Congressional Statistics: Bills Introduced and Laws Enacted, 1947-2003

This report is designed to fill the need for a simple tabulation of legislative workload. It provides the numbers of bills and joint resolutions introduced, and the numbers of public and private laws enacted, from the 80' Congress through the 108th Congress, first session (1947-2003).

Order Code 96-727 C Updated March 3, 2004 Congress Received through the CRS Web Congressional Statistics : Bills Introduced and Laws Enacted, 1947-2003 Jennifer E . Manning Information Research Specialist Information Research Division Summary The Congressional Research Service receives many requests for statistics on the numbers of bills introduced and the numbers of laws enacted in each Congress . Although this information is available in a number of sources, it is nowhere set out in a simple table. It is generally included in tables with many other indicators of congressional activity. This report is designed to fill the need for a simple tabulation of legislative workload . It provides the numbers of bills and joint resolutions introduced, and the numbers of public and private laws enacted, from the 80' Congress through the 108th Congress, first session (1947-2003) . This report will be updated after each session of Congress . The Statistics These numbers on bills introduced and laws enacted should not be interpreted as the only, or the most important, measures of congressional workload and activity . Other indicators are data on investigations, confirmations, days in session, hearings, casework, omnibus legislation, etc . For statistics on record floor votes, see CRS Report RL30562, CongressionalRoll Call andOtherRecord Votes: First Congress through 108`' Congress, First Session, 1789 Through 2003 . For statistics on the whole range of quantitative indicators, see Vital Statistics on Congress, 2001-2002, by Norman J . Ornstein, Thomas E. Mann, and Michael J . Malbin (Washington : American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 2002) . Other indicators for the 91 s` Congress (1969-1970) to the present are available on the Internet in the Resumes of Congressional Activity section on the THOMAS website at [http ://thoinas.loc .gov/home/resume/resume .htm l] . Comparable compilations of statistics for the first' through the 79' Congresses, before legislative activity began to be quantified in the "Daily Digest" section of the Congressional Record, are extremely difficult to come by . Some researchers have pulled together figures on measures introduced for a few scattered, selected years, but they do not all use the same definition of "measures ." So, the resulting figures cannot be compared accurately . Congressional Research Service •:• The Library of Congress CRS-2 Compilations exist of earlier statistics on the numbers of laws enacted, covering both the pre- and post-80' Congresses . However, the same problems of differing inclusions and exclusions in the figures used apply to these as well . Consequently, there will be some differences between figures in those compilations and in the table given here . In the following table, two things stand out : a steady decline since the mid-1970s in the number of bills and joint resolutions introduced and a drastic decline in recent years in the number of private laws enacted . An important reason for the former is changes in the rules of the House of Representatives regarding bill sponsorship . The number of cosponsors allowed on an individual bill was once severelyrestricted, often causing many different Members to introduce identical versions of popular proposals . Beginning in 1967, up to 25 cosponsors were allowed on a bill, and in 1979, the House rules were amended to permit unlimited numbers of cosponsors . The decline in the number of private bills and laws cannot be traced to a specific rule change . Private bills deal with one or more named individuals or entities . In the 20' century, most private bills concerned immigration cases or private claims . Over the years, Congress has delegated more of its authority on individual immigration matters and private claims to the executive branch, so the number of private bills and laws has declined dramatically . Table 1 . Selected Legislative . Statistics 80 th (1947-1948) 10,797 7,611, 81" (1949-1950) 82-d (1951-1952) 14,988 3,186 906 10,502 4,486 921 1,103 12,730 9,065 3,665 594 1,023 83rd (1953-1954)_ . 14,952 10,875. 4,077 781, 1,002 84th (1955-1956) 17,687 13,169 4,518 1,028 893 85'" (1957-1958) 19,112 14,580 4,532 936 784 86th (1959-1960) 18,261 14,112 4,149 800 492 87d` (1961-1962) 18,376 14,328 4,048 885 684 88th (1963-1964) 17,479 14,022 3,457 666 360 89t' (1965-1966) 24,003 19,874 4,129 810 473 90th (1967-1968) 26,460 22,060 4,400 640 362 91- (1969-1970) 92-d (1971-1972) 26,303 21,436 4,867 695 246 "18,561 4,408' 607 161 93`d (1973-1974) 23,396 18,872 4,524 649 123 94th (1975-1976) 21,096 16,982 4,114 588 22,969 " . 95'" (1977-1978) - 19,387 15 ;587 3,800` 634 96th (1979-1980) 12,583 9,103 3,480 613 458- 141 - 170 123 CRS-3 t 0 e a:, 9 ( 981-1982 11,490 8,094 3,396 98 ( 983-1984) 10,559 7,105 3,454 623 99 ( 985-1986) 9,885 6,499 3,386 664 100 ( 987-1988) 0 (1989-1990) 102 03 991-1992) ( 993-1994 10 (1995-1996) Is session ' 2 session 05 2 06 2 (1997- 998 session ession 999-2000) session session 107'" (2001-2002) 1S` session 2'd sessio 108' (2003-2004) session e 56 fl MENEM 8,544 5,739 2,805 465 8 6,808 4,536 2,272 4,542 2,977 2,266 1,559 333 3 1,565 707 88 245 0 3 7,730 4,801 5,012 3,194 2,718 1,607 339 153 4 2,929 1,818 1,111 186 9,158 5,815 3,343 5,636 3,522 3,602 580 170 410 24 3 2,213 2,034 1,309 9,130 5,603 5,892 3,691 3,238 1,912 377 136' 6 1 3,527 2,201 1,326 241 5 nfl 2,029- a 4 0 21 0 Source: House bills and resolutions from archived CRS Report 93-707, Indicators of House of Representatives WorkloadandActivity,p . 15 (no longer available) . Senate bills and resolution session from archived CRS Report 93-789, Workload and Activity Report : United States Senate, 1946-1992, p . 12 (no longer available) . House and Senate, the .finah"Daily Digests" for the 103' through 108" Congresses. Public laws from archived CRS Report 93-789, p_ 15 (no longer available), the Legislative Information System website, and the final "Daily Digests" for the 103rd through 108' Congresses. a. Includes only bills andjoint resolutions . Simpleand concurrent reso lutions, which do not have the force of law when enacted, are not included in these figures .