By PETE KASPEROWICZ

Everyone knows Congress has been in a years-long rut when it comes to productivity.

Republicans have resisted President Obama's policy goals and instead passed hundreds of their own, only to watch Obama ignore or veto most of those ideas.

But some members are finding ways to get their ideas through Congress, onto Obama's desk and signed into law. Most of these bills are non-controversial and pass easily, but the few dozen that have become law this year show just how difficult it is to find these non-controversial ideas.

Below are the lucky members of the House and Senate who found the right idea and managed to turn them into laws. Our list focuses on the more substantive bills that Obama has signed this year and skips over some of the bills that simply reauthorized existing federal programs:

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo.

What passed into law: H.R. 3700, reforming U.S. housing law to boost housing aid to veterans and ensure housing allowances are not used by people who exceed the law's income limits.

When Obama signed it: July 29

What Luetkemeyer said: "For the first time in over 50 years, there will be real reforms to the programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Housing Service (RHS). I am proud to be part of a movement that will streamline and modernize housing programs, creating opportunity for American families and saving hard-earned taxpayer dollars."

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

What passed into law: S. 524, expanding grant funding for and requiring more coordination between government agencies aimed at reducing opioid addiction. It also requires the Department of Health and Human Services to reassess pain management practices with an eye toward reducing opioid use.

When Obama signed it: July 22

What Whitehouse said: "Addiction is an illness in need of care, and the law the president signed today will treat it like one. This legislation will help people suffering from addiction to find treatment and reclaim their lives. It will help to educate the public — especially young people — about the consequences of drug abuse."

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas

What passed into law: S. 2840, amending the law to allow federal grants to be used for active shooter training programs.

When Obama signed it: July 22

What Cornyn said: "As the city of Dallas tragically found out this month, communities across the country can be confronted with an active shooter situation at any moment. I'm glad the president has signed this bill into law so we can help our first responders be better prepared and keep our communities safe."

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.

What passed into law: S. 1252, the Global Food Security Act, requiring the president to develop a global food security strategy aimed at reducing hunger and malnutrition and building resilience to "food shocks" in vulnerable countries.

When Obama signed it: July 20

What Casey said: "I've worked on this legislation for years because it helps the world's most vulnerable and enhances American security by promoting stability in parts of the world experiencing challenges. The GFSA will ensure Feed the Future, which has helped improve nutrition for 12 million malnourished children and increased the income of 7 million farmers, will continue into the next administration."

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas

What passed into law: H.R. 3766, providing for increased transparency related to how U.S. foreign aid funds are spent overseas.

When Obama signed it: July 15

What Poe said: "As the current system sits, billions of taxpayer dollars are sent to countries around the world. Wowever, no one really knows just how far those dollars go. Now that this bill is law, the American people finally have the ability to see both where there money is sent and how effective the aid provided is."

Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis.

What passed into law: S. 2328, creating an oversight panel aimed at helping Puerto Rico restructure its $72 billion in debt.

When Obama signed it: June 30

What Duffy said: "When I started working to fix the Puerto Rico debt crisis, I knew it wouldn't be easy, but we built a bipartisan coalition to help the three and a half million Americans who have been suffering under the weight of bad financial decisions by leaders who made promises they couldn't afford or keep."

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas

What passed into law: S. 337, to improve the operation of the Freedom of Information Act, including by requiring federal agencies to make information available electronically and prohibiting agencies from charging fees when they miss FOIA deadlines.

When Obama signed it: June 30

What Cornyn said: "One of our country's hallmark values is a commitment to open and transparent government, and today is an important step towards ensuring the American people can hold their government accountable. I appreciate Sen. [Pat] Leahy's partnership on this bill, and I am pleased to see it become law today."

Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn.

What passed into law: H.R. 3209, allowing federal law enforcement officers to access tax returns for information related to missing or exploited children.

When Obama signed it: June 30

What Paulsen said: "This new law will help reunite families by giving law enforcement the critical and necessary tools to fill the 'information gap' in missing and abducted children cases. The Recovering Missing Children Act is a common-sense fix that will change the lives of children and families who face these scary and heartbreaking situations all across the country."

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del.

What passed into law: S. 2133, requiring the federal government to set up guidelines aimed at identifying and reducing fraud and improper payments.

When Obama signed it: June 30

What Carper said: "This bill ... requires federal officials to determine what areas of government spending are at the greatest risk for fraud, develop an action plan to address vulnerabilities and then share those solutions with other agencies dealing with similar programs.

"This common-sense legislation will help to ensure that federal agencies do a better job managing federal programs and delivering services more efficiently and at a lower cost to taxpayers."

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

What passed into law: S. 2487, requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs to implement effective programs aimed at reducing the suicide rate of female veterans.

