The outgoing 111th Congress is among the most productive in history, in spite of its reputation for gridlock and 13 percent approval rating. Democrats controlled the House and the Senate, and used their large majorities to push through landmark legislation with barely any GOP support. The post-election lame-duck session – typically a mopping-up operation to get out of town – also made history, passing key pieces of legislation, often with greater input from Republicans than had earlier been the case. People can argue the merits of what Congress did, but it’s hard to quibble with the scope of the undertaking. Here are six of this Congress’s major accomplishments, in the order in which they were approved.
Sales of existing homes in November rose 6.7 percent over the previous month, but still 27.3 percent below the level a year ago.
The first time these tax cuts passed, it was an even sadder weekend.
Home sales revived in November, but mortgage rates have been edging up. Some analysts say that might prompt more potential buyers to take the plunge now, before rates go even higher.
Passage of the spending bill, which goes to Obama for signing, averts a midnight government shutdown. It also leaves the bitter fight over spending to the next Congress.
Which is a better use of $850 billion dollars: spending it strategically or leaving it in taxpayer pockets?
Part of being a wise politician – and an adult – is compromising with your ideological rivals sometimes, especially when it's for the greater good of a divided government and recovering nation. Lately, it seems President Obama is the only grown-up in the room.
It's no coincidence that 'red' states, with looser building codes and freer economies, are gaining people and political clout, say analysts. After 2010 Census, 'blue' states look to be the losers.