Saturday, June 09, 2018
Jason Smith: House is working with President Trump, but obstructionist liberals are bogging down the Senate
It’s about time the United States Senate calls the bluff of the obstructionist liberals in their ranks and gets serious about finishing the people’s work. Just this week they took a step in the right direction by canceling Senators’ traditional August break – doubling down on their efforts to confirm the President’s nominees and get through the backlog of limited government, pro-growth pieces of legislation the U.S. House has passed over the last 18 months which have been stymied in the Senate. The House of Representatives has been more productive working with President Trump than with any of the last four administrations, but the Senate is setting records of its own for how long it takes to finish their work and the number of delay tactics being used to slow down President Trump’s agenda.
Obstructionists use many road blocks, one of the most common methods Senators have used this Congress is forcing ‘cloture’ votes. This arcane filibuster procedure requires presidential nominees to clear a higher vote threshold to become confirmed. In the first two years of President Obama’s first term, there were 12 cloture votes on his executive and judicial nominees. So far, liberal Senators have forced more than 100 cloture votes on President Trump’s nominees. Because of this, 183 of the president’s nominees are still awaiting confirmation and key posts across the government remain unfilled more than 500 days into President Trump’s first term. It’s clear the obstructionists are more concerned with chewing up the clock instead of fulfilling their constitutional duty to confirm nominees, so let’s give them more clock.
The United States Senate has become known as “the place where good bills go to die.” Bills designed to help Missouri families and small businesses have been bogged down in the swamp of arcane procedures, delay tactics, and outright refusal to consider legislation from the people’s House. In fact, 503 bills have been passed by the Republican House and are supported by President Trump, only to be ignored in the United States Senate.
Important work is sitting unfinished. Bills like the REINS Act, which will allow Congressional approval on any bureaucracy action that will cost the economy $100 million more, remain passed by the House, supported by the president, but untouched by the U.S. Senate. My bill, the Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome (SCRUB) Act to get rid of outdated regulations, passed the House through regular order and the Senate hasn’t done anything with it in 17 months. Important pro-life bills passed in the House of Representatives like the Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act, designed to end the disgusting, immoral practice of killing live infants who were able to survive abortion attempts haven’t even been debated or given a committee hearing in the U.S. Senate. And the Senate refuses to vote on measures like national concealed carry reciprocity, despite more than 200 House members cosponsoring the bill and a majority voting to send it to the Senate last year.
I hope the legislative bottleneck in the Senate will ease up after the Senators stay in town for August, because the House is getting the people’s work done. Working with President Trump, the House has passed more bills out of committee and out of the House than with any of the past four presidents at the beginning of their terms. Meanwhile the only records the Senate is breaking is the record of bills going there to die and record amount of time it takes to have vital nominees confirmed.