The 117th Congress is in a tie for the fourth fewest laws enacted in the first eight months of its two-year term among the 18 most recent Congresses, going back to 1987.
The low totals don’t mean the 117th has done nothing of significance. The biggest piece of legislation so far has been the American Rescue Plan Act, the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus measure passed in March on nearly party-line votes. Congress also extended the Paycheck Protection Program, made Juneteenth a federal holiday, and appropriated $1.9 billion to wind down the war in Afghanistan, resettle Afghans who aided U.S. forces there, and respond to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
However, much potentially major legislation appears to be stymied, at least for now. Among the pending or tabled items is the For the People Act, a massive election reform bill, and an increase in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour.