Of 18 pro-democracy bills in 2022, US Senate torpedoed 17 of them: report

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, points to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • Watchdog group Common Cause ranked Congress on key democracy issues.

  • 101 members of Congress received a perfect score on the 2022 Democracy Scorecard.

  • That’s more than a 70% increase from 2020. But the Senate has thwarted many reform efforts.

Members of Congress increasingly voted in favor of basic democracy issues such as voting rights and campaign finance reform, but most of these bills never became law anyway.

That’s according to the fourth biennial Democracy Scorecard released Tuesday by Common Cause, a government watchdog group that analyzed the votes and seats of the 117th Congress. Insider obtained an early copy of the report.

Of the 18 House and Senate bills listed in the report, only one, the Court Ethics and Transparency Act, was signed into law.

The report largely blames Senate filibustering, which essentially requires 60 votes — not a simple majority of 50 — to advance a bill to a final vote.

During this session of Congress, Republicans used the filibuster to block most Democratic-led attempts to deepen Democratic-centric legislation. While the Senate is split 50-50, Democrats hold the majority with Vice President Kamala Harris providing the tie-breaking vote.

Some of the democracy-related bills that failed to become law include the Democracy is Empowered by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act, a campaign finance reform bill that seeks to push back dark money in elections. the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a voting rights bill that would strengthen legal protections against discriminatory voting policies. and the Protecting Our Democracy Act, a reform bill that would help prevent abuses of executive power.

Common Cause also ranked individual members of Congress on their pro-democracy efforts, with 101 members — all Democrats — earning a perfect score. That’s an increase of more than 70% over the number of members of Congress who had perfect scores (58) on the 2020 Democracy Scorecard.

Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn cited legislative failure as the roadblock to pro-democracy reform.

“In the end, with high levels of support in Congress and an overwhelming outpouring of public support, Congress has dealt with one of the reasons our democracy needs to be modernized: the filibuster,” he wrote in the report.

California had the highest number of members of Congress (19) with a perfect score, and seven states — Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon and Vermont — had both U.S. Senators earn a perfect score.

Aaron Scherb, senior director of legislative affairs at Common Cause, told Insider that the increase in the number of perfect scores shows the increased level of interest and care ordinary citizens have in protecting their freedoms.

“The increase in the number of perfect scores means that the issues of democracy are much more acute now,” he said. “It’s much more in the public consciousness. It’s much more of an issue that people care about.”

The bills listed in the report were chosen based on which would provide the most change and the most consequential reforms, Serb said.

“We select bills in consultation with our board and staff that are structural reform bills that will deliver meaningful change and further improve our democracy to help raise the voice of all Americans,” he said.

Among House Republicans, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois had the highest support score for the 18 bills — 8 out of 18. He was followed by Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming at 7 out of 18 and Rep. John Katko of New York at 6 out of 18 .

No other Republican came close. Both Kinzinger and Cheney are the only Republican members of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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