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Historically Unpopular, Unproductive U.S. Congress Goes Home to Campaign After Working 8 Days

After voting to fund military action against Islamic State, Congress just couldn’t take anymore. The US House announced Thursday an early end to an already shortened fall session so lawmakers could do what they value most: campaign for reelection.

U.S. House Majority Leader-elect Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) gestures on the second day of the 5th annual Faith & Freedom Coalition's "Road to Majority" Policy Conference in Washington, June 20, 2014. (Reuters/Larry Downing)

U.S. House Majority Leader-elect Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) gestures on the second day of the 5th annual Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” Policy Conference in Washington, June 20, 2014. (Reuters/Larry Downing)

Let’s do the math here: The 113th Congress is historically unproductive in the amount of legislative actions taken. This is, in part, why the body is perennially rated as unpopular. Earlier this month, Gallup found that Congress had a 14-percent approval rating, one of the lowest in the past 40 years.

In fact, according to Gallup, Congress was recently rated by Americans as the nationwide institution in which they have the absolute least confidence among 17 entities.

For the year 2013, ThinkProgress found that the US House had 239 days of vacation – considered days that Congress was not in session. Meanwhile, average workers in the United States are not guaranteed to have any vacation or time off for holidays. In comparison, all European Union nations guarantee workers at least 20 paid days of vacation a year. Thirteen EU countries also mandate paid holidays off. The US also has a dismal record regarding guarantees for paid time off, paid sick days, and maternity leave.

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