Opinion | Morgan Liddick: 300 House bills aren’t so bipartisan after all
On Your Right
Let’s put a fib to bed for the new year. Maybe not an out-and-out lie but definitely what the late, great Samuel Clements would have called a “stretcher.” Said fib being the Democratic claim that overturning the result of the 2016 election is not their sole preoccupation, that they are not fixed on this sole objective to the exclusion of all else because — as Speaker Nancy Pelosi puts it, “We have 275 bills that are bipartisan on Mitch McConnell’s desk.”
Except there aren’t. According to Factcheck.org, Nancy considers a bill bipartisan “… if it received at least one Republican vote on the House floor or if it has at least one Republican co-sponsor and was passed by voice vote.” Which means that of the total, at least five were “bipartisan” in the same way and to the same degree as was the vote against impeaching President Donald Trump. Let’s look at the language of some of these “stuck” bills, courtesy of Congress.gov the source for the following textual references. Perhaps we can figure out the real reason they aren’t moving forward.
HR 1, the “For the People Act,” which spends about 100 pages telling states to loosen voter ID requirements, to stop trying to purge dead people from voter rolls, to follow federal guidelines on the certification, training and actions of election officials, and states the House’s intent to fully restore federal control of state elections through reimplementation of the Voting Rights Act — among many other things — is one example of the bills now on McConnell’s desk. And for those who might object that this bill proposes federal actions that intrude on areas specifically reserved to the states by tradition and the Constitution that Democrats claim to revere so, fear not: Democrat sponsor John Sarbanes tells us that the actions proposed are justified through the Constitution’s “General Welfare” clause. It received zero Republican votes.
At least HR 2722, the “SAFE Act,” which proposes to “safeguard American elections” by inserting the Department of Homeland Security deeply into the election process, essentially federalizing electronic voting systems, was more properly based on permissions in Article I, section 4. Perhaps that’s why it received one Republican vote.
HR 9, “Climate Action Now,” which demands that the president return us to the Paris Climate Accord and proposes crippling alterations to the national economy similar to those in the “Green New Deal” is, according to the sponsor, predicated on Congressional powers in Article I, section 8, exactly which provision is unnoted. Perhaps Rep. Kathy Castor refers to the suppression of piracy or coining money. It received three Republican votes, as did HR 582, the “Raise the Wage Act,” which will increase the cost of labor by raising the minimum wage to $15, add an annual cost-of-living escalator and eliminate exemptions for tipped employees and other categories. It is a windfall for unions, whose wage negotiations usually focus on some multiplier of the minimum wage. Those employees will flourish — until the automation-based layoffs begin.
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Of the “waiting” bills, 169 were passed by voice vote, a procedure usually reserved for honorary naming of streets and post offices, commemorations and other such fluff. There were only 114 tabulated votes, and of those, 28 received no more than 17 Republican votes out of more than 190 members. Hardly bipartisan in the normal sense of the term.
It’s little wonder House Republicans have stayed away from this pile of compost, characterized by the “American Dream and Promise Act,” the “Bipartisan Background Check Act” and the “Equality Act.” Here’s a tip, by the way: If one has to put “bipartisan” in the title of a bill, it probably isn’t. In the case of that one, bipartisanship extended to eight Republican votes. Nor is it remarkable that Senate Republicans haven’t bothered to clear this backup. In 2017-18, when Republicans controlled the House, 615 of the 997 bills sent to the Republican Senate died there.
But prevarication is to be expected. From the “Paycheck Fairness Act” to the “Equality Act” and beyond, these are bills with pretty titles to hide their real intent. They are drawn and put forward for a single purpose: to replace our politically and socially diverse Republic with a centralized, bureaucratized authoritarian state in which our behavior will be regulated by those better suited than we ourselves to the task. In point, it will be led by “The Vanguard of the Revolution,” or as they call themselves here, the Democratic Party.
Somewhere, Alexander Kerensky is screaming, “Stop!”
Morgan Liddick’s column “On Your Right” publishes Tuesdays in the Summit Daily News. Liddick spent 27 years working for the U.S. Foreign Service, primarily living abroad. He also spent 12 years teaching U.S. history and Western civilization at community colleges in Colorado and Texas. He lived in Summit County as recently as 2015. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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