Seven months into the legislative session and with congressional approval numbers drifting in the sub-Bush numbers, it's worth taking a look back on what this Congress has accomplished so far.
Ask the Democrats, and they will say that they have enacted more of their agenda than they could have hoped by now. "We've done a lot of heavy lifting," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
Ask the Republicans, and they'll say, "Yeah, but ...," then point out that 15 of the measures that have passed have involved the naming of post offices, according to Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri. "The president has signed virtually nothing because virtually nothing has gotten to his desk," Blunt said.
So, if you're keeping track at home, here is an update on where legislation introduced this session stands:
Signed into law
- First minimum wage increase in a decade.
- Implementation of many remaining 9/11 commission recommendations, including screening of all air cargo.
- Short-term authority to expand the government's ability to eavesdrop without warrants on communications that pass through the United States.
Vetoed by President Bush
- Time line to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. House upheld the veto.
- Expansion of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. No override votes have been held.
Passed House and Senate in different forms; awaiting compromise
- Expansion of the health care program that covers lower-income children. The House bill also includes significant changes in Medicare. Bush has threatened to veto both versions.
- Student aid expansion.
- Energy legislation with new efficiency standards for appliances, tax breaks and subsidies for hybrid cars and demonstration projects for burying greenhouse gases underground.
- $20-billion for water projects. Bush has threatened to veto. (Compromise bill has passed the House and is awaiting a Senate vote.)
Killed by Republican filibuster in Senate
- Immigration legislation.
- Requirement for the government to negotiate directly with drugmakers for lower consumer prices under Medicare.
- Farm bill that includes crop payments to farmers and funds for conservation and nutrition programs. Bush has threatened a veto.
Passed and awaiting presidential action
- Tighter congressional ethics provisions and greater disclosure of lobbyists' fundraising.
- Legislation calling for $33.6-billion over the next three years for science, technology, engineering and mathematics research and education programs.