Republicans have finally found a fall guy for their incredibly brazen failure to legislate, in spite of being hired by the people to do exactly that. They feel they will be unable to legislate while the impeachment inquiry is ongoing, even though the House has managed to do both.
With just 20 legislative days left in the calendar until 2020, Senate Republicans claim to be suddenly very concerned about not having enough time to legislate because of impeachment.
The Hill reported Friday morning, “Senators are growing increasingly alarmed that the hyperfocus on impeachment has killed their legislative agenda heading into 2020.”
“We only have so much bandwidth, and if the bandwidth is all going to be used up pursuing this futile effort to remove the president, then that’s going to come at a cost. And I think the cost will be legislation that we could pass,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), an adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Pressed on the fate of “must-pass legislation” like funding the government and a mammoth defense policy bill, Cornyn added, “hopefully those won’t be casualties, but around here it’s anybody’s guess.”
Other Republicans chimed in with various “concerns”, including Chuck Grassley (R-IA) waving around the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade agreement as a threat. This trade deal is apparently a Republican Get Out of Jail free card.
Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin relied upon it after trying to blame impeachment and Democrats for the inability to pass regulatory reforms, when a reporter pointed out that Congress isn’t needed for that agenda.
“We’re trying to get USMCA passed. Unfortunately, we have some real obstructions,” Johnson complained according to the Hill.
Yet, the timeline of Republicans being unwilling or unable to legislate predate the impeachment inquiry. As I noted on Twitter:
October 25: With just 20 legislative days left, Senate GOP claims impeachment will stop them from working.
September 24: Impeachment inquiry initiated.
By May: McConnell has already referred to himself as the “Grim Reaper” of any Democratic proposals. Republicans already long ignored 100+ House passed bills.
Right after the announcement of the impeachment inquiry, Republicans ended negotiations background checks.
A Senate staffer told Washington Free Beacon reporter Stephen Gutowski that “gun legislation is dead, at least for the time being, because of the impeachment inquiry” that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday.
The Democratic-led House has passed legislation on issues of gun control, health care, voters’ rights, climate change, and the Equality Act. Some of these issues Republicans are against, like protecting our climate, equal rights, and voters’ rights. But they do not openly admit to being against health care, other than working to undermine Obamacare and whittle away patients’ rights in any way they can without actually managing to pass legislation to repeal and replace, in spite of their many promises to the contrary.
Poll after poll shows that even many Trump supporters want some measure of gun control. And yet, the Republican lawmakers refuse to budge an inch from the Russian linked NRA dark money control over the issue.
True, the Senate has passed 20 bills that have not made their way through the House as well, including one on robocalls. But even Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana said on the Senate floor that they’ve done “nothing” but confirm Trump’s judicial nominations, which makes perfect sense because Mitch McConnell knows that the way to fundamentally change America without getting the voters to approve is by stacking the courts.
House Democrats managed to pass an election security bill while they also began the impeachment inquiry, so it’s even more strange that Republicans are worried that they will somehow be impeded from beginning to work at this late date in the legislative calendar.
The impeachment inquiry is not some partisan hit job over a lie about a blow job; but rather, a long-pushed for inquiry into Donald Trump’s abuse of power and threat to our national security. It is national security experts who have, time and again, risked their careers to come forward with concerns over the way Trump conducts himself with foreign adversaries and uses his position as president to extort other countries into doing his dirty work against his political opponents.
The fact is that Republicans have made not legislating their thing since the early days of former President Obama’s first term, with Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky vowing to obstruct everything Obama did, even if it was good for the country and or the people.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.