Senate Keeping Congress In Check

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: Jul 06, 2010 7:58 AM
In any given year, the House typically passes loads of legislation that will never see the light of day in the Senate. That's especially true this year. Democrats control the House but lack a super-majority in the Senate, and have therefore refused to allow unemployment benefits, cap-and-trade, and a ton of other bills through their hallowed halls. Here's Roll Call quoting an anonymous senior GOP aid:
If for the first time this Congress Democrats pursue a legislative strategy that includes Republicans, we’ll be happy to help, but if they want to continue racking up the debt on party-line votes then we don’t have anything to talk about. It has absolutely nothing to do with elections, the weather or anything other than our obvious differences.
Conservatives can look at this situation in two ways. On one hand, they can see the reams of House legislation that are dying in the Senate and reflexively appreciate that the legislation is not making it through, because no new federal bureaucracy is being created. On the other hand, some of this legislation — given that it must be worked out with theoretically conservative Republicans — could reform or enhance existing law, and make our country better. Cap-and-trade, increased unemployment benefits, and the like aren't things I actually think would improve our state of affairs, so count me solidly on the side of the former.