Republicans in the Senate Can’t Be Bothered to Legislate

Who needs government when you can appear on Fox News?

View of Washington DC with the United States Capitol in the distance, September 28, 2017
View of Washington DC with the United States Capitol in the distance, September 28, 2017 (Ted Eytan)

Jonathan Bernstein of Bloomberg View argues that Republicans in the United States Senate have given up on legislating.

In the last two months, the upper chamber, which Republicans still control, has taken fifty votes, but all but one were on nominations, or the nomination process, of judges and executive-branch staff.

It’s not that Republicans don’t believe there are laws that need to be passed, according to Bernstein.

As far as I know, all of them think disaster relief, for example, is needed, but they aren’t reaching a deal on it because Donald Trump doesn’t want Puerto Rico to get any money and Republican senators don’t know how to get around Trump’s rhetoric. Plenty of Republicans have campaigned on other laws they wanted passed. None of it is happening now.

Blame

Bernstein blames Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who perfected the art of blocking legislation when Democrats were in power but who appears to have no proactive agenda.

Lawmakers’ fear of Trump is another reason. Why take potentially risky votes when the president can come out against a bill at any moment, which could then convince Republican primary voters to replace you in the next election?

But this is also the result of Republicans simply giving up on policy.

No policy

Republicans had unified control of the government for two years and the only thing Congress managed was to cut taxes for the wealthy.

Republicans campaigned against Obamacare for seven years, but when they had a chance to replace it with a right-wing alternative — they had nothing.

Entitlement reform? Energy policy? Deregulation? Debt reduction? All the things Republicans are supposed to care about, lawmakers can’t be bothered. They are happy to outsource the hard work to bureaucrats and judges and spend their time on conservative talk radio and Fox News instead to appease voters who seem to care more about words than action.