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Bills passed, bills ignored: A look at Congress in inaction

  • Senate legislation unaddressed by the House

    Senate legislation unaddressed by the House

  • Senate legislation unaddressed by the House

    Senate legislation unaddressed by the House

  • Senate legislation unaddressed by the House

    Senate legislation unaddressed by the House

  • Senate legislation unaddressed by the House
  • Senate legislation unaddressed by the House
  • Senate legislation unaddressed by the House

One of the most frequent arguments offered by House Republicans to demonstrate how hard they are working is to point out that there are more than 300 bills passed by the House that are waiting for action in the Senate.

The argument is often used to rebut claims that this is a “do-nothing” Congress, or, particularly recently, to counter President Obama’s insistence that he must act because Congress won’t. The thing is: Those Republicans are right. There are more than 300 bills waiting for Senate action. But the other thing is, that’s pretty much how things have always been.

GovTrack.us uses data to assess the number of bills passed by the House that never saw action in the Senate. The site, which compiles data on legislation stretching back decades, flags each bill by its current status. For hundreds of bills from each of the past 20 Congresses, the current status is what it was when the Congress adjourned: waiting for Senate consideration that will never come.

In 11 of the past 19 Congresses – more than half – more than 300 bills were waiting for Senate action by the time Congress completed its work. Here are the number of bills passed by the House in each Congress that the Senate never took action on. Graphics illustrate legislation that was introduced, legislation that went unaddressed and which parties controlled the House during each Congress – light gray for Republicans and dark gray for Democrats.

There was a big spike in the number of bills the Senate ignored when Democrats controlled both chambers.

It works the other way, too, of course. Lots of bills are passed by the Senate that the House ignores. There are more than 70 bills that meet that criterion at this moment.

Legacy Comments2

a reader might ask when was the last time the democrat controlled Senate put any budget through regular order - passed each appropriations bill - held a conference with the House and passed a budget on to the president for his signature. If you don't know the answer then you are a LIDV

352 bills that passed the House sit on democrat Senate leader Harry GRIDLOCK Reid’s desk. FACTS: - 98% passed with bipartisan support – 70% passed with 2/3rds support or more – 50% passed with no opposition at all, 55 were introduced by democrats. democrat Harry GRIDLOCK Reid refuses to bring them up for a vote. NObama and the democrats blame the Republicans. democrats Politics 101 Now you know why it is so critical to replace old and tired democrat Shaheen..... unless of course you think things are going swimmingly

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