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By Michael A. Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau (TNS)

WASHINGTON — The 113th Congress will just have to settle for being bad instead of the worst — at least as far as productivity is concerned.

President Barack Obama signed a whopping 51 bills Thursday, the White House announced, bringing the most recent tally of laws enacted in the past Congress to 286, according to a Los Angeles Times review.

That would be just three more than the 283 public laws enacted in the previous Congress that served from 2011-12, which was the lowest tally since formal record-keeping began in 1947.

The previous low before that was 333 public laws in the 104th Congress that came to power in the Newt Gingrich Revolution of 1994.

As usual, the so-called lame-duck period of Congress that followed the elections proved anything but. Of the 286 laws passed since this Congress convened in January 2013, more than a third were passed and signed just since Nov. 1.

But for every major piece of legislation like the $1.1 trillion funding bill (or “Cromnibus”) and a new defense authorization bill, there were dozens of parochial items among the unfinished business.

In fact, a Times review found that 56 of the new laws produced by this Congress — about one of every five — is simply to name or rename federal buildings, roads, or bridges — including 38 post offices.

The final act of the Senate when it adjourned late Tuesday evening was to approve a resolution “honoring conservation on the centennial of the passenger pigeon extinction.” The measure does not require a presidential signature, though.

Photo: Speaker Boehner via Flickr

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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The baseless claim that the FBI may have planted evidence while carrying out a court-approved search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence on Monday has surged through right-wing media, as the former president’s allies continue their effort to turn their audiences against the probe and shield Trump from accountability.

The FBI searched the premises after obtaining a warrant from a federal magistrate judge and “removed a number of boxes of documents” as part of a federal investigation into whether Trump had illegally “taken a trove of material with him to his home at Mar-a-Lago when he left the White House that included sensitive documents – and then, in the Justice Department’s view, had failed to fully comply with requests that he return the disputed material,” the New York Times reported. Politico concluded after consulting with legal experts on the handling of classified documents that “it’s highly unlikely the DOJ would have pursued – and a judge would have granted – such a politically explosive search warrant without extraordinary evidence.”

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