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Congress, What Is It Good For?

John Norris explores the lack of foreign policy achievements by the 113th Congress.

So how has the 113th Congress done on foreign policy? Well, from appropriations and ambassadorial confirmations to immigration and international treaties, this Congress has been an embarrassment. The 114th Congress will have some little tiny shoes to fill.

It is widely accepted at this point that the 113th Congress is the least productive ever, at least in terms of passing legislation, and comparisons to the notorious “do nothing” Congress of 1947 to 1949 have been frequent. But when it comes to foreign policy, “do nothing,” or at least “do no harm,” would be a considerable upgrade from the last two years of congressional mismanagement of international affairs.

On the foreign-policy front, Congress, primarily because of the Tea Party, has become a body so reflexively combative that the two parties couldn’t even agree on the time of day or the direction of the sunrise. And congressional Republicans’ desire to reject anything that the executive branch might support is now so extreme that any sense of doing the right thing for the country increasingly seems to be in fundamental jeopardy.

The above excerpt was originally published in Foreign Policy. Click here to view the full article.

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John Norris

Senior Fellow; Executive Director, Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding Initiative

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