Top GOP lawmakers allege House Democrats are less effective

Top GOP lawmakers allege House Democrats are less effective
© Greg Nash

House Republicans accused the Democratic majority of making the lower chamber less productive than when it was under GOP control, arguing more bipartisan bills were passed and more legislation was voted out of committee during the first six months of the 115th Congress than during the same time frame this year.

It's a comparison Democrats have been quick to dismiss as unfair and misleading.

ADVERTISEMENT

According to the nonpartisan public affairs software company Quorum, Republicans between Jan. 3 and June 21, 2017, passed 257 bills out of committee and 230 bills total, with 124 of those being bipartisan. From Jan. 3 to June 21, 2019, Democrats passed 155 bills out of committee and 181 bills total, with 106 of those being bipartisan.

While Democrats argue the numbers touted by Republicans are like comparing apples to oranges, GOP lawmakers have been eager to portray the majority as a party more focused on a partisan agenda than creating law. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthySunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe Democrats question GOP shift on vaccines Has Trump beaten the system? MORE (R-Calif.) specifically blasted Democrats for failing to put out a budget — noting Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe House Democrats grow frustrated as they feel ignored by Senate Yellen to Congress: Raise the debt ceiling or risk 'irreparable harm' MORE (D-Calif.) previously said, “Show me your values. Show me your budget” — and slammed committee chairmen for the issues they have prioritized and their handling of investigations into the White House. 

“We were much more efficient. I mean, look at some of their chairmen like [House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold] Nadler [D-N.Y.]. Nadler is not up to being a chairman,” McCarthy told The Hill. 

“I mean, not even knowing the name of the witness, to asking the attorney general to break the law on a subpoena, to even running the meeting — the embarrassment of not knowing parliamentary procedure. And then from the standpoint of what they are producing, they're not producing anything to actually become law,” he added.

Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock Poll shows tight GOP primary for Georgia governor MORE (R-Ga.) echoed McCarthy’s sentiments, arguing Democrats are hyperfocused on the Mueller investigation instead of trying to tackle border security. 

“Democrats are fueling the humanitarian crisis at the southern border by refusing to fix the policy loopholes driving it,” he said in a statement. “Democrats have made political expedience their platform: They’ve fixated on disputing the findings of a closed investigation instead of helping CBP, ICE, and HHS officials care for migrants and secure our border.” 

Democrats have vehemently refuted the criticisms, arguing they’ve focused on substance over numbers, with one senior aide noting that 10 of the bills passed during the first six months of the 115th Congress were related to “either naming something, siting a memorial, encouraging flag flying or related to personnel” despite having control of both chambers and the White House.  

“Six months into complete GOP control of Washington, House Republicans were struggling not to shut down government and fumbling through an anemic, special interest legislative agenda that they tried to race through Congress with as little public scrutiny or debate as possible,” Pelosi spokesman Henry Connelly said in an email.

“In stark contrast, Democrats have restored transparency and regular order to the House, and have already passed the bulk of our signature For The People agenda bills in just the first six months,” he added.

House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenEx-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Ex-Rep. John Shimkus joins lobbying firm Lobbying world MORE (R-Ore.) said that while bipartisan work has been accomplished in the first six months on the committee level, he feels Democratic leadership has hindered Congress’s ability to pass legislation the president is willing to sign by either adding riders to what would have been bipartisan bills or attaching bipartisan legislation that passes out of committee to bills that couldn’t pass the Senate. 

“I was disappointed this year on the CREATES Act and pay-for-delay reforms. We worked closely with the Democrats on the committee, got to bipartisan, I think unanimous coming out of the committee,” he said.

“And then somebody on up the food chain felt compelled to tie them to bills they knew we couldn't support so I guess they could force us to vote no on the floor. And it seemed to be a misguided decision because if you want to get something in the law, you need a big boat out of the House, regardless of who's in charge, to help the Senate and the White House, and sometimes I wonder about the strategy.”

Top Democrats pushed back on the notion they haven’t been inclusive, touting the number of GOP amendments brought up on bills and noting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse Democrats grow frustrated as they feel ignored by Senate Democrats question GOP shift on vaccines Has Trump beaten the system? MORE (R-Ky.) has vowed to block their landmark bills that have passed the lower chamber. 

“Thus far, House Democrats have made in order more Republican-offered amendments alone (164 R-led amendments) than the entire number of amendments (140 Democrat and Republican) the GOP House made in order by this point last Congress. In total, House Democrats have already made 839 amendments in order this Congress,” a Democratic leadership staffer said.