2024年2月16日 星期五

House Dysfunction: 724 Votes, Only 27 Laws Enacted 美眾院失能:724輪投票僅通過27項法律

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2024/02/16 第472期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 House Dysfunction: 724 Votes, Only 27 Laws Enacted 美眾院失能:724輪投票僅通過27項法律
Homelessness Rose to Record Level This Year, Government Says 美政府:2023年全美遊民人口增幅創新高
House Dysfunction: 724 Votes, Only 27 Laws Enacted 美眾院失能:724輪投票僅通過27項法律
文/Annie Karni


Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the former speaker, had a positive spin on the five days and record-breaking 15 voting rounds it took him to win the gavel in January. "Because it took this long," he said after the ordeal, "now we learned how to govern."


But as the first year of the 118th Congress draws to a close, the numbers tell a different story — one that doesn't involve much governing at all.


In 2023, the Republican-led House has passed only 27 bills that became law, despite holding a total of 724 votes.


That is more voting and less lawmaking than at any other time in the past decade, according to an analysis by the Bipartisan Policy Center, and a far less productive record than that of last year, when Democrats had unified control of Congress. The House held 549 votes in 2022, according to the House clerk, and passed 248 bills that were signed into law, according to records kept by the Library of Congress, including a bipartisan infrastructure law, the Inflation Reduction Act and the first bipartisan gun safety bill in decades.


The list of this year's accomplishments is less ambitious and more bare minimum, such as legislation to suspend the debt ceiling and set federal spending limits that helped pull the nation back from the brink of economic catastrophe. The tally also includes two temporary spending measures to avoid government shutdowns. The House cleared the must-pass annual military policy bill last week before leaving for the year, although it is not known when President Joe Biden will sign it into law.


The numbers reflect the challenges that have plagued Republicans all year and are likely to continue, and maybe even get worse, in 2024: a tiny majority that requires near unanimity to get anything done; deep party divisions that make unanimity all but impossible; and a right wing whose priority is reining in government, not passing new laws to broaden its reach.


Molly Reynolds, a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, said Congress' productivity issues this year reached a "low point." She attributed it to deepening political polarization and to the fractured House Republican conference with its too-slim-to-govern majority.


Homelessness Rose to Record Level This Year, Government Says 美政府:2023年全美遊民人口增幅創新高
文/Jason DeParle


Homelessness surged this year to the highest level on record, the federal government reported Friday.


An annual head count, conducted in January, found the homeless population had increased by more than 70,000 people, or 12%. That is the single largest one-year jump since the Department of Housing and Urban Development began collecting data in 2007, and the increase affected all parts of the homeless population.


By the government's count, 653,104 people in the United States were homeless in January.


Biden administration officials and academic experts said the increase reflected both a sharp rise in rents and the end of the extraordinary measures the government had enacted during the pandemic, including financial aid and bans on eviction.


"The most significant causes are the shortage of affordable homes and the high cost of housing," said Jeff Olivet, head of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.


But some researchers said the rise in homelessness also stemmed from the growing number of migrants entering the homeless services system. That trend has only intensified since the count was taken, as Republican governors, especially Greg Abbott in Texas, have sent more people who have arrived from across the border to Northern cities.


Some of the sharpest growth in homelessness has occurred in the cities most affected by the influx of migrants, including New York, Denver and Chicago.


"Even without the migrant crisis we would have seen some increase, but certainly not to this extent," said Dennis Culhane, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who has long served as an adviser to the federal government's annual count.


By the government's count, 653,104 people in the United States were homeless in January.


Homelessness grew among every group the federal government tracks. It rose among individuals and families with children. It rose among the young and the old. It rose among the chronically homeless and those entering the system for the first time.


It also rose among veterans, the group that in recent years had experienced the sharpest declines, after a significant expansion of federal aid.


From 2007 to 2016, homelessness fell every year, by a total of 15%. It then rose by about 6% in the years before the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. The one-year rise of 70,000 in 2023 is more than four times greater than any previous increase.



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