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Robert Reich: The Real Reason Congress Gets Nothing Done – OpEd

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Why doesn’t Congress get anything done?

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Well, one chamber actually does. Hundreds of bills have been passed by the House of Representatives, but have been blocked from even getting a vote in the Senate. Bills like The Freedom to Vote Act, The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, The Equality Act, Background checks for gun sales, Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, The Protecting the Right to Organize Act, The Build Back Better Act. The list goes on.

So why aren’t these crucial bills getting a vote in the Senate? Because the filibuster makes it impossible.

All told, the House passed over 200 bills in 2021 that have not been taken up in the Senate. Everything from investing in rural education to preventing discrimination against pregnant workers to protecting seniors from scams – bills that have real, tangible benefits for the public; bills that have widespread public support.

So don’t believe the media narrative that Congress is trapped in hopeless gridlock and both sides are to blame. One chamber of Congress, led by Democrats, is passing important legislation and delivering for the people. But Republicans in the Senate, and a handful of corporate Democrats, are hell-bent on grinding the gears of government to a halt.

Why are Senate Republicans doing this? Because their midterm strategy depends on it. Republicans are blocking crucial legislation so they can point to Democrats’ supposed inability to get anything done, and claim they’ll be able to deliver if you give them majorities.

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Don’t fall for it.

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, and writes at robertreich.substack.com. Reich served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good," which is available in bookstores now. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

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