmations of several federal nominees we strongly supported who will promote our goals and agenda from a regulatory and judicial standpoint.  These include Rich Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Tom Perez as U.S. Secretary of Labor; Anthony Foxx as U.S. Secretary of Transportation; B. Todd Jones to be Director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Patrick Gaspard as U.S. Ambassador to South Africa; Congressman Melvin “Mel” Watt as Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency; and Patricia Millett and Cornelia  “Nina” Pillard to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Americans today, and disproportionately racial and ethnic minority Americans, and African Americans in particular, continue to face a large number of deeply challenging problems.  We deserve a Congress which offers real solutions.  For this reason, the NAACP Washington Bureau will continue to work to expose these problems and promote real solutions.  Included in the issues we will be promoting strongly in 2014 are job training and creation; an increase in the federal minimum wage; expanded access to safe, clean, and affordable housing; fair, responsible, sustainable, and non-predatory access to capital; an end to racial profiling by law enforcement officials; the enactment of safe, sane, and sensible gun violence prevention proposals including the elimination of deadly and reckless “shoot first” policies such as “stand your ground” laws; an enhancement of the quality of public schools for all students; a permanent increase in higher education grants and a decrease in federal student loan interest rates; an aggressive federal plan to address the prevention and treatment of AIDS; a continuation of the programs in the Affordable Health Care Act which means full implementation of more inclusive health care coverage for all Americans; the renewal, repair and strengthening of the Voting Rights Act; and an end to discriminatory laws and policies such as photo ID requirements and ex-felony offender disenfranchisement to name but a few.  We will also continue to promote the confirmation of nominees to crucial positions in the executive and judicial branches which are crucial to the mission and the agenda of the NAACP including Debo Adegbile as U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights and Judge Robert Wilkins for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.