When Obama signed it: June 30

What Boxer said: "The alarming rate of suicide among female veterans demanded immediate action. I am proud that President Obama has signed into law our bill to help ensure women veterans get the mental healthcare and support they need at the VA. These courageous women deserve nothing less."

Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill.

What passed into law: H.R. 2576, requiring the EPA to modernize the ways it determines when regulatory control of a chemical is warranted.

When Obama signed it: June 22

What Shimkus said: "There is a widespread acknowledgement and understandable concern that nobody is well-served by the current law. This bill takes a thoughtful approach to protecting people all across the country from unsafe chemical exposure by making long needed improvements to an outdated and ineffective law."

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga.

What passed into law: H.R. 2137, allowing federal law enforcement officers to carry government-issued firearms during a government shutdown.

When Obama signed it: June 22

What Collins said: "Crime does not stop during a government shutdown, and criminals do not get furloughed. Authorized officers need to be able to protect themselves and the public at all times, whether they are on duty or off."

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

What passed into law: S. 184, to establish protections for Native American children placed by tribal courts into the tribal foster care system.

When Obama signed it: June 3

What Hoeven said: "A decade ago, we worked in North Dakota to ensure that all adults living in a foster home were background checked to protect the children in their care, and now we have extended that same safety net for children in tribal foster care in North Dakota and across the nation. Starting today, it's the law of the land."

Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y.

What passed into law: H.R. 4238, to remove the term "oriental" anywhere it appears in U.S. law and replace it with "Asian-Americans."

When Obama signed it: May 20

What Meng said: "The term 'oriental' has no place in federal law and at long last this insulting and outdated term will be gone for good. No longer will any law of the United States refer to Asian-Americans in such an offensive way, and I applaud and thank President Obama for signing my bill to get rid of this antiquated term."

Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz.

What passed into law: H.R. 4336, to overturn a decision by the secretary of the Army and restore the burial rights of Women Air Force Service Pilots, or WASPs, at Arlington National Cemetery. The WASPs flew non-combat missions during World War II, and 38 of them died during service.

When Obama signed it: May 20

What McSally said: "With this signing, generations of Americans will be able to come to Arlington and see how the WASPs served during a time of great need and, in doing so, paved the way for all women to serve in the military."

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas

What passed into law: H.R. 4923, the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, a bill to reform the way Congress considers and passes tariff cuts on products and services from overseas that are needed by U.S. manufacturers. The process for considering these tariff cuts, seen as tax cuts for manufacturers, has stymied Congress for years.

When Obama signed it: May 20

What Brady said: "This bill is about strengthening manufacturing jobs. It's about making sure our U.S. manufacturers don't pay extra costs or extra taxes. It's about lowering the costs for American consumers. It's really about growing the economy."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

What passed into law: S. 32, the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act, making it illegal for anyone to make or distribute drugs knowing that they will be illegally exported to or near the United States.

When Obama signed it: May 16

What Feinstein said: "Drug kingpins from countries like Colombia and Peru often use Mexican trafficking organizations as mules to bring illegal narcotics into the United States. Now, the Justice Department will be able to take legal action against these kingpins."

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

What passed into law: S. 125, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act. The bill reauthorizes a federal program aimed at ensuring police officers have access to bulletproof vests.

When Obama signed it: May 16

What Leahy said: "In Vermont, and across the nation, the bulletproof vest program has proven its effectiveness. It helps save lives among those who protect our communities."

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah

What passed into law: S. 1890, the Defend Trade Secrets Act, aimed at protecting U.S. trade secrets from theft by overseas competitors. His bill creates a uniform national standard for guarding against the theft of trade secrets and allows for injunctions and damage awards against those who steal these trade secrets.

When Obama signed it: May 11

What Hatch said: "Enacting the Defend Trade Secrets Act is the most significant intellectual property development in years, and it demonstrates that Republicans and Democrats can work across the aisle in seeking to advance important public policies that will benefit the American people and boost our nation's economy."

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.

What passed into law: H.R. 1493, the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act, which is meant to prevent the Islamic State from looting antiquities in Syria. It imposes new import restrictions on antiquities trafficked out of Syria.

When Obama signed it: May 9

What Engel said: "As part of America's effort to degrade and destroy [the Islamic State], we need to do all we can to cut off resources for this terrorist group. Today, we're putting a new tool to use. My legislation will crack down on the trafficking of looted Syrian artifacts, which has put millions of dollars in the hands of ISIS extremists."

Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo.

What passed into law: H.R. 2908, the National Bison Legacy Act, which makes the bison the national mammal of the United States.

When Obama signed it: May 9

What Clay said: "No other indigenous species tells America's story better than this noble creature. The American bison is an enduring symbol of strength, Native American culture and the boundless western wildness. It is an integral part of the still largely untold story of Native Americans and their historic contributions to our national identity."

