The Democratic House majority has passed a slew of bills so far this year, including some good ones that would expand voting rights, LGBTQ protections, and offer a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as kids.
Unfortunately, all of those bills have run into the brick wall known as the Senate, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaling that all of them are dead on arrival as soon as they pass the House. On Friday, McConnell called himself “the grim reaper when it comes to the socialist agenda.”
Instead of acknowledging the obvious fact that essentially anything remotely they try to pass out of the House is doomed to fail in the Senate, and thus most of the public will never know about it unless they’re really interested in legislative minutiae, the Washington Post reports that some Democrats are starting to blame the many investigations into the crime-doing president for obscuring their policy agenda. Which, again, has no shot at being enacted while the GOP holds the Senate.
Per the Post:
In recent weeks, Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has briefed fellow House leaders in private meetings about focus groups the committee commissioned in three key political battlegrounds. The upshot, according to four Democrats familiar with the findings, is that the public’s impression of the new House majority is bound up in its battles with Trump, not in its policy agenda.
That has prompted anxiety about whether the Democratic strategy to hold the House in 2020, by focusing intently on health-care costs and other kitchen-table issues, can be effective amid the president’s attacks.
You mean to tell me that the public associates House Democrats with ongoing investigations into Trump and his repeated public attacks on them, and not bills that are dying slow deaths in the Senate, as centrist Democrats piss on bills like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal that already have amassed wide support from activists in the Democratic base? I am absolutely shocked.
“When I look at my week, where I’m spending my time, I’m spending zero hours per week, zero minutes per week on investigations and impeachment, and I’m spending a lot of time on the issues that my district sent me here to work on,” Democrat Ben McAdams told the Post. “But it doesn’t break through. People understand controversy more than they understand retirement reform, you know?” (Not sure I even want to know what McAdams means by “retirement reform.”)
Added Kim Schrier, a freshman from Washington: “The big danger here is that the other side of the aisle, namely our president, is conveying a message that nothing is getting done and that all the Democrats are doing is investigating, and that is completely false.”
So what are they doing to combat this notion? The Post again:
Over the past month, Democrats have stepped up their messaging efforts on some fronts. Late last month, for instance, the advocacy group Protect Our Care spent seven figures on a campaign to highlight Democratic health-care initiatives in 20 House districts. On an individual level, McAdams has held issue-focused events in his Salt Lake City-area district — highlighting Democratic action on health care, transportation and immigration. Schrier said she has made it a point to mention the House bills in local media interviews on unrelated issues.
Honestly? Not a bad idea, even if their prescriptions leave a lot to be desired. With that said, let’s check out what Democratic congressional leaders are doing:
But the more visible push from top leaders has been to highlight McConnell’s blanket opposition to virtually every major bill the House has passed so far this year.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) in April started calling McConnell’s Senate a “legislative graveyard” and has worked behind the scenes since then to build a messaging strategy focused on McConnell’s intransigence.
That spooky tagline seems to have stuck: Pelosi on Thursday conducted her weekly news conference beside a “McConnell’s Graveyard” placard with stylized tombstones for nine House bills that have yet to see a Senate vote. The week before, a dozen Democratic freshmen marched to McConnell’s office to deliver a letter demanding that he hold a vote on the anti-corruption bill.
Yup, we’re doomed.