Looking for the do-nothing culprits: Put sights on the Senate

by Norm Hoffmann

Trump and Mitch McConnell keep repeating the phrase “do nothing Democrats” but it is Senate Republicans who are the do nothing legislators. More than 270 bills passed by the House and sent to the Senate for action have been laid to rest in the Senate’s “legislative graveyard” by “Grim Reaper” Mitch McConnell. These include bills that most Republican Senators support.

Early in Trump’s administration, McConnell was embarrassed when the Senate passed a bill Mitch thought would be signed by Trump. Instead, Trump changed his mind and did not sign the bill. Apparently McConnell now will not allow any bill to come up for a vote unless it is an essential housekeeping measure or has clear support of Trump.

Among the bills are those addressing Russian and other foreign interference in our elections. One of the most recent was a bill that would require political campaigns to report offers of assistance from foreign entities. Bills to fund upgrading of election equipment and other actions to further safeguard our elections are in Mitch’s graveyard. Our representative Mark Meadows voted against this bill in the House. 

I guess Republicans don’t care about election security since Russia tried to help them in 2016. On 60 Minutes telecast November 24, we discovered that Russia influenced Congressional elections in favor of Republicans in a number of states including North Carolina. A recent report indicated that Senator Graham received almost a million dollars from Russian related sources. I guess GOP now stands for Good Old Putin.

One bill passed by the House in March is the Paycheck Fairness Act that would have among other things forbid retaliation against employees who compared their salaries. Even some Republicans voted for this in the House.

Another bipartisan bill passed by the house is the Bipartisan Background Check Act to close loopholes in the current background check law. This is not only bipartisan, but supported by many gun owners. This bill passed the House in January. It still sits in McConnell’s in box.

A bill to reduce the cost of prescription drug costs and protect people with pre-existing conditions passed by the house about a month or so ago has gone to Mitch McConnell’s legislative graveyard. The latest reports are that Republicans are going to the courts to eliminate protections for those with preexisting conditions. Just goes to show that all that Trump and Republican talk about protecting pretexting conditions and lowering drug prices is just that – talk.

Then there is the Violence Against Women Act that passed the House in April with bipartisan support is going nowhere in the Senate. This also would have provided funding for domestic abuse programs.

These are just a sampling of the hundreds of bills that Mitch McConnell is sitting on in the Senate. The “do nothings” are not in the House, they are the Republicans in the Senate who are kowtowing to Mitch, Trump’s surrogate in the Senate. Democrats in the House are trying to do the country’s business, but Republicans in general and Trump in particularly seem to be interested only in power.

As with the other thousands of his lies, Trump is just trying to divert attention from where problems actually lie to his ratings contest of how often he is in the news. We need the media and the public to focus on issues of importance to the business of the country, not just Trump’s misdeeds and theatrics. 

Published in The Mountaineer on December 11, 2019

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