How Many Bills Have Actually Become Law This Year?

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 12 2013 3:51 PM

Here Are the 15 Bills That Have Actually Become Law So Far This Year

169422074
President Obama signs the Congressional Gold Medal Bill, which honors four young girls who were killed in a racially motivated 1963 bombing of a church in Birmingham, Ala., on May 24, 2013.

Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

The headline says it all: Just 15 bills have crested the veritable Aggro Crag that is the 113th Congress to reach President Obama's desk this year. For comparison's sake, George W. Bush signed 13 bills into law on today's date alone in 2005—with a Republican majority in both houses, mind you—but seven of those bills were sponsored by Democrats!

The bills that have been enacted so far this year (nine await Obama's signature) fall into four general categories:

Advertisement

1. Fixing a screwed-up bill

HR 258: Stolen Valor Act of 2013 (A new version of the law against claiming, falsely, to be a veteran. The last version was struck down by SCOTUS.)
HR 325: No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013 (The punt that delayed the debt limit.)
HR 1765: Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013 (The sequestration "fix" that put air traffic controllers back to work.)

2. Reauthorizations

3. Disaster relief and other appropriations

4. Commemorative bills

And one bonus non sequitur: The Freedom to Fish Act, which opens boating access around dams in Kentucky and bill sponsor Sen. Lamar Alexander's native Tennessee.

Meanwhile, more than 4,000 bills have been referred to committee this year, where most will die of starvation.

Emma Roller is a Slate editorial assistant. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 21 2014 9:18 AM Oh, Boy Prudie counsels a letter writer whose sister dresses her 4-year-old son in pink tutus.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 10:41 AM Taylor Swift Just Went to No. 1 on iTunes Canada With 8 Seconds of Static 
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 10:43 AM Social Networking Didn’t Start at Harvard It really began at a girls’ reform school.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 21 2014 7:00 AM Watch the Moon Eat the Sun: The Partial Solar Eclipse on Thursday, Oct. 23
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.