Opinion: Elections have consequences

On the day that he was inaugurated, President Joe Biden put in more work than former President Donald Trump had done for months. He attended a church service, delivered his inaugural address, participated in a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, signed 17 executive orders and swore in dozens of appointees and staffers, all before 7:00 p.m. Such a schedule is a far cry from the vague mantra, put out by Trump’s communications team, that defined the lame-duck period of the Trump administration: “President Trump will work from early in the morning until late in the evening. He will make many calls and have many meetings.” 

Biden has come out of the gate ready to go, showing support for a series of measures aimed at benefiting American workers like a new wave of stimulus checks, raising the federal minimum wage and boosting food assistance. It seems that the federal government is finally interested in helping its citizens. Despite the obvious benefits of these measures, and the fact that Democrats have control of the House and the Senate, Congressional Republicans continue to try to prevent the passage of such measures. Obstruction is the typical Republican form of governance, if it can even be called that. But Democrats, and voters, should not accept that.

Senator Mitch McConnell is holding up the organizing resolution of the Senate, preventing Democrats from setting the agenda and chairing committees, in addition to seeking to preserve the filibuster to ensure that one senator can hold up the process of legislation. Claiming to seek the protection of “minority rights,” McConnell is simply continuing his practice of blocking Democratic policies that would help Americans. Last year, McConnell told a group of voters that “if I’m still the majority leader in the Senate, think of me as the Grim Reaper. None of that stuff is going to pass.” Former President Obama wrote that during a discussion under his administration, Joe Biden tried to explain the merits of a bill to McConnell, only to be told: “you must be under the mistaken impression that I care.”

Democrats cannot accept this same strand of obstructionism from the former Senate Majority Leader. The country is in its most dire situation in decades, and Democrats have won control of the presidency, the House and the Senate in just one term. One senator from Kentucky cannot be allowed to hold up the support necessary to keep millions from starvation, poverty and potential illness. Democrats must govern as they wish. Abolish the filibuster, reduce the “supermajority” number of votes required to pass major bills and pass legislation that helps people. Joe Biden made a lot of promises during his campaign, and in order to deliver on those, Democrats have to act as Republicans have: the winner takes all. Elections have consequences.


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