WASHINGTON—The United States Congress passed a law late Wednesday that for the first time in its 222-year history did not result in the sudden and unexpected deaths of thousands of ducks.

The law, designed to track suspicious interstate financial transactions, passed with an overwhelming majority in both houses and did not cause the usual hail of dead ducks to fall from the sky.

"I'm not sure what we did differently with this bill, but suffice it to say, we're pleasantly surprised by the result," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said from the duck-carcass-free steps of the Capitol. "No ducks spontaneously lost their buoyancy and drowned in their ponds, burst into flames, or lined up to be run over by a steamroller. It's a good day for Americans and a great day for ducks."

Since the ratification of the Constitution, an astounding 14.7 million ducks have died in the passage of legislation. While congressional resolutions to honor events, institutions, or people generally result in the demise of no more than 2,500 ducks, sources said each bill related to financial policy or security programs inexplicably takes the lives of at least 90,000 ducks.

The current record duck death toll traceable to Congress occurred following proposal of the 18th Amendment, which somehow caused 380,000 ducks to die. Its repeal by the 21st Amendment was accompanied by an additional 214,000 ducks flying directly into the sun.

"You can never predict how they're going to go," said Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), noting that even the Duck Protection Act of 1984 resulted in 4,100 ducks exploding over Chesapeake Bay. "We passed an FAA bill in 1998 that led to 80,234 ducks flying into jet engines, which kind of makes sense, I suppose. But then in 2000, we voted to approve a day of recognition for Hank Aaron, and 3,823 ducks had strokes. Whatever the case, it was nice to leave work this time without getting hit by a plunging duck."

According to congressional sources, the outcome of the legislation likely would have been different if Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) had been successful is his attempt to add a provision to the bill calling for 14,000 ducks to be stabbed to death.