The Lazy Senate

CPI Staff — Thursday, March 8, 2018

Congress loves to pretend to be working while not actually doing much of anything. It’s a Swamp specialty. This is particularly true in theUnited States Senate, where Republican leaders blame Democrat obstruction and obscure rules for their inability to get things done.

CPI’s Policy Director, Rachel Bovard, has written extensively about how, in failing to do its work, the Senate is thwarting President Trump’s agenda.

See her work below.

  • The Senate only works an average of 2.5 days a week.Unlike the rest of America, the Senate only shows up Monday evenings through Thursday afternoons. TGIF? More like TGIT. You can read more here.
  • What do they do when they’re actually in town? As any observer of C-SPAN knows, the Senate usually looks like it’s doing nothing. There are usually no senators on the floor, no speeches being made, and rarely any votes. When the Senate looks like this, it’s in a quorum call. What’s that? It’s kind of like calling the roll in school – when a teacher reads every student’s name, and they respond, “here.” Quorum calls are theEstablishment’s favorite trick to make the Senate look like it’s doing something, while it’s actually doing nothing. How does it work? Rachel explains here.
  • President Trump can’t drain the Swamp unless the Senate acts. Trump needs the Senate to confirm his nominees so that he can manage the bureaucracy that is constantly trying to undermine him. But the Republican-led Senate isn’t confirming them. Why not? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blames Democrats for “historic obstruction” in their use of the rule allowing up to 30 hours of debate on a nominee. But this simply isn’t true. Under Senate rules, McConnell could be forcing Democrats to show up on the floor and defend their use of the 30-hour rule, and extracting consequences on Democrats for slowing down the process. Learn how, here and here.