Democratic senators have been taking to social media to share photos of a pile of hundreds of bipartisan House-passed bills that still await action in the Senate as tensions continue to flare over the pace of legislation in the chamber.
“This is the pile of House-passed bills, 90% bipartisan, dead on [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell’s [R-Ky.] desk in the Senate #LegislativeGraveyard,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said in a Wednesday morning tweet that featured a photo of a stack of papers labelled “Bills stuck in the Senate.”
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) December 18, 2019
“Today, Leader McConnell could bring up legislation to: Lower health care costs, Protect pensions, Address gun violence,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) also said in a Wednesday tweet that included a photo of a similar stack.
“Instead, he refuses to take up important bipartisan bills that help hard-working American families. Democrats will keep fighting,” she continued.
Today, Leader McConnell could bring up legislation to:
✅ Lower health care costs
✅ Protect pensions
✅ Address gun violence
— Sen. Debbie Stabenow (@SenStabenow) December 17, 2019
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) also tweeted a photo of the stack and called on McConnell to allow a vote on the FAIR Drug Pricing Act, which seeks to address rising prescription drug prices in the country.
Majority Leader McConnell should allow a vote on my #FairDrugPricing Act to take on big drug companies and help lower the cost of medicine people depend on.
— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) December 18, 2019
The stack first appeared on Tuesday during a press conference held by the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC), which Stabenow heads as chairwoman. At the conference, Stabenow sounded off on McConnell and said he “turned the Senate into a legislative graveyard.”
Gesturing toward the stack during the conference, Stabenow said, “These are the bills — one copy of each of the over 300 bills that have passed the House that are gathering dust on Leader McConnell’s desk.”
“It’s 5,595 pages,” she continued. “We’re not including appropriations and other bills that will be passed. These are important bills that have come here to make a difference in people’s lives and Mitch McConnell has chosen not to act.”
“It’s incredibly important to understand that 9 out of 10 of these bills, 90 percent of this stack, is bipartisan,” added Stabenow, who was joined at the conference by Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.).
Some of the bills featured in the stack include the Equality Act, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act and the Raise The Wage Act.
McConnell’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
The demonstration comes as a number of Democratic senators have continued to take aim at McConnell — who has vowed to be “Grim Reaper” when it comes to progressive policies in the Senate if the GOP maintains control in 2020 — over the pace of legislation in the chamber.
“If I’m still the majority leader in the Senate, think of me as the Grim Reaper,” McConnell said back in April. “None of that stuff is going to pass.”
In recent months, as the House-launched impeachment investigation into President Trump has taken the news cycle by storm, Republicans have sought to blame stalled bills on the “impeachment obsession.”
“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.”
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), McConnell’s No. 2., also blamed the impeachment process, calling it a “distraction.”
“It’s the combination of impeachment, obviously, which is a huge distraction not just for the House but I think for Senate Democrats as well,” he said last month. “And it’s just, you know, they want to, on a regular basis, pick fights with the president.”
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) knocked the notion being pushed by Republicans that the House impeachment served as a distraction.
“The idea that the House impeachment inquiry is some sort of distraction from other issues is plain wrong,” Schumer said in November, adding, “We have over 200 House-passed bills we could consider here on the floor, and plenty of bipartisan Senate bills.”