The Best Antidote to Gridlock? A Deadline.

More from Scott Adler and John Wilkerson:

Reauthorizations and appropriations also represented the bulk of successful lawmaking during the first 20 months of the 112th Congress. Although there is nothing truly compulsory about an expiring law or appropriations, such internally imposed deadlines do appear to foster cooperation even among lawmakers who have significant difficulty cooperating under other circumstances.
Furthermore…the highly partisan 112th Congress is not just passing brief extensions of expiring programs and appropriations;  it is also passing substantively important updates (for example the Defense and FAA reauthorizations).  Further, such reauthorization efforts often serve as the pretext for policy changes that go well beyond the stated purpose of the legislation.  For example, Title I of the 102 page Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96) extended the payroll tax reduction (less than one page), while seven other Titles reformed unemployment compensation law, Medicare payment rates, and authorized spectrum auctions, among other things.

Your 112th Congress: more productive than they’re getting credit for?

One Response to The Best Antidote to Gridlock? A Deadline.

  1. Acilius October 25, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    Yes, quite productive. I’m always baffled as to where the idea that recent Congresses have been unproductive comes from; in the years since “Partisan Gridlock” became the compulsory headline for every story about Congress, they’ve appropriated trillions of dollars, rewritten the tax code, reorganized the federal government, started several wars, nullified the Bill of Rights, etc etc etc. Granted, few members of either house want to publicly claim responsibility for any of those actions, so it’s easier for them to tell the media that there’s nothing to see on Capitol Hill and they should just move along. Perhaps that’s the source of the Gridlock Myth.