McConnell declares Senate a 'legislative graveyard,' blocks 400 bills from House Democrats
House leaders held a press conference Thursday morning to tout 200 days of progress, even as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to obstruct legislation from moving through the Senate.
"Today we mark 200 days in the majority," Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) said. "We've passed nearly 400 pieces of legislation, [including] 50 major bills."
"This is the most productive House in modern history," he added.
He listed just some of those accomplishments, including legislation dealing with the minimum wage, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, fighting corruption in Washington, and protecting coverage for people with preexisting conditions.
"All of those bills are sitting on Mitch McConnell's desk," Cicilline said. "The president and Mitch McConnell need to get to work and bring those bills to the Senate floor so we can complete our work for the American people."
Unfortunately, McConnell has vowed to make the Senate a "legislative graveyard" by refusing to take up popular legislation passed by the House. McConnell bragged about being the Grim Reaper for the progressive agenda.
In May, McConnell had already blocked more than 100 pieces of House-passed legislation from coming to the Senate floor. Since then, the House has passed several major pieces of legislation that seem destined to die in McConnell's graveyard.
In late May, the House passed the Equality Act to update the Civil Rights Act and protect members of the LGBTQ community. In June, the House passed the Dream and Promise Act, a major piece of immigration legislation aimed at protecting Dreamers and other Americans who came to the United States at a young age. In July, the House voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 dollars per hour.
Through it all, McConnell seems content to maintain his obstructionist posture.
Democratic leaders did not aim all their ire at McConnell and his obstruction. Several members highlighted the House's work to strengthen the health care system, in opposition to Trump's efforts to undo the Affordable Care Act.
"Earlier this year, the House Democrats passed a package to lower prescription costs by increasing generic competition," Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) said. Trump's recent failures to lower prescription drug costs were left unsaid.
Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-OH), a registered nurse, highlighted the work Democrats have done to fight "the Trump administration's continual assault on health care that will destroy coverage for preexisting conditions and drive up health care costs."
"On day one, we got straight to work, and voted to throw the full legal weight of the U.S. House of Representatives against President Trump's heartless lawsuit to strike down protections for 130 million people with preexisting conditions," Underwood said.
She also highlighted a June vote to forbid funding to the Justice Department's efforts in that same lawsuit.
A recent poll shows Americans overwhelmingly support many of the priorities of the House. Still, McConnell refuses to lift a finger, not even allowing the Senate to take a vote on many of these important bills.
Published with permission of The American Independent. Attribution: Dan Desai Martin.