According to the Washington Examiner, last year’s Senate was the laziest in 20 years:
On the passage of public laws, arguably its most important job, the Senate notched just 90, the second lowest in 20 years, and it passed a total of 402 measures, also the second lowest. And as the president has been complaining about, the chamber confirmed a 20-year low of 19,815 judicial and other nominations.
The Secretary of the Senate’s office didn’t comment on the statistics, but it did provide a comparison to action in 2009, the first term of the 111th Senate, when many of President Obama’s initiatives were considered by the Democratically-controlled House and Senate. By comparison the number of Senate bills offered last year was down 30 percent, the number of amendments offered sank 55 percent, and the number of roll call votes dropped 40 percent.
I would never dream of defending Harry Reid’s leadership, but let’s think about the metrics we want to use to measure the success or failure of the Senate. Given all of the bad law that emerges from Congress, the fact that the upper chamber failed to produce as much legislation last year as in years past may be a very good thing. The quality of legislation, if there is a causal relationship, is almost certainly inversely proportional to the quantity of legislation produced.