WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Compromise has become a dirty word in Washington on both sides of the aisle. As Congress' approval ratings continue to plummet, the number of bills that become law has continued to plummet as well.
In fact, this Congress is on track to be one of the least productive in recent memory. Though 10,916 bills have been proposed since this session began in January 2015, only 558 were even brought to a vote, and only 219 became law. That's a 2 percent success rate.
Margaret Kimbrell, the executive director of No Labels says there's a total breakdown in Washington of how things get done. She works daily with members on both sides of the aisle to find common ground.
"We've moved away from the regular order, so all of the power really lies with the Speaker or the Majority leader," Kimbrell said. She added that often times leadership negotiates with the outside, fringe groups who tend to have more partisan leanings. On the other hand, she points out, rank and file members fear retribution if they don't follow along.
In context, the notoriously unpopular 113th Congress (2013-2015) passed 3 percent of their bills and any Congress from 2000- 2010 passed between 3 and 6 percent of their legislation.
There are only eight work weeks left this year, so the likelihood of that 2% success rate increasing much isn't very high. Kimbrell's hope is the new administration will take an opportunity to set a tone from the get-go. She points out some successes between President Bill Clinton and then House Speaker Newt Gingrich as well as President Ronald Reagan and former House Speaker Tip O'Neil as a guideline.
When January 3, 2017 rolls around, any legislation that is not passed will be erased and Congress will get a clean slate. What they do with that clean slate, will be up to them.