Congress continues to grapple with pressing issues like gun violence — and as the Democratic majority in the House produces legislation like universal background check requirements for gun purchases, the Republican-majority Senate as led by Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell continues to stall. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) responded to McConnell’s behavior in remarks she offered this Tuesday before the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association in part by employing the “Moscow Mitch” nickname. That idea has stuck to the GOP leader following his recent refusal to bring election security legislation up for a vote in the Senate, arguing it was overly “political.”
Pelosi asserted anyway:
‘We all want to invest in building our democracy and saving it from any enemies, foreign and domestic… We’ve sent our legislation to the Senate. Moscow Mitch says that he is the Grim Reaper. Imagine describing yourself as the Grim Reaper, that he’s going to bury all this legislation. Well, we have news for him. All this legislation is alive and well in the general public.’
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McConnell has indeed embraced the mantle of the Senate’s “Grim Reaper” to the point that at a recent event, his team put up mock gravestones with a host of his targets — including Democrat Amy McGrath, who’s challenging him in the 2020 elections. McGrath is, of course, a living, breathing, human being, and the Senate Majority Leader’s team found no issue with wheeling out “comical” imagery suggesting that she’d been killed.
Other targets that McConnell has zeroed in on include the so-called “Green New Deal” plan to make the United States reach a point of net-zero carbon emissions within ten years, and legislation like H.R. 1, otherwise known as the For the People Act, which the Democratic-majority House passed earlier this year and contains a sweeping ethics reform package covering political campaigns and service in government.
McConnell has said he’s willing to bring up gun policy for debate in the Senate following a weekend of recent mass shootings that left more than 30 people dead in just two incidents, but it’s not even high enough on the priority list for him to cut the currently ongoing Senate recess short so members can return to D.C. and get something done. Meanwhile, House Democrats have been waiting for some kind of Senate action on their gun control legislation since February, Pelosi noted. Yet again, McConnell dismissed the idea of any kind of rush to get things done by saying if he brought Senators back to D.C. earlier than planned, the situation would just constitute “people scoring points.”
It’s unclear at this point if there’s any policy area at all he’s unwilling to dismiss as “too political” if there happen to be proposals for a way forward from the “other side.”
President Donald Trump has claimed that there’s some kind of path forward for legislation in the Senate like universal background checks, but it’s unclear what exactly he might have meant and even what kind of timetable we might be looking at here until something passes. “Moscow Mitch” continues to stall.
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