June 10, 2019
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed on June 5 that he’s unlikely to bring up the bill passed by the House on June 4 to provide a path to citizenship for immigrants brought to the United States as children, known as “Dreamers.”
That should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with House Speaker Nancy’s Pelosi’s domestic agenda—from gun control to net neutrality, to LGBTQ protections, to voting reforms—which the GOP leader has totally tuned out and tossed out.
But now the Democrats have decided to use what they are dubbing McConnell’s “legislative graveyard,” as a messaging tool to topple Republican candidates in 2020, The Hill reported on June 7.
“He’s an issue in this campaign,” said Representative Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts), chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee. “I don’t know what the hell he’s for, I only know what he’s against. … Anything that helps working people, or helps those struggling to get into the middle class, he’s against.”
McGovern is hardly alone, The Hill noted. Pelosi frequently has denounced McConnell’s promise to act as a “Grim Reaper” on any House legislation as a barrier to any progress on Capitol Hill. This week, she marked the first 150 days of the Democrats’ House majority by rattling off a slew of proposals already passed by the lower chamber that now sit idle in the Senate.
“We’re very proud of the work that we have done to send over to the Senate, where Mitch McConnell has said he’s the ‘Grim Reaper’ — it’s a Senate graveyard,” she told reporters in the Capitol. “We have news for him: It’s alive and well in the public, and he will be hearing from the public, hopefully very soon.”
McConnell and the Republicans are returning fire—dismissing the Democrats’ proposals as frivolous acts—designed to energize the Democrats’ base but without a chance of becoming law.
“This isn’t a serious strategy to govern. They’re passing bills saying that this is what they want, but they know that they’re strictly basing their strategy on what polls well and not what can get into law,” said a Senate GOP aide. “They’re doing everything for political reasons, and we’re actually the adults in the room.”
Through the lens of political messaging, however, Democrats see a useful foil in McConnell, who has spent much of the year focused on confirming conservative Trump appointees, including almost two dozen judges, in lieu of passing policy bills. By casting McConnell as the face of Washington gridlock, The Hill noted, Democrats hope to portray the entire GOP as uninterested in governing — at the expense of the middle class.
Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, blasted McConnell this past week as the Senate’s “Rip van Winkle,” urging upper-chamber Republicans “to wake up from their legislative slumber and do their job.”
None of this fazes McConnell. “I’ve kind of enjoyed playing off of my enemies over the years, and in fact the ‘Grim Reaper’ title I gave myself,” he told Fox News. “Happy to embrace it.”
Research contact: @TheHill