Democrats Miss Out on Key Decisions Before Losing Midterms

Democrats have spent the last 18 months attempting to make progress with a 50-seat majority in the Senate.

Now, they are racing the clock to complete everything their party wants to do before the November elections.

Too Late?

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hopes to approve a party-line healthcare program during the dog days of summer, as well as legislation regarding veterans’ pensions and the long-stalled microchip bill.

The time pressure is made worse by Democrats’ ongoing efforts to use the so-called reconciliation bill process to reduce medication prices, their top agenda item.

Additionally, some lawmakers want to shorten the August recess’ four weeks in order to work on climate change bills, establish same-sex marriage rights, or approve judicial appointments.

In a short interview, Schumer refused to offer his thoughts on the prospect of cutting back on some of the customary August breaks.

Democrats are “trying to do the best we can,” he claimed. “With COVID and everything, it’s difficult. We’ll complete the task at hand.”

Senate Democrats are set to spend another six weeks in Washington, D.C. before the midterm elections; two of those months are in mid-October and may be removed from the schedule to give incumbents more time to campaign.

This is becoming more important as the party tries to cling to its majority. With so little remaining floor time, the Democrats might be faced with some difficult decisions.

Sen. Martin Heinrich stated on Monday that his group’s “first job, in my opinion, is to legislate.”

“We must concentrate on the major issues and structural elements that could get 60 votes and are nonpartisan,” Heinrich added, still holding out hope that Democrats will find a way of addressing global warming in the ensuing weeks.

They Won’t Accomplish Their Agendas

Democrats’ list of legislative ambitions stretches much longer than their urgent healthcare plan and must-pass measures, such as financing the government until Sept. 30.

Depending on the Democrat you speak with, their goals might include amending the Electoral Count Act to prevent another January 6 or passing antitrust legislation.

The goals could also include lowering the cost of insulin, outlawing stock trading by lawmakers, legalizing marijuana, codifying same-sex marriage, codifying contraception access, or filling 77 judicial vacant positions.

With conservatives challenging Democratic dominance in both chambers, there is no guarantee they will have another chance to address any of their goals in the next year.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar added that Schumer “publicly” signaled her antitrust bill, which tries to curb Big Tech businesses’ market shares, will go to a floor vote this July.

By some standards, the 50-50 Senate had a successful 18 months.

They approved a number of nominations for the federal government and enacted a $1.9 trillion party-line coronavirus bill, postal reforms, and bipartisan laws on construction and access to firearms.