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.

What passed into law: S. 1638, the Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act, which requires DHS to provide details about its headquarters consolidation project and a schedule for when it will be completed. It is aimed at addressing the delays and cost overruns for the project, and Johnson said it will save taxpayers $700 million over the next three decades.

When Obama signed it: April 20

What Johnson said: "Ensuring taxpayer dollars are used effectively is one of my priorities as chairman of this committee. This bill will hold the administration accountable while ensuring future spending on facilities is done efficiently, and for the right reasons. Giving the DHS the resources it needs to keep our nation safe is important while also ensuring we aren't wasting taxpayer funds on things we don't need."

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah

What passed into law: S. 483, the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act. The bill is meant to stop prescription drugs from going to unintended users. It directs the Drug Enforcement Agency to collaborate more with law enforcement and drug companies to fight prescription drug abuse.

When Obama signed it: April 19

What Hatch said: "Prescription drug abuse is a big problem in Utah. A recent study found that our state ranks fifth in the nation in drug overdose deaths. That's why I'm so glad Congress has passed the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act."

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.

What passed into law: S. 2512, the Adding Zika Virus to the FDA Priority Review Voucher Program Act. The bill is meant to speed up the development of Zika vaccines by making it a priority for the Food and Drug Administration.

When Obama signed it: April 19

What Franken said: "The Zika virus is spreading rapidly, and to fight back, we need to make sure we have the necessary tools to prevent and treat the disease. Our bipartisan bill will encourage innovators to help stop the virus in its tracks, and I'm very pleased that we got the measure across the finish line. This is an important step to combat Zika, and I look forward to President Obama signing it into law."

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.

What passed into law: S. 1180, the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act. The bill is meant to modernize the country's public alert system so that government officials at all levels can coordinate on threats to public safety.

When Obama signed it: April 11

What Johnson said: "In times of an emergency, information is crucial. This bill takes important steps to expand our nation's public warning system to ensure the largest number of people are reached. The IPAWS Modernization Act of 2015 also ensures effective training and collaboration so that when an emergency hits, we are ready."

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

What passed into law: S. 2393, the Foreclosure Relief and Extension for Servicemembers Act. The measure extends foreclosure protection for people who served in the military. Without the bill, that protection lasted just 90 days after people leave the service, but his bill extends that protection for a full year.

When Obama signed it: March 31

What Whitehouse said: "Some of the men and women who've served our country need time to find their financial footing as they leave active service. They should get it. Our service members keep us safe from all manner of threats around the globe. It's the least we can do to keep them and their families safe from foreclosure as they transition back to civilian life."

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

What passed into law: H.R. 1831, the Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act. The legislation would create a panel tasked with measuring the effectiveness of federal programs, such as anti-poverty initiatives.

When Obama signed it: March 30

What Ryan said: "Creating this commission is the first step in a long-term effort to change the mindset in Washington. When we're making policy, we shouldn't focus on effort, but results. And we need the best minds in evidence-based policy to figure out how we can use the data we already collect to improve how government works. That's what this commission will do."

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.

What passed into law: S. 2426, directing the secretary of state to develop a plan for Taiwan's observer status in the International Criminal Police Organization. Taiwan was a member of INTERPOL until 1984, when the People's Republic of China applied for membership.

When Obama signed it: March 18

What Gardner said: "I'm pleased the House of Representatives acted swiftly to pass my legislation, which recognizes Taiwan as our ally and demonstrates the United States' commitment to this longstanding relationship.

I urge the president to sign this bill into law in order to pave the path for Taiwan to collaborate with the United States and our allies to address today's challenges that are not just isolated to a country or region, but span the globe."

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.

What passed into law: S. 238, the Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act. The bill provides that the U.S. Bureau of Prisons must issue non-lethal pepper spray to guards in medium and high-security prisons for protection, and is named after a guard who was killed by a gang member in 2013.

When Obama signed it: March 9

What Toomey said: "Every day, America's law enforcement officers place their own lives at risk to defend the rest of us. For this, they deserve our gratitude and our support. We can now ensure that our correctional officers have a basic tool to defend themselves: non-lethal pepper spray.

"This bipartisan effort was made possible by the tireless efforts of Eric Williams' parents, Don and Jean Williams, who turned their family tragedy into a national effort to protect other officers."

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.

What passed into law: S. 2109, the Directing Dollars to Disaster Relief Act, which directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency to trim administrative costs in an effort to direct more money to disaster relief.

When Obama signed it: Feb. 29

What Johnson said: "One of my top priorities is to ensure taxpayer money is being used in the most efficient and effective way possible. The steady rise in administrative costs for disaster relief means that more and more money each year is diverted away from helping struggling communities get back on their feet after a major disaster.

