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Obama scores the worst legislative record in history

Posted by on Jan. 18, 2017 at 12:18 PM
  • 18 Replies

Obama scores the worst legislative record in history

Signed fewer bills into law than one-term Carter




By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

President Obama oversaw the deepest legislative malaise in modern political history, according to the Washington Times Legislative Index, which captures his struggles to find ways to work with a Congress that ranged from lukewarm to openly hostile toward him.

Over the course of his eight years, he has signed just 1,227 bills into law - less, even, than one-term Presidents Carter and George H.W. Bush. Digging deeper into the numbers, Congress spent less time in session, handled fewer business on the chamber floors and generally sputtered for much of Mr. Obama's tenure, according to The Times' index.

Blame for the poor showing falls across Washington. Some analysts say a Congress with four years of divided control hamstrung Mr. Obama, while others say the president failed to find ways to work with the legislature that voters gave him - particularly after the 2010 elections.

"The president was never good at reaching across the aisle. So when the composition of Congress changed relative to what it was in his first two years, he wasn't able to accommodate that very well," said Andrew Busch, a presidential scholar at Claremont McKenna College in California. "He never accustomed himself to operating in a system where he was not the sole player."

It's all the more stunning for Mr. Obama having emerged from the legislature himself, having served first in the Illinois Statehouse and then in the U.S. Senate, where he spent two years in a Republican-controlled Congress and two years in a Democrat-run Congress.

He was the first president since John F. Kennedy to make the leap directly from Capitol Hill to the White House, but he took a mostly hands-off approach, leaving his former colleagues on their own to hash out the details of bills. 


"Could he have potentially reached out more? I think that's a fair criticism," said Joshua C. Huder, a senior fellow at Georgetown University's Government Affairs Institute.

But he said lawmakers on Capitol Hill were putting up more roadblocks than they did to previous presidents - particularly when power was split in the House and Senate in the 112th and 113th congresses.

"You have to look at Congress. They didn't give him anything, essentially," Mr. Huder said. "Most of this lays on Congress for those four years it was divided between Republicans and Democrats."

The White House didn't respond to repeated requests for comment, but Mr. Obama, in his farewell speech, ticked off a list of accomplishments: working on the economy, bolstering the auto industry, opening diplomatic relations with Cuba, striking a nuclear deal with Iran, ordering the assault that killed Osama bin Laden, arguing for same-sex marriage in the courts and enacting Obamacare. Of those, only health care and the economy required work with Congress.

Mr. Obama's best years were in 2009 and 2010, when his fellow Democrats held massive majorities in both the House and Senate. He achieved legacy-defining laws including Obamacare, the 2009 stimulus and a new set of rules for Wall Street in the Dodd-Frank legislation.

But even accounting for those big bills, the 111th Congress was still far from active by standards of the post-World War II era. The 383 bills signed into law made it the sixth least productive Congress on record. Even measured by the broader Times Legislative Index, it was middle of the pack.

The 2010 elections put Republicans in control of the House but left Democrats with a majority in the Senate, sending legislative activity into a tailspin for the next four years.

The 112th and 113th congresses were the worst on record, according to the The Times' index, which checks a broad set of legislative measures, including amount of time spent in session, number of bills considered by each chamber, number of votes taken and number of bicameral conference reports approved. The index is based on data from the Congressional Record, which tracks back to 1947 and spans 35 Congresses.

Even in 2015, when Republicans gained control of the Senate and kept control of the House, things were still stagnant, notching the third-worst Congress in The Times' Index.

Democrats say that's evidence that the problem lay with a Republican Party determined to deny Mr. Obama any major accomplishments.

By comparison, they pointed to the final two years under President George W. Bush, when Democrats controlled Congress and found ways to work on a number of big issues. Indeed, the 110th Congress placed in the top third in The Times index, passing a major energy bill, a first stab at an economic stimulus, a minimum wage increase and a new GI bill to send veterans from the war on terrorism back to school.

Mr. Obama never found that common ground with congressional Republicans, however, leaving a striking list of unaccomplished goals: major tax reform, a legacy-building Pacific trade deal, a long-sought immigration overhaul and climate change legislation.

Despite his most fervent pleas, Mr. Obama failed to make any headway on gun control, Mr. Huder said.

"That's something that he really, really pushed. He put in a lot of effort," he said.

Stymied in Congress, Mr. Obama took steps on his own instead.

On gun control, he expanded the universe of people who faced background checks on gun purchases. On global warming, he imposed a series of regulations meant to phase out much of the fossil-fuel-based economy. On immigration, he announced two deportation amnesties, a 2012 policy aimed at protecting hundreds of thousands of so-called Dreamers and a 2014 policy aimed at as many as 4 million illegal immigrant parents.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest, in his final daily briefing, blamed Republicans for forcing Mr. Obama to act unilaterally.

