Politics & Policy

Farewell to Harry Reid’s Depraved Indifference

(Getty Images)
He even refuses to consider bills that the House passed with unanimous Democratic support.

Before Harry Reid (D., Nev.) wraps up as Senate majority leader, Americans should understand the depraved indifference with which he governs. It’s bad enough, though hardly shocking, that Reid impedes Senate votes on House-passed bills that advance Republican initiatives. Far more disturbing is Reid’s bull-headed refusal to consider measures with unanimous House Democratic support. Among other things, these staggeringly bipartisan bills would bolster Israel, help homeless veterans, and hammer child pornographers.

As of December 10, Reid has sandbagged 422 House-passed bills. At least 225 of these were adopted by the House in the 113th Congress with zero Democratic opposition. Consider these measures backed by every House Democrat who voted on them:

• H.R. 3530 passed the House 409–0 on May 20. According to Congress.gov’s summary, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act would fund “training and technical assistance to improve the criminal prosecution of child abuse . . . [including] human trafficking” and help “identify and provide direct services to victims of child pornography.” It also would empower “state and local prosecutors to obtain wiretap warrants in state courts for investigations into human trafficking, child sexual exploitation, and child pornography production.”

This legislation also “expresses the sense of Congress that . . . child human trafficking has no place in a civilized society, and that persons who commit crimes relating to it should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

• H.R. 5111 passed 409–0 on July 24. It would allow funding of “a cyber tipline” to report Internet-related “child sex trafficking, including child prostitution.”

• H.R. 357 was adopted 390–0 on February 3. The GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act explicitly benefits veterans who are homeless or recently released from incarceration. It requires certain government colleges to charge veterans tuition at in-state rates.

• H.R. 1163 won 416–0 on April 16, 2013. According to its text, the Federal Information Security Amendments Act would “provide for development and maintenance of minimum controls required to protect Federal information and information systems.”

• H.R. 180 was endorsed 406–2 on May 14, 2013. All Democrats present voted “Yea.” The National Blue Alert Act would create a system “to disseminate information when a law enforcement officer is seriously injured or killed in the line of duty.”

• H.R. 938 succeeded 410–1 on March 5, with one Republican opponent. The United States–Israel Strategic Partnership Act “expresses the sense of Congress that the Department of State should continue its coordination on monitoring and combating anti-Semitism with the government of Israel.” The Act also “declares that Israel is a major strategic partner of the United States” and permits the transfer of “certain obsolete or surplus Department of Defense (DOD) items to Israel.”

• H.R. 2274 triumphed 422–0 on January 14. The Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales, and Brokerage Simplification Act eases “the transfer of ownership of smaller privately held companies” by exempting certain M&A brokers from federal registration rules.

• H.R. 882, the Contracting and Tax Accountability Act, was embraced 407–0 on April 15, 2013. It states that “no government contracts or grants should be awarded to individuals or business entities with seriously delinquent federal tax debts.”

• H.R. 1211 prevailed 410–0 on February 25. The FOIA Act directs “federal agencies to make disclosable public records available in an electronic, publicly accessible format.” It also would launch “a single, free website for submitting requests for records, receiving automated information about the status of a FOIA request, and filing appeals.”

Burying even the worthiest House legislation cynically lets Reid and other Democrats accuse the GOP of being unable to govern. Reid sticks Republicans into cement shoes, and then blames them when they can’t walk.

Meanwhile, shielding Democratic senators from tough votes was Reid’s brilliant strategy for protecting his incumbents. Instead, Republican challengers steamrolled Colorado’s Mark Udall, Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, and three other sitting Democrats.

In an irony bigger than Hoover Dam, Harry Reid now will spend day after day under incoming majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) voting on one GOP House–passed bill after another.

— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

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