4 Bizarre Laws Congress Passed This Year

It is no secret that the current Congress did a whole lot of nothing since being sworn in on January 3, 2013. While things such as gun control, a budget and jobs remain in various stages of committee, there were some things that did get done.

A few pieces of major legislation were passed in spite of the contentious rhetoric, such as the Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA), and the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act.† Yet, of the 31 bills signed to date, the majority did little to focus on the pressing issues of the nation.

Here are six bizarre items that Congress felt were a† priority.

1. The one about fishing.

In April of this year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Nashville announced plans to erect permanent restrictions around ten dams on the Cumberland River and tributaries. The upstream waters were deemed hazardous and the areas cordoned off would no longer be accessible to the public. This apparently upset people who liked to fish, so they contacted Sen. Lamar Alexander, and the Freedom to Fish Act was passed in June, delaying implementation for another two years.

I guess this will give residents time to increase the three fatalities, one serious injury and ten near misses and rescues that have occurred in the dangerous waters in the last four years.

2. The one to specify the size of precious-metal blanks.

In 2011, Congress passed a law directing the Treasury to mint a commemorative coin to honor the 75th anniversary of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The law specified that the coin should be dome shaped. This presented a problem for the Mint. When the center of the coin was pushed out, it made it a few thousands of an inch smaller than the law required, which would mean they would have to purchase special plates so that the coin could be in compliance.

Obviously, we donít want to spend any more money, so Congress passed a technical correction to the National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act which would allow the Mint to make the coin smaller and use the plates they already have. Crisis averted!

3. The one where they renamed a section of the tax code.

If you are married and work from home, you can open up an IRA savings account, called a Spousal IRA. This is now the Kay Bailey Hutchison Spousal IRA in the tax code, in honor of the long serving senator from Texas. That will be much easier to remember than its former name of “Special Rules for Certain Married Individuals.”

Taking time to rename tax code section is an excellent way to spend taxpayersí money.

4. The ones where they name infrastructure but donít fix it.

Naming structures to honor people is a long and storied tradition, as well as a wonderful thing for their families and communities. There were three separate laws passed for the sole purpose of naming an air control tower, a bridge and a building:

Instead of getting a gold watch, Patricia Clark Boston was honored for 50 years of work at the air route traffic control center in Nashua, New Hampshire by having her place of work formally designated as the Patricia Clark Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center.

Former first baseman and outfielder of the St. Louis Cardinals Stan Musial is the namesake of a new bridge crossing the Mississippi River. The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge is in honor of the Baseball Hall of Famerís career and service in the United States Navy during World War II.

Douglas A. Munro was the only member of the United States Coast Guard awarded the Medal of Honor, which was given to him for his efforts in the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942 where he was killed. The Douglas A. Munro Coast Guard Headquarters on 2701 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., SE in Washington, D.C. is now emblazoned with his name.

Let’s face it, naming infrastructure costs nothing and itís a lot easier to name a bridge than to fix a crumbling one.

The sequester is still in effect, there is no budget and the immigration bill can’t get a vote in the House, but several congress people that have things to put in their campaign commercials. That’s productive.

Here’s a tagline they can use: Congress – The only thing better than doing nothing, is passing legislation that does even less.


Jim Ven
Jim V1 years ago

thanks for the article.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill4 years ago

Kick out the whole lot of them!

Donna Ferguson
Donna F4 years ago

congress--a total waste.

Ro H.
Ro H4 years ago


Ann B.
Ann B4 years ago

this seems wasteful to me - sorry

Mary L.
Mary L4 years ago

Yet another black eye for Tennessee. His ads make it seem so significant. Horse Rubish.

Ernie Miller
william Miller4 years ago

Congress – The only thing better than doing nothing, is passing legislation that does even less.

LOL I like that

Cletus W.
Cletus W.4 years ago

Geez, I wonder why government spending is at ~25% GDP and the deficits are up relative to 15 years ago. Well, if you listen to the Teatrads on the radio, its all because [D]s like to spend money.

But let's pretend we don't have to fall for Teatard fairytales, and we are able to think for ourselves. Hmmmm....Just what has happened to our country recently that has caused an increase in gov't spending, AND a decrease in gov't revenue....Hmmm, I recall something happened......maybe to our economy?......

As a proud aparatchik from one of the rightwing think tanks told us back in 2008, he did the calculations, and if the country would only follow the 2008 [R] presidiential candidate's plan for economic recovery, i.e. for the gov't to do nothing, this aparatchik's economic models found that the economy would work itself out the decline all by itself, without the need for any gov't spending, in a DECADE! This neo-moron actually went on TV during a presidential campaign and told us that one of the candidate's policies would sentence America to a decade-long recession/depression! Of course, to the stunned disbelief of the reporter-interveiwer, this whelp was talking about the policies of the very candidate he was supposedly supporting!

25% of GDP indeed.

Vicky P.
Vicky P4 years ago

what a waste of time, they don't pass anything of use, just this crap

Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld4 years ago

For some reason, the first part did not get saved. In short, recent government spending has increased from 19% of gdp in the late 1990s (resulting in surpluses) to 25%, the highest since WWII. Some of this started with the defense and security spending after 9/11, and continued through the recent economic downturn. Both parties have increased spending, which rarely decreases. Our economy would need to grow at 3% annually (a very healthy number) for the next decade, in order to match government spending. Conversely, the government would need to cut a large amount to get back to a surplus. Did we need all these services 10 or 20 years ago? If so, which ones do we need to cut, in order to reign in spending?