In the U.S., why are most bills that reach the floor for debate in Congress not controversial?

I ask because I'm unable to understand whether the committee system allows for the avoidance of controversial legislation or, really, there is little difference between the two major parties in practice.

Can anyone explain?

  • 3
    One could argue that every piece of legislation hitting congress these days is controversial. I imagine congress would fight over a "official declaration that kittens are cute" bill if we let them. That said, yes, the committees are meant to be a place to vet a plan.
    – user1530
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 17:26
  • 1
    @DA. - didn't someone try to filibuster a resolution to name some post office on the grounds of "WTF are we wasting congress' time on this BS?"?
    – user4012
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 18:58
  • 1
    @user4012 They protested time wasting by wasting as much time as possible?
    – Jontia
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 21:48

1 Answer 1


Its partly because anything really crazy gets killed in committee, but it's mostly because most things congress passes really aren't that controversial. There are a lot of bills that just name post offices or renew existing programs and other things of that nature.

Also because the current congress is divided anything potentially controversial will most likely get shot down by the opposite house, it's very rare that a bill will ever get to the floor for a vote unless it's pretty much guaranteed to pass, unless a symbolic effort is being made, it really stems from not wanting to waste their time doing even more pointless things.

  • 3
    "not wanting to waste their time doing even more pointless things" How's that working for them? Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 20:28
  • 1
    @DJClayworth its pretty great if you are actually in congress...
    – Ryathal
    Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 12:45

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