The Senate's final week in session for 2013 is anticipated to accomplish mostly nothing, if previous behavior is to be expected. Over at The New York Times, they crunched the numbers to prove mathematically that this year's legislative session was one of the least productive in recent memory:
According to data analyzed by The New York Times, the House of Representatives, which ended its business for the year last week, left town with the distinction of having been at work for the fewest hours in a nonelection year since 2005, when detailed information about legislative activity became available.
Not counting brief, pro forma sessions, the House was in session for 942 hours, an average of about 28 hours each week it conducted business in Washington. That is far lower than the nearly 1,700 hours it was in session in 2007, the 1,350 hours in 2005 or even the 1,200 in 2011.
By a similar measure, the Senate was near its recorded lows for days on the floor. Senators have spent 99 days casting votes this year, close to the recent low point for a nonelection year in 1991, when there were 95 voting days.
Congratulations to Congress, we guess? Among the topics that went largely unaddressed: gun legislation, NSA surveillance, immigration, the Postal Service's cratering financials, the cost of Medicare, and the tax code.
This week, the Senate will address a budget bill that sailed through the House of Representatives but still doesn't have a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate. Republicans seem to be split on the issue. The two-year budget has some benefits for Democrats as well, because if it passes, Congress won't have to vote on a budget during a midterm election year.