"The Directing Dollars to Disaster Relief Act challenges FEMA to address this issue so that more money can be spent on disaster relief."

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.

What passed into law: H.R. 1428, the Judicial Redress Act, which is aimed at giving U.S. allies certain legal protections related to the data they share with the U.S. for law enforcement reasons. It is meant to assure European allies about how that data will be protected after the European Court of Justice invalidated an earlier data-sharing agreement.

When Obama signed it: Feb. 24.

What Sensenbrenner said: "The president's signing of the Judicial Redress Act shows America's commitment to rebuilding trust between allies and demonstrates our nation's willingness to act in good faith with our European allies to secure open lines of communication between law enforcement agencies. This is a significant achievement for our country, our allies and for the safety and security of the United States."

Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y.

What passed into law: H.R. 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, a broad bill dealing with several trade-related issues, including customs enforcement, import health and safety, intellectual property and customs evasion.

When Obama signed it: Feb. 24

What Reed said: "From the mortgage forgiveness deduction tax credit, which helps middle-income families who are struggling to save their homes, to making sure seniors have access to the resources they need, and even making sure countries like China have to play by the rules and not unfairly undercut American workers, we have really fought to do a lot of good."

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas

What passed into law: H.R. 3033, the Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia Act, to support research into dyslexia, including ways to detect it earlier and train teachers to help diagnosed students.

When Obama signed it: Feb. 18

What Smith said: "Today we can help millions of Americans have a brighter and more prosperous future. Despite the prevalence of dyslexia, many Americans remain undiagnosed, untreated and silently struggle at school or work. We need to enable those with dyslexia to achieve their maximum potential."

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif.

What passed into law: H.R. 757, the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act, which boosted sanctions against North Korea to prevent its development of nuclear weapons.

When Obama signed it: Feb. 18

What Royce said: "We can't stand by while the North Korean regime develops a nuclear arsenal capable of striking the United States. Targeted sanctions aimed at banks and companies that do business with Kim Jong-un will cut off the cash he needs to sustain his illicit weapons programs, his army and the continued repression of the North Korean people. I look forward to the full and aggressive implementation of this new law."

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.

What passed into law: H.R. 907, the U.S.-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act, to support Jordan in its fight against the Islamic State.

When Obama signed it: Feb. 18

What Ros-Lehtinen said: "By passing this legislation and sending it to the president's desk, Congress is sending an important message to our ally Jordan that we will continue to support the kingdom as it faces potential threats by [the Islamic State] and a serious strain on its resources and its economy as a result of the challenges stemming from an influx of Syrian refugees.

"Jordan has been on the front lines in the coalition fight against ISIL and in the response to the Syrian humanitarian crisis, but we must ensure that Jordan has the resources and support it needs to remain stable and secure."

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.

What passed into law: H.R. 515, the International Megan's Law to Prevent Child Exploitation and Other Sexual Crimes Through Advanced Notification of Traveling Sex Offenders Act. The bill is aimed at closing loopholes that allow convicted pedophiles to travel in and out of the U.S. without law enforcement being notified.

When Obama signed it: Feb. 8

What Smith said: "This important legislation authorizes the creation of a comprehensive, reciprocal international notification system to significantly expand protections for children worldwide.

"Now foreign governments will know when convicted pedophiles, who are currently required to be on government sex-offender registries, are traveling to other countries. Now they can assess the potential danger and take reasonable precautions to protect children, including denial of a visa or limiting travel."

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

What passed into law: S. 2152, the Electrify Africa Act, which will provide loan guarantees to help millions of Africans gain access to electricity.

When Obama signed it: Feb. 8

What Corker said: "With limited foreign assistance dollars, we need to focus on projects like energy that can be a catalyst for long-term growth throughout the region and reduce poverty. Our legislation will establish an all-of-the-above approach to energy generation while helping implement the best practices necessary for maintaining a reliable and financially viable electric grid."

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

What passed into law: S. 142, the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act, which requires child-proof caps on bottles of liquid nicotine.

When Obama signed it: Jan. 28

What Nelson said: "A few drops of this stuff can cause a child to become extremely ill. Requiring child-proof caps on these bottles is just common sense."

Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb.

What passed into law: S. 1115, the Grants Oversight and New Efficiency Act, which aims to boost financial accountability of federal grant programs.

When Obama signed it: Jan. 28

What Fischer said: "I'm pleased to see the GONE Act signed into law. Through teamwork and bipartisan common sense, I was proud to join Sen. [Joe] Manchin and Sen. [Ron] Johnson to target government waste and find some relief for taxpayers. This is a small but important first step in our effort to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and efficiently in the federal grant process."