Congress got plenty of attention this year, but it was for all the wrong reasons.
There were at least three countdowns to shutdown, there was the debt-limit fight, plus the will-they-or-won't-they drama earlier in December over the payroll tax holiday. Looking at how few bills were actually signed into law this year, one might conclude this session was mostly sizzle and not much steak.
"I mean, I knew it was going to be bad this year, but I didn't realize like how bad it was," says Tobin Grant, an associate professor of political science at Southern Illinois University.
Not so long ago, when the question was war, the response on Capitol Hill was an automatic blank check.
A largely compliant Congress, and presidents and politicians who were fearful of looking "weak on defense" or "unpatriotic," rubber-stamped massive military spending.
Funny how 10 years, two $1 trillion-and-counting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a budding military engagement in Libya, and a nation mired in unsustainable spending and debt can change what was once a military imperative.
The National Labor Relations Board has accused Boeing of retaliating against its union workers by setting up a new non-union factory in South Carolina. The NLRB says in doing so, Boeing broke federal labor law.
The complaint has outraged some members of Congress, who have reacted by trying to cut funding for the NLRB.
The case has been a hot political topic for weeks, but on Tuesday the action moves into a Seattle courtroom. The NLRB is bringing the complaint before one of its own administrative law judges. Any appeals could eventually get to the federal courts.