To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Observercast

The Real Reason Congress Doesn’t Get Anything Done

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Why doesn’t Congress get anything done?

Well, one chamber actually does. Hundreds of bills have been passed by the House of Representatives, but have been blocked from even getting a vote in the Senate. Bills like The Freedom to Vote Act, The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, The Equality Act, Background checks for gun sales, Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, The Protecting the Right to Organize Act, The Build Back Better Act. The list goes on.

So why aren’t these crucial bills getting a vote in the Senate? Because the filibuster makes it impossible.

All told, the House passed over 200 bills in 2021 that have not been taken up in the Senate. Everything from investing in rural education to preventing discrimination against pregnant workers to protecting seniors from scams – bills that have real, tangible benefits for the public; bills that have widespread public support.

So don’t believe the media narrative that Congress is trapped in hopeless gridlock and both sides are to blame. One chamber of Congress, led by Democrats, is passing important legislation and delivering for the people. But Republicans in the Senate, and a handful of corporate Democrats, are hell-bent on grinding the gears of government to a halt.

Why are Senate Republicans doing this? Because their midterm strategy depends on it. Republicans are blocking crucial legislation so they can point to Democrats’ supposed inability to get anything done, and claim they’ll be able to deliver if you give them majorities.

Don’t fall for it.

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Robert Reich
Robert Reich
Robert Reich’s latest book is The System: Who Rigged It, How To Fix It. He is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century.