What Senators Do … And Don’t

I got to thinking about the real job of our elected representatives, which is to pass laws that make our nation better. I wondered … what bills have our Democratic Presidential Candidates sponsored in the last two years, a period when they’ve spent most of their time complaining about  Trump winning the election.

democratic candidates.png

I thought I’d start out by looking at all of the bills that were introduced … but then I found out that there were no less than 10,750 bills introduced in the Senate and the House during the two years of the 115th Congress (2017-2019). Hmmm … I’m getting the feeling that most of the bills must be really bad or trivial, because only 857 of them made it through even their own respective Chamber.

So I focused on those bills, the ones that actually passed either the House or the Senate, the bills that had a chance of making it into law.

I started locally. Senator Kamala Harris is our Senator from here in California. She sponsored one bill in two years that made it through the Senate, which was S. 3178 (115th): Justice for Victims of Lynching Act of 2018. It makes lynching a Federal crime … does anyone but me think that she’s about a half-century late and a half-bubble out of plumb?

Here’s a bit of ironic history …

From 1882 to 1968, “…nearly 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in Congress, and three passed the House. Seven presidents between 1890 and 1952 petitioned Congress to pass a federal law.” No bill was approved by the Senate because of the powerful opposition of the Southern Democratic voting bloc.

A bit of research shows that the last lynching in the US occurred in 1981. Not quite a half-century, so I was not far wrong … but Kamala decided that the most important thing that she could possibly do for the US, the number one priority, was to make lynching a Federal crime.

How about Senator Bernie Sanders? To my surprise, he actually did something useful. He sponsored S.J.Res. 54: A joint resolution to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress. 

Good on him. Yemen is a war we should have nothing to do with.

Then we have Senator Elizabeth Warren, who sponsored the crucial legislation entitled S.Con.Res. 15: A concurrent resolution expressing support for the designation of October 28, 2017, as “Honoring the Nation’s First Responders Day”.

Now I like first responders as much as anyone … but is making October 28th “First Responders Day” really a good use of a Senator’s time? Is this what she considers important?

I guess it must be …

Then there’s Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Like other Senators, we paid her three hundred and fifty thousand dollars plus fat-cat perks for the two years, and she gave us a bill to rename a US Post Office — S. 2549: A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1234 Saint Johns Place in Brooklyn, New York, as the “Major Robert Odell Owens Post Office”.

Thanks, Kirsten, top job.

Moving on, we have Senator Cory Booker, who sponsored … well … nothing that made it out of the starting gate.

He’s joined by Senator Michael Bennet, who was equally productive, and by Representative John Delaney, same same. And you can add Representatives Tulsi Gabbard, Tim Ryan, Eric Swalwell, and Seth Moulton to the list of those Presidential candidates with no bills to their name.

Unlike the others, Senator Amy Klobuchar was actually very productive, sponsoring four bills that passed the Senate:

S. 645: Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act of 2018

S. 2952: Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act

S. 123: Kari’s Law Act of 2017

S. 81: Seniors Fraud Prevention Act of 2017

Not only did she sponsor four bills, but they were aimed at real problems, not renaming a dang Post Office. Good on her, well done.

And that completes the list of Representatives and Senators running for President.


  • We’re overpaying our politicians, and many of them are spending that money renaming Post Offices and passing meaningless laws.
  • Given that level of production … just what are they doing all day long?

government handouts.jpg


Here, the Giants are playing baseball on TV and they’re actually ahead, outside my window the fog has just rolled in from the coast, and the crows are weaving in and out of the mist-shrouded redwood trees. I think I’d lose the plot if I didn’t have the birds, animals, flowers, and forest to ground me.

My very best regards to everyone, Democrats and Republicans alike.


DATA: All of the above information is from govtrack, a great resource for this kind of data.

29 thoughts on “What Senators Do … And Don’t

  1. Making lynching a Federal crime. I assumed that lynching is murder and therefore already a crime everywhere. Not exactly. According to this bill, lynching is “willfully cause bodily injury” “because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any person” OR “because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person”.

    But wait. “across a State line or national border” “uses a phone, the internet, the mail, or any other channel, facility, or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce” “employs a firearm, dangerous weapon, explosive or incendiary device, or other weapon that has traveled in interstate or foreign commerce” “interferes with commercial or other economic activity”


    Where is Monty Python when you need them?


    • The more I think about it, the more I think they have missed the point. The difference between murder and lynching is that lynching is something done by a mob. That most of the victims we hear about were black does not change the definition. “Lynching is a premeditated extrajudicial killing by a group. It is most often used to characterize informal public executions by a mob in order to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate a group.”

      Lynching remains all too common in other countries. In India against “cow eaters”, in Pakistan against blasphemers. In Latin America, “justicia popular”. So if a new law against lynching is needed, it should cover all lynchings, not just the ones against the listed groups.

      “frontier justice”


    • As usual, progressives are redefining the meaning of words. In the Wild West they lynched horse thieves for none of the proposed reasons. “Marriage” is no longer what it used to be, and neither is “gender”.


    • In my humble opinion the ‘Metoo’ was about lynching. It was a case of ‘someone on our side side you done it so you done it and we’re not going to trust a real court because you’ll be found innocent’. It was also about intimidation. Lynch a few and the rest will get the message to not get too ‘uppity’.


  2. In New Zealand, we describe a person who sits, shines brightly and does bugger-all as a goldbrick. Is that a global term for a useless weight used also in the USA?

    At any rate, it seems your left-wing politicians have a similar proportion of goldbricks as ours. That at least seems truly global.

