Making it worse for incumbents, the previous record low in bills passed (80) was set in 2011 of the 112th session.
The public is keeping a close eye on this poor productivity, according to a recent CNN poll.
Conducted December 16-19, the survey found that two-thirds of American adults regard this session to be the worst in their lifetimes, and 73 percent say Congress has done nothing to address the country’s current needs.
These sentiments are shared by all demographics, the poll found.
The blame is applied to both sides of the aisle, as well; “52 percent believe that the policies of the Democratic leaders in Congress would move the country in the wrong direction; 54 percent say the same about the policies of congressional Republicans,” said Keating Holland, CNN Polling Director.
An earlier poll, conducted by Gallup in November, also found bipartisan distaste for Congress, reporting public approval at an all-time low of nine percent.
Few of the 66 bills passed this year were productive, with many serving only as ceremonial puffery, such as Congressional Gold Medal awards, use of the capitol’s rotunda, celebration of previously-passed legislation, and expressions of sympathy to stray animals.
Some only addressed effects of Congress’ lackadaisical performance, and by authorizing particular expenses during the October shutdown.
The few productive bills were commonly passed only after extensive argument and legislative tricks.
For example, the Violence Against Women Act was left to expire in January after the House refused to vote on its reauthorization. In February, nine Republican senators blocked it from coming to the floor for vote in objection to VAWA’s inclusion of immigrants and LGBT victims. It was only reinstated on February 28 after House Republicans’ restrictive modifications to the Act failed.
All House seats and 35 Senate seats are up for reelection in 2014.