Leader Mitch McConnell Has Turned The Senate Into A Legislative Graveyard

April 30, 2019

“The American people cannot afford to have Leader McConnell turn one chamber of their government into a legislative graveyard for two full years,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said today on the Senate floor.

LEADER MCCONNELL ADMITTED HE IS A “GRIM REAPER” FOR LEGISLATION TO HELP THE MIDDLE CLASS

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY):  “If I'm still the majority leader of the Senate, think of me as the Grim Reaper. None of that stuff is going to pass. None of it.” [Remarks in Owensboro, KY via CNN, 4/22/19]

UNDER LEADER MCCONNELL’S WATCH, COMMONSENSE, BIPARTISAN PROPOSALS TO HELP AMERICANS CONTINUE TO DIE IN HIS LEGISLATIVE GRAVEYARD

More than 100 bills passed by the House are awaiting legislative action in the Senate, including:

H.R.1, For the People Act, a sweeping package of pro-democracy reforms that aims to make it easier, not harder, to vote; end the dominance of big money in politics; and ensure that public officials work for the public interest.

H.R.7, Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation to empower women to challenge pay discrimination in the workplace, which passed the House with bipartisan support.

H.R.8, Bipartisan Background Checks Act, legislation to enact the common sense, widely-supported expansion of background checks for gun purchases, which passed the House with bipartisan support.

H.R.1585, Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which passed the House with bipartisan support.

H.R.1644, Save the Internet Act, legislation to restore net neutrality, which passed the House with bipartisan support.

BY REFUSING TO CONSIDER BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION AND AMENDMENTS, LEADER MCCONNELL HAS FAILED TO LIVE UP TO HIS PROMISES ABOUT HOW REPUBLICANS WOULD RUN THE SENATE

Leader McConnell promised that he would open the Senate so that ideas with bipartisan support could come to the floor, and said that he would allow a free and open amendment process to foster bipartisanship and deliver real legislation to the president’s desk. But Leader McConnell has failed to live up to these commitments. Instead, he has filled the amendment tree – a process that denies senators of both parties the ability to offer amendments – more than all other Republican majority leaders in the history of the Senate combined. Only eight amendments have received floor votes in the 116th Congress.

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY):  “If Republicans were fortunate enough to reclaim the Majority in November, I assure you, my friends, all of this would change. A Senate majority under my leadership would break sharply from the practices of the Reid era in favor of a far more free-wheeling approach to problem solving. I would work to restore its traditional role as a place where good ideas are generated, debated and voted upon. We’d fire up the committee process. And, by the way, when I say that, I mean Democratic ideas, too. […] I guarantee you these are things that can and will change because one person can change most of the problems in the Senate and that’s whoever the majority leader is, the person who gets to set the agenda has the right of prior recognition and has the opportunity to decide whether you’re going to apply a gag rule to everybody or whether you’re going to use tactics that create a greater level of comity and, of course, get more results. [Remarks at the American Enterprise Institute, 5/22/14]

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY):  “Voting on amendments is good for the Senate, and it’s good for the country. Our constituents should have greater voice in the process. They should also know where we stand on the issues of the day, regardless of whether the majority party thinks those issues are worth debating or voting on. And if Republicans are fortunate enough to be in the Majority next year, they would.” [Press Release, 1/8/14]

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “There is a desire to get this institution back to the way it used to function, which honors and respects all the members and allows everybody to participate and offer their ideas, regardless of party. And I intend to do that," said McConnell, the minority leader for eight years. "That's something that the majority leader can do and I intend to do it." [Louisville Courier Journal, 12/23/14]

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): "We're not going to engage in exercises in futility." [AP, 9/16/15]

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): "We only have so much floor time in the Senate. We are going to try to use it on serious proposals that have a chance of becoming law, and my assumption is the President is not going to want to revisit this issue." [Floor Remarks, 9/10/15]

INSTEAD, LEADER MCCONNELL HAS WASTED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE’S TIME BY FORCING CYNICAL SHOW VOTES

Rather than devoting the Senate’s time to enacting much-needed bipartisan legislation, Leader McConnell has forced cynical show votes. Because of the cloture process, these unnecessary partisan exercises often waste multiple days of the Senate’s valuable time that could be devoted to addressing Americans’ pressing needs. These show votes include bills to limit women’s reproductive health choices, including one that faced bipartisan opposition, and Leader McConnell’s political stunt vote on climate change. 

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