Democrats Walking and Chewing Gum
In the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats seem to legislate and investigate like walking and chewing gum. Since taking control in January, they have passed some 178 bills. And they are now pursuing investigations into some 20-plus questions of Trump administration malfeasance.
Of those 178 bills, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked the great majority. However, the Senate has passed two resolutions, which President Donald Trump has vetoed. Also, the Senate has passed a few bills, which Trump has signed into law.
Bills Blocked by McConnell
McConnell has been playing his self-proclaimed role as "the grim reaper" of progressive legislation. Here is a list of some of the more important bills that he is blocking -- plus a notable resolution:
- HR 1 - For the People Act: Contains many measures for clean government and strengthening democracy. Ends secret "dark money" in politics. "Prohibits Members of the House from serving on the board of a for-profit entity."
- HR 5 – Equality Act: "[P]rohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity ..."
- HR 6 – American Dream and Promise Act: Keeps humanitarian protections in place for Dreamers and certain other immigrants, and stops deportation proceedings against them. Also, gives those immigrants a strict path to permanent residence status.
- HR 7 - Paycheck Fairness Act: "[Povides] more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex ..."
- HR 8 - Bipartisan Background Checks Act: "[P]rohibits a firearm transfer between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check." Also passed was HR 1112, the "Enhanced Background Checks Act."
- HR 9 – Climate Action Now Act: Preserves the Paris Climate Accord and lays the foundation for more action.
- HR 21 - Consolidated Appropriations Act: Passed on the first day of the new Congress, it was one of eleven bills passed aimed at ending the government shutdown. The shutdown -- the longest ever -- began during the prior Congress on Dec. 22 when President Donald Trump insisted on $5.7B in new funding for a Mexican border wall being included in the continuing budget resolution, and McConnell decided to block all the appropriation bills until he got Trump's OK. The shutdown ended on Jan. 25 when Trump backed off of his new funding demand, and after costing the U.S. economy $6B.
- HR 986 — Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act: Nullifies an administration guidance allowing insurance that does not comply with Affordable Care Act patient protection requirements.
- HR 987 — Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act: One of ten bills to lower drug and healthcare prices.
- HR 1331 — Local Water Protection Act: Reauthorizes through FY2024 grants to states for water pollution control and groundwater quality.
- HR 1500 — Consumers First Act: "This Bill Undoes Many of the Trump Administration’s Anti-Consumer Changes to Undermine the CFPB."
- HR 1585 – Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act: Reauthorizes and strengthens the VAWA.
- HR 1644 – Save The Internet Act: Restores the net neutrality order, which had been killed by the Trump administration. This bill protects internet freedom, where you, not your ISP, decide what you do on the internet.
- HR 2578 - National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act: [R]eauthorizes the National Flood Insurance Program through September 30, 2019"
- HR 3401 - Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act: "Provides $4.5 billion in FY2019 emergency supplemental appropriations to federal departments and agencies for humanitarian assistance and security to respond to migrants attempting to enter the United States at the southern border."
- H.Con.Res.24: "calls for the full release to Congress and the public release, as allowed by law, of [Mueller report]. Passed House unanimously, 420 - 0, but unanimous consent in the Senate was upset by Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Acts of Congress Vetoed
Here is a list of acts of Congress vetoed by President Trump:
- S.J.Res.7: To direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.
- H.J.Res.46: Terminates the national emergency that Trump declared to get around Congress and direct more funds to a Mexico border barrier.
Bills Enacted into Law
Here is a list of some of the more important bills that have become law:
- H.J.Res.28 - Further Additional Continuing Appropriations Act: Ends government shutdown of Dec. 22, 2018 to Jan. 25, 2019.
- H.J.Res.31 - Consolidated Appropriations Act: Keeps government open.
- HR 259 - Medicaid Extenders Act: Funds Medicaid, and "assist states in increasing the use of home and community care for long-term care and decreasing the use of institutional care."
- HR 430 - TANF Extension Act: Funds welfare program through June 30.
- HR 2157 - Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act: "[F]or expenses related to the consequences of recent wildfires, hurricanes, volcanos, earthquakes, typhoons, and other natural disasters."
- S 47 - Natural Resources Management Act: 100 bills rolled into one. Protects 3 million acres of land. "permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund", "The Every Kid Outdoors program is locked in for the next seven years. This program provides fourth graders and their families with free national park passes that they can use to visit any federally managed public land."
- HR 3151 - Taxpayer First Act: Strengthens IRS service, enforcement and security. It passed without a TurboTax-desired provision that would have restricted the IRS from developing its own free online filing program. NOTE: Congress.gov shows this as being on the president's desk, not yet signed.
Taken from the Washington Post on May 23, here are some of the more important questions of Trump malfeasance and corruption being investigated by the House:
- Did Trump obstruct justice?
- Did Trump try to fire the special counsel and then order former White House counsel Donald McGahn to lie about it?
- Did Trump make any foreign policy decisions to enrich himself, specifically with his attempts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, or in his existing business ties with Saudi officials, to enrich himself?
- Did Trump’s businesses have any money laundering ties, specifically related to Russia?
- Did Trump inflate his net worth to get business deals or deflate it to avoid real estate taxes?
- Did Trump lie about getting Jared Kushner a security clearance?
- Did Trump play a role in illegal hush-money payments during the campaign to women alleging affairs with him?
- What was the deal with a Trump idea to bus migrants to his political opponents’ districts?
- What was the deal with a decision to add a controversial citizenship question to the 2020 Census?
- How is Trump’s declaration that there’s a national emergency at the border legal?
- Was the Trump administration’s response to Puerto Rico’s hurricane damage enough?
- Why is the Trump administration proposing sharing nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia?
- What’s the deal with Ivanka Trump and other White House officials doing official work on private email?
- Why were U.S. diplomats left out of a meeting between Kushner and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman?
- Is Trump illegally benefiting from owning a hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.?
- And what were the lease details of the Trump International Hotel with the federal government?
* * *