December 23, 2014

"The Senate basically didn’t do squat for years.""

Says Mitch McConnell.

43 comments:

Big Mike said...

He's right, of course. The funny thing is that the media blamed it on him and not on Reid -- the Senate Majority Leader. You'd think they all slept their way through grade school civics class.

dbp said...

The Senate did what was of use to the party in control. They kept the president from having to veto popular bills. They did this by making sure nothing the president didn't want to sign ever got to his desk.

Nonapod said...

I tend to prefer ineffectual, gridlocked legislative bodies to ones that do stuff to us (unless said bodies are actually repealing and reducing the size of government). But I'm told I'm very much in the minority in this viewpoint. I hear ad nauseam that most Americans don't want gridlock and want a government that gets stuff done.

Original Mike said...

It really was a disgrace the way Harry Reid ran the Senate. I will be happy if they just get back to regular order.

As to whether they actually pass anything, I'm with Nonapod. Better than nothing is a tall order.

Skipper said...

When it comes to lawmaking, squat is good, very good.

David said...

And when they did do they did what you do when you do squat. Do do.

hawkeyedjb said...

Back when the congress got things done, they did Obamacare to us. I'm happy with a do-nothing legislature.

Original Mike said...

"Back when the congress got things done, they did Obamacare to us. I'm happy with a do-nothing legislature."

Unfortunately, we now need them to do something else. Get rid of it.

tim maguire said...

Normally, that would be cause for celebration, but the Democrats are such a mess, they can even make doing nothing look like a bad thing.

How many budgets did they pass in 8 years of control? Versus how many are they constitutionally required to pass?

Roger Zimmerman said...

If you read the Federalist papers, that was the basically the idea.

Skeptical Voter said...

Big Chief Squat-a-Hontas was Harry Reid. Now that Harry is in the minority, we'll be faced with the Red Squaw Fauxcahontas being the defacto leader of the Left Wing of the Senate. They'll make trouble, but not much else. Sort of like a four year old child all cleaned up to go somewhere who immediately starts playing in a mud puddle.

McConnell may actually get something done--cleaning up the constipation in the legislative alimentary canal. Not that such movement is necessarily a good thing--but it will be different from the Reid Regime.

Achilles said...

Welp. At least when Reid was in control of the Senate and nothing happened... nothing happened.

Last time the Republicans had the House, Senate, and Presidency we got a whole new entitlement and government grew every year.

And they wonder why some of us sit it out most of the time. Notice how the House "Cromnibus" funded the government for an entire year rather than for the next 3 months. I have zero faith in the republican party to actually cut spending in any significant way. Now they are running Jeb up the flag pole. Seriously Jeb Bush. They are trying to force a third party.

Original Mike said...

"If you read the Federalist papers, that was the basically the idea."

You're forgetting about the clause in the Constitution that says if Congress doesn't act, the President gets to.

Hagar said...

For Progressives, "getting something done" means getting something they want done done. What the rest of us want does not count, or - if contrary to their wishes - is positively evil.

SteveR said...

Well a do nothing senate would be good except the president was going along and governing all by himself. There is no "balance of powers". Be careful what you want.

Brando said...

Any lack of action by the Senate over the past six years lands squarely on Harry Reid. Not only has he had the majority the entire time (and by a very large margin for 2009-10, and a decent margin of ten seats in 2013-14) but his recent use of the "nuclear option" for confirming executive appointees shows that he's always had the power and was never constraiined by tradition to overcome any hurdle the minority may have thrown at him.

The Senate didn't get anything done in the past two years because the main issues the majority claimed to want--immigration reform, "fixing" Obamacare, raising the minimum wage--were all highly controversial measures that the entire majority couldn't agree on. McConnell and company couldn't do anything to stop the Democrats if they were determined.

I think McConnell will find similar trouble leading a majority, as majorities generally mean more political diversity and Senators who have to fight tough reelection campaigns. But I'd rather see nothing get accomplished than a bunch of bad legislation--2009 got us Obamacare, the stimulus and Dodd Frank. I'd rather if they were gridlocked then.

Brando said...

"You're forgetting about the clause in the Constitution that says if Congress doesn't act, the President gets to."

Ah yes, the often forgotten Article VIII. That's also where it says if you oppose the president more than the previous president, it's because you're racist.

traditionalguy said...

Reid used the Senate to stop Congressional opposition to Obama's worst destructive acts. Then Obama lied that it was the GOP's fault the Congress did nothing.

Those missing 6 years were used by Obama to enable EPA, NLRB, HSA Regulators to attack the foundations of reality itself while the military budgets were cut by a third and our allies were told we were against them.

n.n said...

While the executive ran amuck without Congressional supervision, including a dramatic presentation of "shutting down the government", undeclared regimes changes, assassinating foreign heads of state, violating American civil rights and sovereignty, etc.

Roughcoat said...

Each branch of government exists in large measure to act as a brake or restraint on other branches. This does not entail gridlock; rather, the purpose is to ensure moderation. The Senate failed in its purpose. By not doing squat it allowed the executive branch to do or at least attempt whatever it wanted. That's a bad thing; a very bad thing indeed.

Nonapod said...

Ah yes, the often forgotten Article VIII. That's also where it says if you oppose the president more than the previous president, it's because you're racist.

Article VIII: In the event of a legislative impass within or between the Senate and House of Representatives due to these bodies being peopled with smelly racist homophobes, the Executive Branch shall be granted absolute legislative power with no takesy-backsies.

DrMaturin said...

Ironically, it was Reid's refusal to allow so many bills onto the Senate floor that cost the Democrats their majority. It allowed Republicans to accurately say that Landrieu, Begich, Hagan et. al. voted with Obama 97% or 99% of the time because the only things the Senate voted on were ambassadorships and judgeships. None of the vulnerable incumbents were ever given the chance to vote against their party once in a while to establish a semblance of independence

Roger Zimmerman said...

