WHY THE HOUSE’S FRUSTRATION IS JUSTIFIED…. Back in February, The Hill reported on a striking number: there were 290 bills passed by the House just sitting in the Senate waiting for consideration. That, of course, was nearly eight months ago.
A new tally shows that there are now 420 bills sitting on the Senate’s shelf after having been approved by the House. There’s still time for maybe a few of the 420 to get a vote in the lame-duck session, but even under the most optimistic of scenarios, Senate action would barely dent the enormous total.
Alex Pareene noted that some of 420 measures are relatively insignificant, but many matter a great deal.
As always, some of this is post office-naming. And some of it is food safety, and energy, and other things that might be nice for the country.
Senate procedural reform should probably be the number one progressive priority, considering that the Senate is what is standing in the way of most other big domestic progressive goals (softening the blow of years of far-right Republican judicial appointments, appointing liberals to the Fed, fixing the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, etc.) — but I’m not holding my breath.
We’ll often hear House Democratic leaders expressing frustration with Senate Democratic leaders over the fact that only one chamber seems capable of functioning as a legislative body. But it’s not really the members’ fault; it’s the institutional rules that make it possible for Republican abuses to take place on a scale unseen in American history.
Also note, there are 420 House bills awaiting Senate action, but that doesn’t include legislation the House didn’t bother with because it knew the Senate wouldn’t do anything, and it also doesn’t include the dozens of nominees and treaties that fall under the Senate’s purview, but which the chamber hasn’t been able to consider because of procedural abuses.
The Senate doesn’t work. The country desperately needs it to be fixed.