Democrats Blow Up Mitch McConnell’s Agenda By Demanding Votes On Popular Liberal Issues

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Nine Senate Democrats are blowing up Mitch McConnell’s Senate agenda by demanding votes on four popular liberal issues.

In a letter to McConnell, nine Senate Democrats (Sens. Durbin, Murray, Wyden, Shaheen, Brown, Schumer, Casey, Schatz, Franken) called for votes on liberal issued that were popular during the Senate’s budget vote-a-rama:

As you know, amendments to the budget that are voted on during vote-a-rama do not have the force of law. However, a bipartisan majority vote on an amendment can be an important mark of whether or not a certain policy can pass the Senate with a 60 vote affirmative threshold. Too often, the budget vote-a-rama is characterized as a partisan exercise that leaves no lasting policy impact. Working with you, we hope to make this Budget vote-a-rama different. While we strongly oppose the underlying Senate Republican budget and the negative impacts it would have on middle-class and working families, we believe the following four amendments represent policies that deserve a vote in this Congress.

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Paid Sick Leave (passed 61-39) – Amendment No. 798 to improve workplace benefits and reduce health care costs, which may include measures to allow Americans to earn paid sick time to address their own health needs and the health needs of their families, and to promote equal employment opportunities.

Ending Discrimination Against Pregnant Workers (passed 100-0) – Amendment No. 632 to increase employment opportunities and prevent employment discrimination, which may include measures to prevent employment discrimination against pregnant workers, to provide pregnant workers with a right to workplace accommodations, and to ensure that employers comply with requirements regarding such workplace accommodations for pregnant workers.

Equal Access to Benefits for Same-Sex Couples (passed 57-43) – Amendment No. 1063 to ensuring all legally married same-sex spouses have equal access to the Social Security and veterans benefits they have earned and receive equal treatment under the law pursuant to the Constitution of the United States.

Middle-Class Tax Cuts (passed 73-27) – Amendment No. 968 to enacting middle class tax relief, including extending and expanding refundable tax credits, such as tax provisions and policies included in legislation like the Working Families Tax Relief Act, American Opportunity Tax Credit Permanence and Consolidation Act, Helping Working Families Afford Child Care Act, or the 21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act.

Each of the issues that the Democrats listed have proven their popularity in the Senate. Three of the four have already met the 60 vote threshold for passage.

Issues like an end to discrimination against pregnant workers, paid sick leave, and middle-class tax cuts would be huge for the majority of the country. Equal access to benefits for same-sex couples would also be big, but if the budget votes are a guide, that issue might come up a vote or three short of passage.

Senate Democrats are aggressively seizing the agenda, and push Mitch McConnell’s dream of a Koch driven Senate off to the side. Democrats know that McConnell is getting desperate to pass legislation, and they are taking advantage of the Majority Leader’s flailing by offering up several issues that would pass if legislation were brought to the floor for a vote.

The letter to McConnell is more proof that Republicans may hold the Senate majority, but it’s Democrats who are driving the agenda.

20 Replies to “Democrats Blow Up Mitch McConnell’s Agenda By Demanding Votes On Popular Liberal Issues”

  1. Republican votes that make them look like they’re looking out for the middle class, women and minorities are easy when the votes don’t really count. Putting them up for a real vote might show what’s really in their hearts. It’ll never happen.

  2. Apparently the Democrats have more balls when they are in the minority than when they have the majority

  3. I certainly hope they can stop the rethugs from having a veto proof majority on the rethugs bill to blow up the Iran deal.

  4. Yes, where have the Liberal Democrats been hiding for the last 6.5 years?

    Could the Democrats *finally* have learned to stop acting like Republican-Lite politicians, stop worrying about the next election & start representing the very people who elected them? As I always say, when you stop caring, you’re dangerous.

    Time for the ‘Republican Stomp-O-Roma!’

  5. OOOOOhhhh McConnell must be scared the Dems wrote a letter…seriously this is what we now call “blowing up” the agenda?

  6. End the Hyde Amendment. Religious laws are unconstitutional. This law hits military women especially hard. an untimely fertilized egg is a disaster when deployed or stationed in a State with strong anti-women religious laws.

  7. I thinking the same thing myself. They pandered to the RethugliCons/Teabaggies when they held the Senate and now they have found their balls? It’s about time!!

  8. Yeh mon. Your President is loved worldwide except in the US of A. Shame!!! We Canadians love him too and prefer him to our PM Stevie Harpie.

  9. It seems Senate Democrats are stronger in adversity than in authority. Hey, that’s not the way it’s supposed to be…….maybe their leader could take a page or two from Nancy Pelosi’s playbook.

  10. Say what you want but the archaic senate rules mean nothing will get done. Have you ever heard of the “secret hold?” That’s where 1 senator says “I don’t like this bill so I’m stopping it.” And he/she does and nobody knows who did the dirty deed. Even the tightened rules of the filibuster mean that every bill needs 60 or more votes even when the constitution says majority (51)rules. Even if you get it through the senate it dies in the house. The repubs used filibuster and fear of the ACA to take the house and gerrymandering means they are going to keep it until at least 2020. If they win the states in 2020 DC will stand pat until at least 2030. The dems are fighting a delaying action until 2017 when hopefully things will slightly change. The repubs will NEVER give up power without a fight! Don’t blame the dems, blame the voters that keep putting these idiots back in DC. This is OUR fault, we got the govt we voted for!

  11. Watching from the UK, it is clear the GOP is NOT the way to go. The are a Clear and Present Danger to the USA and by association us here. VOTE DEM.

  12. A specter is haunting America’s super-rich — the specter of progressive taxation.
    Don’t worry, though, the Republican Party is manning the barricades against this menace. That’s been true for the last 35 years, and it’s no less so now. Indeed, the Paul Ryan-led House Ways and Means Committee just symbolically voted to end the estate tax entirely. In other words, to stand in solidarity with the heirs of the top 0.2 percent.

    That’s how many households pay the estate tax now: 2 out of 1,000. Why so low? Well, the first $5.43 million that an individual or $10.86 million that a couple leaves behind isn’t taxed when they pass away. The estate tax, with its 40 percent top rate, only kicks in for anything more than that. And even then, creative accountants and big deductions can shield a lot of the rest from Uncle Sam. So it’s important to remember that there’s a difference between the top marginal tax rate and the effective tax rate that estates pay. Since the super-rich only owe the estate
    Read the whole thing
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/04/01/republicans-have-a-new-plan-to-cut-taxes-for-the-top-2-percent/

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