Take a trip to Washington D.C. and you’re bound to notice the scaffolding that now crisscrosses the U.S. Capitol Dome like a metal spider web, a Halloween decoration that has yet to be taken down. There is no doubt that the Capitol Dome was in dire need of repairs. The 14.1 million pound cast-iron structure that soars 288 feet into the air is riddled with over 1,000 cracks, which threaten to damage the precious artwork on the inside of the dome.
While millions of dollars are being poured into repairing the outside of the Capitol, the election that will take place this week could provide a much needed facelift to who resides inside of the Capitol, which is not structurally flawed, but is instead marred by dysfunction.
Republicans in the House of Representatives have passed scores of legislation aimed at creating jobs, helping graduates, reducing health care costs and spurring entrepreneurship. But each of these bills is immediately buried by the Democrat-led Senate, never to see the light of day, never to receive a vote on the floor.
Contrary to popular punditry, many of these bills have bipartisan support. Currently there are more than 350 bills sitting on Harry Reid’s desk. More than 95 percent of them passed with bipartisan support. Nearly 50 percent of them passed unanimously, with no opposition from either party. And we’re not just talking about bills that rename Post Offices, we’re talking about substantive legislation that could ease the path of job creators.
Take, for instance, the America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act, which would allow small businesses to write-off more of the costs of their capital investments. That bill passed with the support of 53 Democrats. Or take the Hire More Heroes Act, which makes it easier for small businesses to hire veteran’s by providing an exemption to Obamacare’s employer mandate. That bill passed nearly unanimously, with 183 Democrats in support. And there are dozens more bills, none of which anyone knows about because they don’t receive a word of debate from the Senate.
This gridlock for the sake of gridlock isn’t good for America. It throttles job growth and hurts employers. But, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell explained in this week’s Republican address, voters have a chance to change all that this week:
[Democrats] got the chance to pass nearly everything their ideology would allow. But six years on, their policies haven’t gotten the country moving again. And it’s clear that more of the same isn’t going to work. This unfortunate reality has caused Democrats to abandon trying to fix the economy in order to focus almost exclusively on protecting their control of Congress – seemingly at any cost.
“That’s why the Democratic majority blocks nearly every common-sense idea – including reforms and jobs bills that enjoy significant, sometimes overwhelming, bipartisan support – they block it from even coming to a vote. Their aim is to protect the President from having to make politically difficult decisions about whether to sign or veto bipartisan legislation – legislation that might excite one segment of the Democratic Party but infuriate another. . .
“A new Republican majority wouldn’t mean we’d be able to get everything you want from Washington. But it would mean we’d be able to bring the current legislative gridlock to a merciful end. It means we’d be able to start sending bills to the President’s desk again, just as the American people expect.
The Senate is supposed to be deliberative and slow, but under Democrats debate is stunted and progress has ground to a halt. America is stuck having a constant political conversation in no small part because Sen. Harry Reid won’t allow for a substantive policy discussion.
“I don’t expect to win every policy battle, but I do expect my ideas to be heard, debate to be had, and the best possible solutions to be reached,” wrote a frustrated Sen. Jerry Moran recently. “That should not be too much to ask from the world’s ‘greatest deliberative body.’”
Restoring the Capitol to be a place where the best ideas, not the best politics, win the day may be a much more challenging task that repairing the Capitol Dome. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get started this Election Day.