Opinion | Susan Knopf: 300 House bills sit on Mitch McConnell’s desk | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Susan Knopf: 300 House bills sit on Mitch McConnell’s desk

Susan Knopf

The self-proclaimed “Grim Reaper” may soon be announcing his own demise. Republican Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell is sitting on more than 300 passed House Bills, which he refuses to bring to the Senate floor. Ostensibly, that’s because he has vowed to block all progressive legislation. Here’s the rub: 275 of the 300 bills passed the House with bi-partisan support, according to House Democrats.

According to VOX, McConnell has prioritized rushing through judicial appointments instead of working on legislation. Justin Walker, who clerked for Brett Kavanaugh, was confirmed by the Senate as U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Kentucky. For the record, the American Bar Association deemed Walker “not qualified” because he NEVER served as lead or co-counsel in any case. The ABA considers Walker too inexperienced to be a judge.

The Louisville Courier-Journal quoted Mitch McConnell, “In the courtroom, Justin is known for immersive preparation, fervent advocacy for his clients, and all-around excellence in trial and appellate litigation.” Hard to be known for something you don’t actually do. Walker is known for his statement the FBI should not be independent, and should be controlled by the president.

Walker is one of nine judicial nominees the ABA considers “not qualified” according to Ballotpedia, a Koch-funded political watchdog group. Apparently that’s why the ABA no longer gets early access to Trump’s nominees. Either you are an ever-Trumper, or you are out. The ABA rated 200 Trump nominees “qualified” or “well-qualified.”

“Ideology counts far more than competence” Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice told Bloomberg Law. Trump has nominated more “not qualified” justices than all four presidents who preceded him. The ultra-conservative Federalist Society handpicks the President’s list of judicial nominees. Overturning a woman’s right to choose a legal abortion is widely thought to be the issue driving judicial nominations.

According to some, McConnell is so concerned about keeping his ever-Trumper badge, he’s making sure legislation the president opposes doesn’t see the Senate floor.  According to the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, of the 275 bipartisan bills sitting on McConnell’s desk, there are bills that:

  • Increase minimum wage and offer employment protections for women
  • Lower healthcare and prescription costs with the FAIR Drug Pricing Act
  • Protect people with pre-existing conditions
  • Require background checks for firearm sales
  • Protect the retirement of hard working Americans
  • Provide voter registration protections
  • Cut taxes for Gold Star families
  • Protect consumers from being ripped off by fine print contracts
  • Support veterans (more than 30 bills that would do so)

The House has passed nearly 400 bills, not including resolutions. The Senate has taken up only about 20%. One bill that did not have bipartisan support is the CORE Act, The Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act. Colorado Congressman Joe Neguse and Senator Michael Bennet worked together to pass the measure. The President is opposed, and thus not one Colorado House Republican supported it!

According to Bennet’s website, CORE ties together and improves four previously introduced bills:

1. Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act

2. San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act

3. Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act

4. Curecanti National Recreation Area Boundary Establishment Act

It “protects approximately 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado, establishing new wilderness areas and safeguarding existing outdoor recreation opportunities to boost the economy for future generations.” Bennet’s site says over the past decade, businesses, government, sportsmen and conservationists have joined together to create each element of the CORE Act. “About 73,000 acres are new wilderness areas, and nearly 80,000 acres are new recreation and conservation management areas that preserve existing outdoor uses, such as hiking and mountain biking.”

“The bill also includes a first-of-its-kind National Historic Landscape to honor Colorado’s military legacy and prohibits new oil and gas development in areas important to ranchers and sportsmen.”

Bottom line, anybody who says Congress hasn’t been doing its job, is not paying attention to Mitch McConnell’s game. He’s doing the bidding of the president and right wing groups who are telling him to stack the courts; don’t pass legislation. If resolutions start in the House they have about a 20% chance of being heard in the Senate. If you want to change the status quo, “Ditch Mitch.”

Amy McGrath is the leading candidate in Kentucky running against him, but there are others you may chose to financially support.  Here at home, Senator Cory Gardner votes with Trump about 90% of the time. The Dump Cory Gardner movement has an interesting field of candidates as well. Hickenlooper is not my first choice if you want to change the status quo.

Susan Knopf’s column “For The Record” publishes Fridays in the Summit Daily News. Knopf has worn many hats in her career, including working as an award-winning journalist and certified ski instructor. She moved to Silverthorne in 2013 after vacationing in Summit County since the 1970s. Contact her at sdnknopf@gmail.com.

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