Do-nothing Congress? Not by a long shot
By Jim Abrams (Associated Press)
The public panned it. Republicans obstructed it. Many Democrats fled from it. Even so, the session of Congress now drawing to a close was the most productive in nearly half a century….
….In terms of legislative successes, the current session of Congress is “at least on a par with the 89th Congress” of 1965-66, said Norman Ornstein, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
But, he added, Republicans have done all they could to discredit Congress, and Democrats have failed to sell their agenda. Moreover, it will take years to fully feel the effects of the health-care law and financial regulation.
“A world dominated by bickering and epithet-throwing and bomb-tossing in Washington obscures accomplishments,” Ornstein said.
Congress passed an $814 billion economic-stimulus package soon after President Obama took office, tapping a staggering sum of money to avoid a full-blown depression. ….The two other landmark acts of this session were the health-care overhaul, a giant step toward universal coverage that had eluded presidents back to Franklin Roosevelt if not Teddy Roosevelt, and the Wall Street accountability act.
Obama has also signed into law at least a dozen other pieces of legislation of significance. They include:
Making college loans more affordable.
The Cash for Clunkers program to help the auto industry.
New consumer protections for credit-card users.
Making it easier for women to challenge pay discrimination.
Increasing federal regulation of tobacco products.
Cracking down on waste in Pentagon weapons acquisition.
Making attacks based on sexual orientation a federal hate crime.
Giving businesses tax incentives to hire unemployed workers.
Tax credits for first-time homeowners.