Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, saying that McConnell’s leadership in recent years has turned the Senate into a “legislative graveyard,” as The Hill reports.
The minority leader’s remarks came in a statement released Friday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had pressured McConnell in a “Dear Colleague” letter issued to fellow Democrats. Pelosi encouraged McConnell to bring to the Senate floor legislation which had recently passed the House of Representatives, including an ethics and election reform bill, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and new background check legislation for gun purchases.
“Leader McConnell ought to allow debate and amendments immediately — which Democrats would welcome — on commonsense, House-passed bills on democracy reform, combating the gun violence epidemic, health care, and so much more,” read Schumer’s statement, which also implored that “the Senate must once again become a legislative body that helps the American people, not a graveyard.”
Both Democratic leaders were in part reacting to McConnell’s recent comments in which he characterized himself as the “Grim Reaper,” promising to put an end to progressive policies by refusing to bring to the floor any part of the progressive agenda, which he continues to characterize as socialism.
As lawmakers headed into their two-week recess, Schumer also had an opportunity to speak with reporters about his feelings regarding McConnell’s performance as Senate Majority Leader, giving the senator an “F” based on his work in the first 100 days of the current Congress.
“On getting anything done to help the American people, Leader McConnell and the Senate Republicans in the first 100 days get an ‘F,’” Schumer told the reporters present at a briefing. He also described his opponent as a “self-proclaimed grim reaper” whose refusal to consider new legislation offered by Democrats in the House continues to hurt the middle class and the country at large.
Due to the divided nature of both the House and the Senate, McConnell, for the foreseeable future, will remain largely in control of the path new legislation takes, even if it passes the House. Currently there are dozens of passed House bills deliberately stalled in the Senate with no signs of breaking loose under McConnell’s leadership. Meanwhile, there are a number of nominations on deck for consideration when the recess ends on Monday.
McConnell has pledged to remain steadfast in his obstruction of Democratic priorities, even going as far as to encourage fellow Senators up for re-election to run on the basis of acting as a firewall against socialism in the Senate.