"We ran into a brick wall of opposition when it comes to Republicans when they took power in 2011," he said. "And so we didn't pass as much legislatively as we would have liked to have done, but the president did use his executive authority to advance our country's interests and to advance the agenda that he was seeking to implement."

 

by on Jan. 18, 2017 at 12:18 PM
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Replies (1-10):
CStarz
by Member on Jan. 18, 2017 at 12:24 PM
Late to the dance as usual BJ.

This is hardly news- we are all acutely aware of how difficult congress was to work with over the last 8 years. I doubt it will be any better for Trump with the exception that 'his' party is the majority by a hand full of seats.

Could be interesting with his own disavowing him left, right and center.
grandmab125
by Ruby Member on Jan. 18, 2017 at 12:44 PM

BUMP!

Jambo4
by Platinum Member on Jan. 18, 2017 at 2:32 PM
2 moms liked this

Yeah, he did nothing to try to work with the Republicans.  He has had  no ability to "reach across the aisle" Sad, really since he said he'd be a unifier.   It was his way or executive order.

Clairwil
by Platinum Member on Jan. 18, 2017 at 3:13 PM


Quoting Billiejeens:

Obama scores the worst legislative record in history

Signed fewer bills into law than one-term Carter

Over the course of his eight years, he has signed just 1,227 bills into law - less, even, than one-term Presidents Carter and George H.W. Bush. 

That is indeed a shameful record.

Shameful for those behind it.   We know who is behind it, because they openly declared their aim:


Here’s John Boehner, the likely speaker if Republicans take the House, offering his plans for Obama’s agenda: “We're going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell summed up his plan to National Journal: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”



The shame is also of the electorate, that they didn't pay attention and punish the Republicans for their sabotage of all the jobs bills put forwards.

Clairwil
by Platinum Member on Jan. 18, 2017 at 3:16 PM
3 moms liked this


Quoting Jambo4:

he did nothing to try to work with the Republicans.

There was nothing he _could_ have done.     Even when he proposed legislation previously proposed by the Republican candidate for president, the Republicans blocked it.

They chose to harm America, rather than let anything pass, in case it would let Obama seem successful.

Billiejeens
by Emerald Member on Jan. 18, 2017 at 3:41 PM
2 moms liked this


Quoting Clairwil:


Quoting Jambo4:

he did nothing to try to work with the Republicans.

There was nothing he _could_ have done.     Even when he proposed legislation previously proposed by the Republican candidate for president, the Republicans blocked it.

They chose to harm America, rather than let anything pass, in case it would let Obama seem successful.

Or the republicans worked to prevent further harm.

Here is my evidence that the American People are with me.

In the three elections that did not have Obama's name on the ballot - the Republicans gained about 1200 elected seats, combined Federal State and Local.

People liked Obama personally - they hated his policies.

He was repudiated as no politician in history.

I live in NC -

NC had been controlled by the Democratic for over 100 years.

In 2010 Democrats in NC were so terrified of Obama's policies that they voted in Republican to control every level of Government.

Today - only 5 of the 50 states are controlled by Democrats.

Obama's legacy is that he turned The Democratic Party to a regional party, it cost us 8 years of nonsense, but destroying The Democratic Party as a National Party, may have been worth the cost.


LGAll65
by on Jan. 18, 2017 at 3:53 PM
1 mom liked this
Thank the Republicans for this, BJ.
They said in 2008 that they would reject anything and everything and work against him if he was elected. So, once he was sworn in, the Repubs started their campaign against him.
Many said they wanted him to fail and they'd do everything they could to bring it about.
Disgusting.
So now that Trump will be President ---who will you have as the the target for your hate?
You'll be so bored.
Sob ....
Jambo4
by Platinum Member on Jan. 18, 2017 at 4:19 PM

You forgot to blame Bush.  Your apologetic rant isn't complete. 

Quoting LGAll65: Thank the Republicans for this, BJ. They said in 2008 that they would reject anything and everything and work against him if he was elected. So, once he was sworn in, the Repubs started their campaign against him. Many said they wanted him to fail and they'd do everything they could to bring it about. Disgusting. So now that Trump will be President ---who will you have as the the target for your hate? You'll be so bored. Sob ....


Ednarooni160
by on Jan. 18, 2017 at 4:24 PM

Wasn't happy with Obama and wasn't happy with some of the rinos in there..

Billiejeens
by Emerald Member on Jan. 18, 2017 at 4:31 PM
2 moms liked this

Only boring people get bored

Quoting LGAll65: Thank the Republicans for this, BJ. They said in 2008 that they would reject anything and everything and work against him if he was elected. So, once he was sworn in, the Repubs started their campaign against him. Many said they wanted him to fail and they'd do everything they could to bring it about. Disgusting. So now that Trump will be President ---who will you have as the the target for your hate? You'll be so bored. Sob ....


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