The Trump administration has spent much of the past 24 hours blaming the president’s refusal to act on infrastructure on House Democrats, claiming they are too busy investigating him to pass any legislation.
But unlike the Republican-controlled Senate, the House of Representatives has actually passed hundreds of things in just a few months, including major legislation to protect LGBTQ Americans, restore American democracy, reduce gun violence, protect the climate, ensure equal pay for women, and expand health care protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
A day after President Donald Trump blew up a bipartisan negotiation session and gave a press conference that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called a “temper tantrum,” he issued a series of tweets making the false claim that House Democrats were “getting nothing done.”
“It is not possible for them to investigate and legislate at the same time,” he charged Thursday morning.
The Democrats have become known as THE DO NOTHING PARTY!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2019
The Democrats are getting nothing done in Congress. All of their effort is about a Re-Do of the Mueller Report, which didn’t turn out the way they wanted. It is not possible for them to investigate and legislate at the same time. Their heart is not into Infrastructure, lower…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2019
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeated that claim on Thursday, telling CNN, “It’s a complete lie that Democrats in Congress think they can do two things at once. So far we haven’t seen them do anything.”
She also falsely suggested Pelosi and the House Democratic majority “literally haven’t gotten anything done.”
When CNN host Alisyn Camerota fact-checked Sanders on this, correctly pointing out that, since January 3, the House has passed 248 bills and resolutions, compared to 161 by the Senate, Sanders laughed. “Tell me what significant pieces of legislation that they have passed that are gonna change the course of the country,” she said.
Earlier this month, Trump himself signed the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, a bipartisan measure described by The San Jose Mercury News as “the largest wilderness protection bill in a decade.” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Senate Energy and Natural Resources chair, called the law a “triumph for good process and good policy.” Weeks earlier, Trump also signed a massive appropriations bill that included billions of dollars he had demanded for border security. At the time, he boasted, “I made a deal. I got almost $1.4 billion when I wasn’t supposed to get one dollar — not one dollar.”
Both bills were among the few major pieces of House-passed legislation to even get a vote in Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) Senate.
Sanders might also be interested to know that the House has also passed several other landmark pieces of legislation that have simply not been considered in the GOP-run upper chamber of Congress, where McConnell has spent the past two months focused almost exclusively on ramming through confirmations of Trump appointees.
For the People Act
This anti-corruption legislation includes provisions to eliminate political gerrymandering, makes it easier for citizens to register and vote, requires disclosure for political spending by outside interests, toughens ethics requirements for public officials, and restores key provisions the Voting Rights Act. The bill passed the House on March 8, on a party-line 234 to 193 vote, but has not been considered by the Senate.
The sweeping anti-discrimination bill, if enacted, will ensure explicit employment, housing, public accommodations, and other protections for millions of LGBTQ Americans. It passed the House on May 17, 236 to 173, with only eight Republicans voting yes. It has not been considered in the Senate.
Paycheck Fairness Act
The Paycheck Fairness Act aims to close the gender wage gap and protect female workers, and includes important provisions to bar employers from seeking job applicants’ salary histories. It prohibits retaliation against workers for disclosing their wages to colleagues, and requires greater collection of wage data based on sex, race, and national origin to help root out discriminatory practices. Seven House Republicans broke ranks to vote for the bill and it passed 242 to 187 on March 27, but it has not been considered in the Senate.
Bipartisan Background Checks Act and Enhanced Background Checks Act
Two bills designed to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous criminals were passed on back to back days. The Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which simply required a universal criminal background check prior to private gun sales — even if online or at a gun show — passed 240 to 190, with eight Republicans in support, on February 27. The Enhanced Background Checks Act, which would mandate that gun dealers wait 10 days to receive a response from the background check system before selling a firearm, passed a day later, 228 to 198, with three Republican affirmative votes. Neither bill has been considered in the Senate.
Climate Action Now Act
This bill directs the executive branch to “meet its nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement” to try to stop catastrophic climate change. It passed 231 to 190 — with three Republicans voting in favor — on May 2, but it has not been considered in the Senate.