McCaskill: 'Mitch McConnell has presided over absolutely destroying Senate norms'

Former Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillGOP lukewarm on talk of airline bailout Claire McCaskill: Ron Johnson is an 'embarrassing tool' To winnow primary field, Obama and other Democrats must speak out  MORE (Mo.) said on Sunday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCoronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner Struggling states warn coronavirus stimulus falls short Hillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike MORE (R-Ky.) has “presided over absolutely destroying Senate norms” amid partisan tensions in the upper chamber.

“I think the Senate was broken, Congress was broken, before impeachment came along,” she said during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “My first year in the Senate, I voted on 306 legislative amendments.”

“This year, there’s fewer than 30,” she continued.

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“Mitch McConnell has presided over absolutely destroying Senate norms, from Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandDC wine bar loses appeal in lawsuit against Trump hotel Mitch McConnell may win the impeachment and lose the Senate The Trumpification of the federal courts MORE to killing legislative debate," she said. "The Senate is no longer what it was, and the people of this country are going to have to be the ones politically to put pressure on this dysfunction and say we want unity, we want stuff to get done, we want you to quit the partisan food fight."

Last week, a number of Democratic senators took to social media to share photos of a pile of hundreds of bipartisan House-passed bills that still await action in the Senate. 

“This is the pile of House-passed bills, 90% bipartisan, dead on Mitch McConnell’s desk in the Senate #LegislativeGraveyard,” Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Energy: Coronavirus package punts on environmental fights | Court sides with tribes in Dakota Access Pipeline case | Trump officials walk away from ethanol court fight Coronavirus package punts on environmental fights Overnight Energy: House stimulus aims to stem airline pollution | Environmental measures become sticking point in Senate talks | Progressives propose T 'green stimulus' MORE (D-R.I.) said in a tweet at the time that featured a photo of a stack of papers labelled “Bills stuck in the Senate.”

The stack included several high-profile bills, like the Equality Act, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act and the Raise the Wage Act. 

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The demonstration came as a number of Democratic senators have continued to make jabs at McConnell — who has vowed to be the “Grim Reaper” when it comes to progressive policies in the Senate — over the pace of legislation in the chamber.

Republicans have sought to place blame over the stalled bills on what they call "impeachment obsession” as the House-launched investigation into President TrumpDonald John TrumpWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Coronavirus hits defense contractor jobs Wake up America, your country doesn't value your life MORE has continued to dominate headlines.

“There are things that we have to do that ... we’re not making any progress on because of the impeachment obsession over in the House," McConnell told reporters last month. "I heard a number of Democrats in the House say they can walk and chew gum at the same time. Now is the time to prove it." 

However, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTexas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill Pelosi not invited by Trump to White House coronavirus relief bill's signing COVID-19, Bill Barr and the American authoritarian tradition MORE (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats have pushed back on that notion.

“The idea that the House impeachment inquiry is some sort of distraction from other issues is plain wrong,” he said in November, adding, “We have over 200 House-passed bills we could consider here on the floor, and plenty of bipartisan Senate bills.”