    Liked by 1 person

    • John, in Oz we used to describe such behaviour as “coming in on the grouter”
      This reference is about someone who would not get involved in any of the hard labour required in building a brick wall, except that he/she would deign to smooth off the mortar work between the laid bricks with a tool that weighed no more than a tape measure.


      • Beautiful! Thanks Mr. Same logic as the nautical term “swinging the lead” for a sailor who always tried to get the depth-finding job.

        Here’s a other saying derived from brickies – “It’s about fag,-high” indicating it was about time for a cigarette break. For some, the wall was forever fag-high. 😊


  3. If I were a Dem voter, and my silly heart still inclines in leftish directions though my head says otherwise, it’s a pretty dismal selection to choose from.



  4. I don’t want these morons doing anything while in Congress. The more time they piss away screeching uselessly about Trump the happier I am.

    John? Yes, that is the accepted definition of a goldbrick/goldbricker. Also, they loudly claim credit for what ever is actually being done in-spite of them.


    • There was a quote that I vaguely remember that went something like this: “The republic is never in more peril than when congress is in session”


      • Sounds like something Davy Crockett would have said! My favorite of his is”You gentlemen can all go to Hell, I’m a goin’ to Texas.”.


  5. Excellent research, Willis. I would venture a guess that few voters and fewer constituents of these officials vying for the 2020 Democrat nomination have any idea how little they have done. Since we are both California residents, we have a good idea of what Kamala Harris hasn’t done to get to her current position of Senator. I had no idea that only of few of the other contenders had accomplished more than Kamala Harris and that most have done even less. Thank you!


    • When Ms Harris was an Attorney General, it was her job to defend the Constitution of California. She did not bother with that.


  6. Judging by the number of unwanted phone calls I receive, I can only conclude that most of their time is devoted to raising money for the next campaign.


  7. Oh, but they’ve been very busy trying to take down the siting president. Much more important than doing what they were sent there to do. /sarc


  8. Hi Willis:

    So if our illustrious members of the “World’s greatest debating body” don’t sponsor many bills, just who writes those multi-thousand page monstrosities they vote on?

    It would be interesting to know how much money these same Senators had given away in earmarks, and how much money they had received in donations, speaking fees, etc.


  9. I would trust the crows before I would any of the Democratic Presidential Candidates to date and there will likely be more as the circus tent has more room.

    As for the crows, they are quite intelligent and have some sense of communication abilities within the flock. Neighbor had one for a pet. It was free but roost on his back porch. I had one for a couple of months but when I tried to teach it to sit on my shoulder it flew away. It hung around for a few days before joining the local flock as far as I know. We named it Ed after a news writer and got a short column in the paper.

    Also had an outlaw Gamecock rooster named “Jack Henry” that had a couple of write-ups in the newspaper but that is another story. He was also more intelligent than the current Democratic Presidential Candidates.


  10. Hi Willis

    O/T but maybe grist for your climate pot

    “Ned Nikolov, Ph.D.
    IMPORTANT: NASA’s Global Mean Sea-Level data series correlates PERFECTLY with NOAA’s global CO2 concentration record (r2 = 0.99), while those two series show a rather poor correlation with global temperature (r2 = 0.31)?
    This means that sea-level data have likely been faked!”



    • Thanks, Ian. The sea level data series and the CO2 data series are both approximately straight lines. So yes, they will correlate well. But claiming that this means the sea level is faked make no sense.

      There are indeed problems with the sea level data, as I wrote about in Inside The Acceleration Factory. But you can’t say it’s faked simply because both are approximately straight lines.

      In my book Ned Nikolov is an attention-grabbing pseudo-scientist with … well … let me call them “dubious standards“.




  11. The REAL job of congresscritters is to get reelected and keep their lobbyists spending money.

    The job they want to make the electorate think is the job of congresscritters is to keep the country running smoothly.

    Sometimes, but only sometimes, the two intersect.


  12. Willis,

    As always, interesting post.

    The “last lynching” in the US is an interesting story for many reasons. It really wasn’t a lynching, but was a racially motivated murder outside Mobile, Alabama in 1981 by two young white Ku Klux Klan members, a 17 year old and a 26 year old, of a 19 year old black man, Michael Donald, at the urging of the father of the 26 year old. That father was an officer in the United Klans of America. Michael Donald did not know the murderers, it was a random act done as revenge for the acquittal of a black man for killing a white police officer in Birmingham. The murderers kidnapped Michael Donald, beat him, killed him, and hung his corpse in a tree.

    Four men were apprehended and charged. The 17 year old entered into a plea deal for violation of Michael Donald’s civil rights. Another young man was convicted as an accomplice and sentenced to life in prison. The father who was the officer in the Klan died before trial. The 26 year old was convicted and sentenced to life in prison by a jury of 11 white members and one black member. The white judge rejected the sentence and directed the death penalty instead. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals set aside the death penalty, but the Alabama Supreme Court upheld it saying “We cannot imagine a case in which the death penalty is more justified”, and the 26 year old was executed. Then, the Southern Poverty Law Center sued the United Klans of America, and obtained a $7 million verdict from an all-white jury in Mobile, bankrupting the Klan, which was forced to deed its headquarters to Michael Donald’s mother.

    The reason it is not defined as a lynching is lynching is historically defined as unprosecuted murders occurring at the hands of mobs or unidentified people. There is a memorial in Montgomery, Alabama that opened in 2018 that does not list Michael Donald among the 4,400 lynchings in the U. S. since 1877 because the murderers were caught, prosecuted and sentenced. Not being a lynching does not make the crime any more heinous.

    P. S. – my favorite definition of hate crime is “a crime I hate”



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