McConnell sits on 100 bills as the GOP tries to blame Democrats for inaction in Congress

McConnell sits on 100 bills as the GOP tries to blame Democrats for inaction in Congress
Image via Gage Skidmore.

Mitch McConnell reached a milestone last week. That’s when the Senate majority leader quashed his 100th bill of the year. That’s one hundred pieces of legislation — on infrastructure, on health care, on gun safety, on every single topic that American voters say is important to them in their everyday lives — that haven’t just stalled on McConnell’s desk, but have been forwarded directly to the trash can.

Because in order to make it appear that Democrats “have done nothing,” Republicans have done something. They’ve returned to the exact policy that McConnell pioneered under President Obama: Don’t cooperate on anything, at any time, no matter how important. Don’t expect this strategy to end. For the next two years, Republicans will regularly, daily, beat their chests over how Democrats just won’t pass legislation on important topics, while McConnell directs that exact legislation to the circular file. And they all laugh up their sleeves.

In support of the no-cooperation-on-anything policy, McConnell has been more than happy to see Congress take one blow after another as Trump has refused to hand over information required by law, ordered staffers and former staffers to disobey congressional subpoenas, and personally sued the chairmen of congressional committees. And if all that wasn’t enough, McConnell and the GOP Senate have now pledged that the single tool Congress holds against an out-of-control executive is off the table, before anyone ever sought to use it.

As The Hill reports, Senate Republicans are making it clear that if Trump were to be impeached in the House, that impeachment would be immediately quashed in the Senate. Unlike in the case of those 100 bills that he has cheerfully shit-canned, McConnell would be legally required to bring up articles of impeachment. But that doesn’t mean he and the narrow Republican majority can’t dispose of any charges immediately and get the Senate back to the people’s business … of doing exactly nothing. Less than nothing. Since their total accomplishments are simply making sure that any bill that leaves the House suffers an instant death.

McConnell would have to address any impeachment document that reaches his desk, but how he addresses it is pretty much up to him. And the answer appears to be that he’ll do so both quickly and with disdain.

What has reached McConnell’s desk so far only to die? Some of the items are certainly things that Republicans could be expected to vote against, such as a comprehensive reform package to uphold voting rights, a bill to limit partisan gerrymandering, and campaign finance reform that would address some of the wrongs created by the Citizen’s United decision. But Republicans don’t have to vote against those bills. Because McConnell has made certain that none of them has ever come up for a vote.

He’s done the same to reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. And to bills to save net neutrality. And to the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would put some actual teeth in labor standards passed over 50 years ago. Republicans have no concerns at all about having to go on the record against women, against racial equality, against fair pay, against preserving access to the net … because McConnell has already gone on the record for them. He’s against all those things.

He’s against everything, so long as it comes from the House. So long as Democrats control the House of Representatives, McConnell will continue to connect his inbox to his toilet. And then Republicans will stand up to loudly moan that Democrats are getting nothing done.

But on impeachment, they would at least have to take a vote. No matter how quick McConnell makes the process, or how dismissive his tone, every Republican senator would have to stand up and declare that they were totally okay with Donald Trump breaking the law, blatantly and repeatedly, in ways they had previously declared were an affront to the nation. They would just as soon not do that. Which is why Republicans are so set on telling Democrats how futile it would be impeach Trump.

Besides, then they’d have to interrupt their perpetual vacations and vote on something.


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