Want to know how many bills the current Congress has passed? Or perhaps how many bills Rep. Jim Matheson or Rep. Jason Chaffetz introduced in 2012? What about how many bills Sen. Orrin Hatch got signed into law from 1979-1981?
There an animation for that.
Legislative Explorer, which bills itself as "data driven discovery," is run by the University of Washington Center for American Politics and Public Policy. The organization's website, legex.org, provides animated data breakdowns on a plethora of Capitol Hill topics, from the number of bills presented by each party as far back as 1973 to an overview of legislation on topics and bills introduced by individual senators and representatives.
Frequently derided as the "do-nothing Congress," data shows that from January 2013 to May 9, 2014, the current Congress (113th) has introduced 8,180 bills — 2,804 in the Senate, controlled by Democrats, and 5,376 in the House, controlled by Republicans — and passed 100 of these bills into law, according to a Legislative Explorer animation.
A brief run through some of the data on the site shows that the 8,180 bills introduced during the 113th Congress are overshadowed by the 11,041 bills presented by May 9, 2008, in the 110th Congress, which ran from January 2, 2007, through January 1, 2009. During that window, both the House and Senate were controlled by Democrats. By May 9, 2008, in the 110th Congress, 227 bills had become law.
By May 9, 2010, in the 111th Congress, when Democrats still held both the House and Senate, 10,637 bills had been introduced and 163 had become law. The 111th Congress ran from January 2, 2009, through January 1, 2011.
The 112th Congress came into session after a political shift handed control of the House of Representatives to Republicans, although Democrats remained in control of the Senate. The divided Congress brought a brief slowdown in legislative proposals, the numbers show. By May 9, 2012, in the 2011-2012 window, 9,976 bills had been introduced and 106 had become law. The 112th Congress ran from January 2, 2011, through January 1, 2013.
The 99th Congress, which ran from January 2, 1985 through January 1, 1987, is the last time the House and Senate saw different parties in control as the result of elections rather than a 50-50 Senate split or individuals leaving parties. In the 99th Congress, there were 253 Democrats and 182 Republicans in the House; in the current House, there are 233 Republicans, 199 Democrats and 3 vacancies. In the Senate, the 99th Congress had 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats; the current Senate has 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans and 2 Independents.
From January 1985 through May 9, 1986, the 99th Congress saw 9,363 bill introduced — higher than the 113th's 8,180 — and 291 bills — almost triple the 113th's 100 — became law.