The Wall Street Journal claims the current congress has passed the fewest number of bills in living memory. Or something like that:
The 110th Congress, whose term officially ends in January, hasn't passed any spending bills or attacked high gasoline prices. But it has used its powers to celebrate watermelons and to decree the origins of the word "baseball."
Barring a burst of legislative activity after Labor Day, this group of 535 men and women will have accomplished a rare feat. In two decades of record keeping, no sitting Congress has passed fewer public laws at this point in the session -- 294 so far -- than this one. That's not to say they've been idle. On the flip side, no Congress in the same 20 years has been so prolific when it comes to proposing resolutions -- more than 1,900, according to a tally by the nonpartisan Taxpayers for Common Sense.
With the mostly symbolic measures, Congress has saluted such milestones as the Idaho Potato Commission's 70th anniversary and recognized soil as an "essential natural resource." As legislation on gasoline prices, tax fixes and predatory lending languish, Congress has designated May 5-9 as National Substitute Teacher Recognition Week, and set July 28 as the Day of the American Cowboy.
In short, Congress has been excelling at accomplishing meaningless and pointless things while completely abdicating real responsibility on things that matter -- war and spending -- to the executive, which can exercise untrammeled and unaccountable (and unconstitutional) power.
I like the fact that Congress is passing few laws -- Livy, in the his history of Rome, describes a five year period in which the Roman senate passed no new laws at all -- but it would be nice if they took their constitutional obligations seriously. Ahh, but that's why God created the "commander-in-chief," is it not?