The
by Ric Jackson
July 7th, 2014

Partisan Politics Stall Productivity

We are officially 75 percent through the reign of the 113th Congress, and to many the end can’t come soon enough. Predictions that it would become one of the least productive in U.S. history are coming true with the next six months slated to be monopolized by campaigning for mid-term elections and fundraising.

Congress Enacted Laws Passed Resolutions Total Bills
113th Jan 03, 2013 -present 121

1%

515

6%

8,861
112th Jan 05, 2011 -Jan 03, 2013 284

2%

721

6%

12,299
111th
Jan 06, 2009 -Dec 22, 2010
385

3%

1,463

11%

13,675
110th Jan 04, 2007 -Jan 03, 2009 460

3%

1,434

10%

14,042
109th Jan 04, 2005 -Dec 09, 2006 483

4%

1,026

8%

13,072
108thJan 07, 2003 -Dec 09, 2004 504

5%

864

8%

10,669

Source: Bills by Final Status, https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/statistics

The numbers speak for themselves with 8,861 bills term-to-date compared to more than 12,000 last term and 14,000 during the term of the 110th Congress. And only 1% of those bills were enacted compared to 2% by the 112th Congress and a whopping 5% by the 108th Congress.

During this term, we also saw the recent failure of the Shaheen Bill, which would have spurred a number of incentives to create more efficient buildings, as well as failed attempts to resurrect the 25C federal tax rebate.

The Silver Lining?

Fortunately, it isn’t all doom and gloom. One bright spot is that we did get support from Congress on the issue of GSA exclusively specifying LEED v4 for its green building guidelines (although this matter is still up in the air as GSA just released its guidelines and as yet has not acknowledged its alternate approved program – Green Globes).

The other positive is that it’s almost over. The View from Here is if we want to ensure a more productive 114th Congress, we need to be aware of the issues and advocate for our industry wherever possible. If you haven’t already, consider inviting your members of Congress to tour your facility and let them know exactly how they can help support your business going forward (see blog post: Ten Tips for Hosting Government Officials).

Hopefully as we move forward we can leave some of the partisan politics behind and resume productivity at the end of this term.

What’s your view? Leave a comment here or email me directly at eric.jackson@quanex.com.

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