While American Families Demand Senate Action To Address Gun Violence, Secure Our Elections, And Provide Better Health Care At Lower Costs, Senator Mitch McConnell Continues To Bury Bills In His Legislative Graveyard

September 27, 2019

The House and Senate have a responsibility to conduct thorough oversight and pass legislation designed to improve the lives of the American people. But unfortunately, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans have turned the Senate into a legislative graveyard, refusing to take action on critical legislation that already has bipartisan support. More than 200 House-passed bills are buried in Leader McConnell’s legislative graveyard, and that number continues to grow.

“Long before the impeachment inquiry began, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had buried bill after bill to help the American people in his legislative graveyard,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. “Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans have refused to debate the issues of the day and have totally failed to deliver a single big-ticket legislative victory in the 116th Congress. Unfortunately Leader McConnell’s legislative graveyard continues to grow as he refuses to allow Senate action on more than 200 House-passed bills including legislation to end gun violence, secure our elections, and provide better health care coverage at lower costs in his legislative graveyard. The American people deserve better.”

On the Senate floor, Republicans have repeatedly blocked legislation to secure our elections, protect Americans’ health care, and take action on climate change. And Leader McConnell is refusing to allow the Senate to debate critical issues like universal background checks, prescription drug pricing, and crucial protections for workers and consumers. Democrats are ready to tackle these challenges and get to work for the American people. It’s time for Leader McConnell to stop standing in the way, because Americans deserve a Senate that is working for them.

LEADER MCCONNELL AND SENATE REPUBLICANS HAVE REPEATEDLY BLOCKED CRITICAL LEGISLATION FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans have blocked efforts by Democrats to pass commonsense bills on the Senate floor, including:

Election Security

H.R.2722, Securing America’s Federal Elections Act, legislation to help safeguard elections from foreign interference, which passed the House with bipartisan support.

S.2242, Foreign Influence Reporting in Elections Act, bipartisan legislation to require presidential candidates to report contact from foreign state actors to the FBI.

S.1247, Duty to Report Act, legislation to require candidates to report offers of assistance foreign state actors to the FBI and FEC.

S.890, Senate Cybersecurity Protection Act, bipartisan legislation to provide cybersecurity assistance to the Senate.

S.1540, Election Security Act, legislation to require paper ballots and provide election security grants.

Health Care

S.1556, No Junk Plans Act, legislation to overturn the Trump administration’s expansion of junk health insurance plans.

H.R.986, Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act, which passed the House with bipartisan support.

S.Res.18, a resolution authorizing the Senate Legal Counsel to intervene in the federal court case that would undermine protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

S.Res.94, a resolution asking the Department of Justice to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions.

Climate Change

S.J.Res.9, bipartisan legislation calling on the United States and Congress to take immediate action on climate change.

S.Res.97, legislation to establish a Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

Other Critical Issues

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.549, Venezuela TPS Act, legislation to protect Venezuelans from deportation, which passed the House with bipartisan support.

H.R.2486, FUTURE Act, legislation to reauthorize funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges, and Hispanic-Serving Institutions, which passed the House on a bipartisan voice vote.

LEADER MCCONNELL HAS BURIED COMMONSENSE, BIPARTISAN PROPOSALS PASSED BY THE HOUSE IN HIS LEGISLATIVE GRAVEYARD.

More than 200 bills passed by the House are awaiting legislative action in the Senate, including:

H.R.986, Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act, which passed the House with bipartisan support.

H.R.987, Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act, legislation to counteract the Trump administration’s efforts to sabotage the healthcare system, 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.1112, Enhanced Background Checks Act, legislation to close the “Charleston Loophole” for gun purchases, which passed the House with bipartisan support.

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.2722, Securing America’s Federal Elections Act, legislation to help safeguard elections from foreign interference, which passed the House with bipartisan support.

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

H.R.5, Equality Act, legislation to prevent discrimination against the LGBTQ community, which passed the House with bipartisan support.

H.R.1500, Consumers First Act, legislation to strengthen the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

H.R.1994, SECURE Act, legislation to help workers save for retirement, which passed the House with bipartisan support.

H.R.1423, Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act, legislation to eliminate forced arbitration clauses in employment, consumer, and civil rights cases, which passed the House with bipartisan support.

H.R.6, American Dream and Promise Act, legislation to protect Dreamers and those with Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Enforced Departure by ensuring they have a path to citizenship, which passed the House with bipartisan support.

H.R.549, Venezuela TPS Act, legislation to protect Venezuelans from deportation, which passed the House with bipartisan support.

H.R.2486, FUTURE Act, legislation to reauthorize funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges, and Minority-Serving Institutions, which passed the House on a bipartisan voice vote.

H.R.9, Climate Action Now Act, legislation to hold the administration to the United States’ commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which passed the House with bipartisan support.

H.R.1146, Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act, legislation to block oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which passed the House with bipartisan support.

H.R.1941, Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act, legislation to ban offshore drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, which passed the House with bipartisan support.

H.R.205, Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act, Republican-sponsored legislation to ban offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, 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.

When he made his case for a Republican Senate Majority, then-Minority Leader Mitch 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 as Majority Leader, Senator McConnell has failed to honor 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 19 amendments have received floor votes this year. 

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “You know, nothing is done easily in the Senate. But as you call recall, I said at the beginning of my time as majority leader that the open amendment process was going to be the rule rather than the exception. We've done that. When you have to be open for amendment, it presents the opportunity for troublesome proposals from both sides. But we saw what the Senate looked like when nothing happened: 15 roll call votes in all of 2014; no budget for the last five years. We're not going to have that kind of Senate this year. And we'll just take our chances. You know, we're big men and women. We're prepared to vote on proposals that are offered from both sides.” [Press Conference with Speaker Ryan, 1/14/16]

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):  “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]

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