This Week in the Republican Congress: Space Aliens!

Yesterday, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology concluded a two-hour hearing on space aliens to “investigate what methods are being used to determine if any of these planets may harbor life,” according to the hearing charter.

Not immigration reform. Not a budget that helps families’ financial well-being. Not a minimum wage increase. Not a farm bill.

“No wonder the American people think this Republican Congress is from another planet – they’re more interested in life in space than Americans’ lives,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Saying this Republican Congress has misplaced priorities is an understatement of galactic proportions.”

With less than a week remaining in the 2013 legislative calendar, Speaker John Boehner is presiding over what has already been deemed the least productive Congress in history.

  • The Huffington Post: “With Seven Workdays Left, House Committee Holds Hearing On Space Aliens.” “The Committee on Science, Space and Technology, chaired by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), will meet for a hearing called ‘Astrobiology: Search for Biosignatures in our Solar System and Beyond’ for two hours Wednesday to ‘investigate what methods are being used to determine if any of these planets may harbor life,’ according to the hearing charter.” [The Huffington Post12/03/13]
  • New York Times: “Underachieving Congress Appears in No Hurry to Change Things Now.” “The House straggled back to the Capitol on Monday night with just two weeks left before its likely entry into the Congressional record book for underachievement, still clinging to hopes that deals can be reached in the coming days on a budget and other once-routine bills that could ease some of the sting […]The 113th Congress has passed all of 55 laws so far this year, seven fewer at this point than the 112th Congress — the least productive Congress ever. House and Senate negotiators will meet on Wednesday to try to come to terms on a farm bill, but they remain far apart, especially on food-stamp cuts that the House is demanding.” [New York Times12/02/13]
  • Los Angeles Times: “Gridlock in Congress Could Leave Millions Hurting Over the Holidays.” “Congress’ unfinished business threatens to leave millions of Americans — including the unemployed, Pentagon contractors and even supermarket shoppers — in the lurch this holiday season. With partisan dysfunction unlikely to subside in coming weeks, lawmakers appear ready to punt several issues into the new year. But many Americans could start feeling the effects of inaction as early as this month.” [Los Angeles Times12/02/13]
  • Wall Street Journal: “Congress Faces Long To-Do List Before Year’s End.” “The year’s final month caps a legislative session that has been long on partisanship, indecision and brinkmanship, and short on compromise and lawmaking. Congress has enacted only 52 new laws this year. At that pace, lawmakers would fall far short of the 284 laws enacted by the prior Congress from early 2011 to early 2013, according to the website GovTrack, which follows legislation. That itself was a significant drop-off from earlier sessions. Lawmakers have spent relatively little time in Washington this year. The House has been in session for 143 days so far, the Senate for 142. In 2011, the House met for 175 days and the Senate for 170.” [Wall Street Journal12/01/13]