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113th Congress just barely avoids being the least productive in history

The 113th Congress will just have to settle for being bad instead of the worst – at least as far as productivity is concerned.

President Obama signed a whopping 51 bills Thursday, the White House announced, bringing the most recent tally of laws enacted in the past Congress to 286, according to a Los Angeles Times review.

That would be just three more than the 283 public laws enacted in the previous Congress that served from 2011-12, which was the lowest tally since formal record-keeping began in 1947.

The previous low before that was 333 public laws in the 104th Congress that came to power in the Newt Gingrich Revolution of 1994.

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As usual, the so-called lame duck period of Congress that followed the elections proved anything but. Of the 286 laws passed since this Congress convened in January 2013, more than a third were passed and signed just since Nov. 1.
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But for every major piece of legislation like the $1.1-trillion funding bill (or “Cromnibus”) and a new defense authorization bill, there were dozens of parochial items among the unfinished business.
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In fact, a Times review found that 56 of the new laws produced by this Congress – about 1 in every 5 – is simply to name or rename federal buildings, roads, or bridges – including 38 post offices.

The final act of the Senate when it adjourned late Tuesday evening was to approve a resolution “honoring conservation on the centennial of the passenger pigeon extinction.” The measure does not require a presidential signature, though.

Follow @mikememoli for more news out of Washington.

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