It’s one of President Donald Trump’s favorite lines to make as of late — that Democrats are too busy with consideration of his impeachment in order to pass bills in Washington.
Trump frequently derides his political opponents in Congress as “Do Nothing Democrats.” In early October, he tweeted out his complaints and called their work on impeachment “bulls–t,” claiming it took away time to get actual legislation sent to his desk.
But according to reporting from Vox, that’s not actually the case — it turns out, the Democrats can chew gum and walk (and juggle, and do almost any other allegorical task) at the same time.
The reporting from Vox detailed how Democrats have passed nearly 400 bills so far this year. However, only 70 bills have been signed into law by Trump. Typically, a two-year period of Congress will see between 300 and 500 bills passed and signed by any given president, so this is a significant slow-down.
According to the Democrats’ communications team, 80 percent of the bills that have been passed were stalled in the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Once a measure gets passed by the House, it has more of a chance than not to get effectively tabled by Republicans in the upper house of Congress.
Don't @ me @realDonaldTrump
Do nothing Democrats? This year, we've passed over 250 bipartisan bills in the House.
Bills to prevent gun violence, protect our environment, safeguard our elections & lift millions of Americans out of poverty.
The one doing nothing is you. Grow up. pic.twitter.com/LtxEnwwisj
— Rep. Donna E. Shalala (@RepShalala) November 27, 2019
Earlier this month, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi derided criticisms of her party in a “dear colleague” letter she sent out. “While Mitch McConnell claims the House is only focused on impeachment, there are scores of critical bills sitting on his desk sent to him by the House Democratic Majority,” Pelosi said.
Indeed, within her letter Pelosi laid out eight major bills that Democrats had passed that were being stalled by the GOP-run Senate, Axios reported. Among them, they included a bill to make background checks mandatory on all gun sales, reauthorization for the Violence Against Women Act, and a bill to raise the minimum wage — all bills that have popular support among American citizens.
Some of the bills passed by the House are obvious non-starters for the Senate, as the two houses of Congress don’t see eye-to-eye on many ideological principles. But saying Democrats aren’t doing anything is a mischaracterization of the work they’ve done this year, which came prior to as well as during the impeachment inquiry. For a supposedly “do nothing” group of individuals, Democrats actually have been incredibly busy.