GOP leaders use Senate's refusal to pass bills as excuse to oppose impeachment


The self-described 'Grim Reaper' Mitch McConnell is blocking more than 400 pieces of legislation passed by the House.

Just before the House of Representatives voted to begin public impeachment hearings into alleged high crimes and misdemeanors by Donald Trump, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy gave a floor speech denouncing the impeachment inquiry. His closing argument state that the Democratic majority had issued more subpoenas so far this year than Donald Trump has signed bills into law.

"Do you know what this Congress counts? This Congress's record is more subpoenas than laws. That's the legacy," he told his colleagues. The argument referenced a meme he had shared a day earlier, noting that in the 116th Congress, the House of Representatives has issued 56 subpoenas while seeing just 46 of the bills it passed signed into law by Donald Trump.

An array of other House Republicans, including House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, Reps. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), and Doug Lamborn (R-CO), and Trump's Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel, have made the exact same argument in recent days.

The comparison is an odd one. The process for a bill to become a law typically involves committee hearings, floor votes in both the House and Senate, and the president's approval, while thanks to rules written by House Republicans back in 2015, subpoenas can be unilaterally issued by committee chairs.

But while it is true that only 46 pieces of legislation have been enacted so far, that is hardly the fault of the House Democrats. Since they regained the majority, they have passed more than 400 bills, the vast majority of which have been blocked from even getting a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called himself the "Grim Reaper" and vowed to be a bulwark against progressive legislation even being considered in his chamber. The bills that have passed the House but not the Senate addressed election security, campaign finance reform, LGBTQ discrimination, gun violence, prescription drug costs, the minimum wage, protecting insurance coverage for people with preexisting conditions, and climate change.

While McCarthy (R-CA) and his colleagues imply that there should always be more new laws that subpoenas, other House Republicans simultaneously argued they should have the right to subpoena even more witnesses without the approval of Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.