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.
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:
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?
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.