Democrats: The ‘Do Quite a Lot’ Party
One of the most insidious accusations coming from President Trump and Republicans in the wake of the impeachment inquiry is that Democrats are solely focused on impeachment and are ignoring the business the people sent them to Congress to do. It is a smear tactic to make Americans believe that Democrats are shirking their duty to the people who elected them. In the latest example, Trump on Sunday accused Democrats of being the “Do Nothing” party.
But that accusation ignores the truth, which, as we all know, is a concept with which Trump and Republicans have a tenuous relationship.
Let’s set the record straight.
While Republicans were smearing the reputations of our diplomats, House-passed bills that dealt with the people’s urgent business of fixing a corrupt government, making our streets safer and ensuring equal pay were dying slow deaths in the Senate.
While Republicans were trying to destroy the credibility of brave patriots who testified publicly about the egregious abuses of power of the commander-in-chief, House-passed bills protecting our planet, ensuring women were safe from violence and protecting America’s “Dreamers” were gathering dust on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) desk.
While Republicans regurgitated debunked conspiracy theories that help Russian leader Vladimir Putin continue to attack our democracy, a myriad of bills passed by the Democratic-controlled House are wasting away in the Republican-controlled Senate’s graveyard.
Disgracefully, McConnell has even dubbed himself the “grim reaper” of Democratic bills. Most Americans find this unacceptable, an affront to what McConnell was sent to the Senate to do.
In a “Dear Colleague” letter that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent as the House of Representatives took up the impeachment inquiry vote, she listed key bills that are awaiting Senate approval. These include:
- R. 1, For The People Act — Sent to the Senate 239 days ago, which would help root out corruption in government and reduce the role of money in politics;
- H.R. 8, Bipartisan Background Checks Act — Sent to the Senate 248 days ago, which would ensure that guns do not easily fall into the hands of those who should not have them;
- H.R. 7, Paycheck Fairness Act — Sent to the Senate 220 days ago;
- H.R. 1585, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization — Sent to the Senate 212 days ago;
- H.R. 9, Climate Action Now Act — Sent to the Senate 184 days ago, which would work to help the survival of the planet;
- H.R. 5, Equality Act — Sent to the Senate 169 days ago, which would help ensure safety, security and fairness to our LGBTQ brothers and sisters;
- H.R. 6, Dream and Promise Act — Sent to the Senate 151 days ago, which would help ensure stability and safety from deportation to our young immigrants;
- H.R. 582, Raise the Wage Act — Sent to the Senate 107 days ago, which would help American working families earn a real living wage.
There are other bills. The Secure Act, which passed the House in May on a widely bipartisan vote (417 to 3), would seek to help more Americans save for retirement. The bill remains stalled in – Are you sensing a trend here? – the Senate.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) responded to the absurd notion that Democrats in Congress are doing nothing by listing everything she and other Democrats have worked on, including authoring 15 bills, co-sponsoring more than 300 pieces of legislation, exposing abuses of power and taking on Big Pharma in hearings, which led to generic prescriptions being available a year early.
In contrast, Ocasio-Cortez points out that in his three years in office, President Trump has put kids in cages and made corruption a cause celebre.
While Republicans were busy making lame, fantastical excuses for a corrupt president, Democrats were busy holding hearings on national security, on making health care more accessible and on leveling the playing field for Latina women, who are paid $.54 to every $1.00 a non-Hispanic white man is paid.
While Republicans were busy ignoring Trump’s egregious abuses of power, even Senate Democrats were demanding that McConnell take up the legislation laying on his desk on health care, gun safety, protecting veterans’ health care, investing in minority communities and protecting “Dreamers.”
Democrats will keep working on behalf of American voters, who sent them to Washington to take care of the country’s business, which includes holding a crooked president accountable.
Voters will hold Donald Trump accountable in 2020 for betraying their trust and putting his personal political interests before the nation’s interests and the wellbeing of every American. And they will hold Senate Republicans accountable for being derelict in their duty to prioritize their country over a corrupt president.
Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.