George Packer's New Yorker profile last week on the sorry state of the Senate received near-unanimous praise, but Politics Daily's Jill Lawrence contends that reports of the upper chamber's death have been greatly exaggerated. Particularly bewildering, according to Lawrence, is the notion that the 111th Senate has been uniquely unproductive. As she explains it, nothing could be further from the truth:
Since President Barack Obama's inauguration in January 2009, the Senate has confirmed two Supreme Court nominees, revamped the student loan system and removed obstacles to women and others pursuing equal pay. The Senate also has approved three laws – the economic recovery act, the health care overhaul and financial regulatory reform – that contain within them scores of achievements. Had the major items in these bills been passed separately, the last 18 months would have been crammed with one success after another (or one tough defeat after another, depending on your party). This fall the Senate appears poised to pass a bill to help small businesses, and another to boost clean energy jobs and respond to the BP oil spill.