First, I get to correct my horrible typo:

"If you read the Federalist papers, that was basically the idea."

Now, I can point to a reference, for those that are interested.

Original Mike said...

"Senate failed in its purpose. By not doing squat it allowed the executive branch to do or at least attempt whatever it wanted."

That was by design. To the extent that Reid's strategy succeeded, there was no Congress. Only a Democratic Party.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

The most *productive* thing Congress could do is UN-do about 80% of existing Federal Laws and Regulations.

Absent that, getting nothing done ain't all that bad.

Also, Congress packed several year's worth of Legislative Abuse into the Afraudable Care Act. We should be happy to grant them a decade or so of gridlock just to recover from that shock.

On the downside, it's unfortunate that the Senate beclowned itself with non-passage of a budget for so many years.

Brando said...

I wouldn't mind seeing the Congress be "productive" in a few areas--fixing our tax code, civil lawsuit reform, more market based health care reform, entitlement reform, and reform how some of our federal agencies regulate our lives. I wouldn't mind seeing some of our laws repealed, such as federal gun laws or marijuana prohibitions.

But far as I can tell, the Democrats were stopping those things as much as any Republican. I'm not unrealistic enough to expect any of those things to pass (except in some watered down, make things actually worse sort of way perhaps) any time soon. So viva gridlock.

rehajm said...

The most *productive* thing Congress could do is UN-do about 80% of existing Federal Laws and Regulations.

This would be an early priority of a Romney presidency, BTW.

Jack Wayne said...

"If you read the Federalist papers, that was the basically the idea." And then you compound your error by referencing Paper 63. At the conclusion we see, "Besides the conclusive evidence resulting from this assemblage of facts, that the federal Senate will never be able to transform itself, by gradual usurpations, into an independent and aristocratic body, we are warranted in believing, that if such a revolution should ever happen from causes which the foresight of man cannot guard against, the House of Representatives, with the people on their side, will at all times be able to bring back the Constitution to its primitive form and principles."

If you read the Papers you will find NUMEROUS references by Publius (Hamilton, Madison and Jay) to ENERGETIC government. Government run by the Best Men who only have the true and best interests of the People in their hearts. Roger, you need a little more skepticism.

James Pawlak said...

The less the Congress does the less harm is done to the USA.

I suggest that the Congress be rated by the number of laws, rule and regulations they abolishe.

lemondog said...

didn't do squat

But they did do squat and out came Obamapoo....

Roger Zimmerman said...

@Jack Wayne

I read the whole thing, not just the conclusion, and, in context, it seems clear to me that the Senate was designed to quell the urges of the demos. Checks, balances, and all that.

YMMV (and apparently does).

averagejoe said...

Achilles said... "Last time the Republicans had the House, Senate, and Presidency we got a whole new entitlement and government grew every year."

When was that? Are you referring to the first 5 months of George W. Bush's first term when the senate was divided 50-50, until May when Jeffords of Vermont switched parties to give Republicans control? Or are you referring back to the Eisenhower administration?

The 2000 Senate elections had left the Senate with a 50-50 split in partisan control, forcing Democrats and Republicans to negotiate an unusual power-sharing arrangement (although Republican Vice President Dick Cheney could break tie votes). Following the election, Democrats sought out a Republican to defect from the Republican caucus, which would give Democrats control of the chamber. Democratic whip Harry Reid courted Jeffords, Lincoln Chafee, and John McCain as potential party-switchers. After being promised the chairmanship of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to offset his loss of a committee chairmanship under Republican control, Jeffords decided to change parties, and gave up the chairmanship of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which he had held since 1997. Jeffords' switch gave Democrats control of a chamber of Congress for the first time since the 1994 elections, and Jeffords is the only Senator in history to tip the balance of power in the Senate by switching parties.[8]

averagejoe said...

My mistake- Jeffords switch partied to give democrats control of the senate!

Curious George said...

"McConnell indicated his party will attempt to repeal Obamacare one more time before moving on to individual aspects of the law"

Better getter done Mitch or you will just be keeping the seat warm for Reid dumbass.

JAORE said...

By not passing a budget, the continuing resolution process baked the "one time" stimulus spending into the base line spending. Brilliant.

RecChief said...

McConell, meh

averagejoe said...

Jeffords switched parties...

Note to self: don't try to write next to piles of burning heroin...

ken in tx said...

Almost everyone understands that when Chevron and Texaco get together and Exxon and Mobil get together, it amounts to a conspiracy against the consuming public. Yet when the Democrats and Republicans get together, it's called bipartisanship. I call it collusion, and I call shenanigans. It's best when they don't pass anything.

furious_a said...

Harry Reid's Senate failed to pass a budget for longer than the German siege of Leningrad. Co-conspirator Pelosi's House failed to pass a budget for two of those years.

That's how the one-time Stimulus got baked into the spending baseline, where it remains to this day.

furious_a said...

...and then I saw JAORE's comment. Credit ro them.

cubanbob said...

How about McConnell hold up passing any laws and concentrate on repealing most federal redundant legislation and de-funding agencies and programs that don't benefit taxpayers like welfare programs, farm subsidies and all subsidies in general.

Jack Wayne said...

Roger, take a breather. Deflection and goalpost moving is hard work.

Eric said...

That was by design. To the extent that Reid's strategy succeeded, there was no Congress. Only a Democratic Party.

This can't be understated. How many times did we hear "If Congress won't act, I will."

The next two years are going to be tough ones for Obama. Instead of having Reid kill everything he doesn't like he's going to have to actually take positions some parts of his coalition don't like and issue vetoes.