D.C. Gridlock Creates 'Do-Nothing' Congress

The new Democrat majority in the House of Representatives and the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate are combining to get very little done so far in the 116th Congress. Since the new Congress took office in January, just 12 bills have passed the House and Senate and been signed into law. Among them are items like renaming a veterans center in Utah and revising the charter for the National Future Farmers of America.

This type of inaction is typical in a divided Congress, according to SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson. "And that is particularly the case in years leading up to a presidential election," he tells KTRH. "And so I think we can expect relatively little cooperation between the Democratic House and the Republican Senate."

Another factor is that besides being ideologically divided, the parties controlling each chamber of Congress have much different priorities heading into the 2020 election. "The Senate is focused on passing judicial nominations for the court, and the Democrats in the House have a big agenda that they want to put out before the presidential election," says Jillson.

That House agenda is not likely to go anywhere in the Senate. "Democrats in the House are putting up an agenda in 2020 that includes climate change, a rise in the minimum wage, improvements to Obamacare...a broad, domestic policy agenda," says Jillson. And when they aren't pushing those liberal policies, the Dems are ramping up investigations into President Trump.

For its part, the Senate has been productive in one aspect---approving judicial and executive branch nominees. Since the start of the year, more than 200 Trump nominees have won Senate confirmation. "The Republican Senate is approving President Trump's judges, making the courts more conservative," says Jillson.

 

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