J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., during an interview with The Associated Press at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. "How many times did we have the point of the week?" Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said about Democratic tactics in an interview with The Associated Press last week. "It was designed to make us walk the plank. It had nothing to do with getting a legislative outcome."

WASHINGTON — The 113th Congress began its turbulent life two years ago battling over whether to help Superstorm Sandy victims.

They did.

By the time Congress limped out of town last week, one of its last acts was to honor the 100th anniversary of the extinction of passenger pigeons.

In between were mostly modest achievements that were overshadowed by partisan gridlock, investigations and sharp clashes capped by a partial government shutdown.

Congressional and White House data show that President Barack Obama signed 296 bills into law as of Friday. That's the second lowest total for any two-year Congress in records dating to the 1940s.

The session that President Harry S. Truman dubbed the "do-nothing Congress" of 1947 and 1948? It enacted over 900 laws.