Former Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillClaire McCaskill: Young girls ‘are now aspiring’ to be like Warren, Klobuchar after debate Ginsburg health scare raises prospect of election year Supreme Court battle MSNBC’s McCaskill: Trump used ‘his fat thumbs’ to try to intimidate Yovanovitch MORE (Mo.) said on Sunday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer: Newly released emails show importance of White House witnesses in Senate trial Republicans attack Pelosi for impeachment stalemate Senate Democrat: Pelosi ‘doing exactly the right thing’ withholding articles of impeachment MORE (R-Ky.) has “presided over absolutely destroying Senate norms” amid partisan tensions in the upper chamber.
“I think the Senate was broken, Congress was broken, before impeachment came along,” she said during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “My first year in the Senate, I voted on 306 legislative amendments.”
“This year, there’s fewer than 30,” she continued.
“Mitch McConnell has presided over absolutely destroying Senate norms, from Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandTwitter users invoke Merrick Garland after McConnell, Graham comments on impeachment trial Toxic McConnell-Schumer relationship strains impeachment talks McConnell takes heat from all sides on impeachment MORE to killing legislative debate,” she said. “The Senate is no longer what it was, and the people of this country are going to have to be the ones politically to put pressure on this dysfunction and say we want unity, we want stuff to get done, we want you to quit the partisan food fight.”
Last week, a number of Democratic senators took to social media to share photos of a pile of hundreds of bipartisan House-passed bills that still await action in the Senate.
“This is the pile of House-passed bills, 90% bipartisan, dead on Mitch McConnell’s desk in the Senate #LegislativeGraveyard,” Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocratic senators tweet photos of pile of House-passed bills ‘dead on Mitch McConnell’s desk’ Democrats rip Barr over IG statement: ‘Mouthpiece’ for Trump Trump brings pardoned soldiers on stage at Florida fundraiser: report MORE (D-R.I.) said in a tweet at the time that featured a photo of a stack of papers labelled “Bills stuck in the Senate.”
The stack included several high-profile bills, like the Equality Act, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act and the Raise the Wage Act.
The demonstration came as a number of Democratic senators have continued to make jabs at McConnell — who has vowed to be the “Grim Reaper” when it comes to progressive policies in the Senate — over the pace of legislation in the chamber.
Republicans have sought to place blame over the stalled bills on what they call “impeachment obsession” as the House-launched investigation into President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against windmills: ‘I never understood wind’ Trump faces pivotal year with Russia on arms control Bolton says he doesn’t think Trump admin ‘really means it’ on stopping North Korea nukes MORE has continued to dominate headlines.
“There are things that we have to do that … we’re not making any progress on because of the impeachment obsession over in the House,” McConnell told reporters last month. “I heard a number of Democrats in the House say they can walk and chew gum at the same time. Now is the time to prove it.”
However, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer: Newly released emails show importance of White House witnesses in Senate trial Senate Democrat: Pelosi ‘doing exactly the right thing’ withholding articles of impeachment Senate Democrat: Not unreasonable for Pelosi to wait to transfer impeachment articles MORE (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats have pushed back on that notion.
“The idea that the House impeachment inquiry is some sort of distraction from other issues is plain wrong,” he said in November, adding, “We have over 200 House-passed bills we could consider here on the floor, and plenty of bipartisan Senate bills.”