Frustrations are building among congressional Democrats as the party’s priorities pile up in the Senate.
Legislation granting statehood to Washington, D.C., approved by the House on Thursday, is just the latest big agenda item set to stall out on the other side of Capitol Hill.
In the majority-run House, Democrats are passing the party’s big priorities along party lines. In the Senate, Republicans can block most legislation with the filibuster, focusing on approving Biden nominees and moving smaller bipartisan measures.
Irritation between members of the same party over the differences between the chambers is a time-honored tradition, but that doesn’t make them any less annoying to those living through them.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) characterized himself as “frustrated.”
“Hopefully, at some point in time, the people themselves will say to the United States Senate, and their representatives in the United States Senate will say, it is undemocratic, with a small D. It is un-American to have the minority hold the majority hostage,” Hoyer told reporters.
A group of House Democrats held a press conference on Thursday to urge Senate Democrats to eliminate the 60-vote legislative filibuster.
“My constituents do not care about arcane Senate rules and procedures. …We have sent bill after bill after bill to that side of the Capitol,” said Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), a military veteran who flipped a red seat in 2018.
Rep. Pramila Jayapall (D-Wash.), the chair of the Progressive Caucus, warned that if Democrats let the filibuster block big pieces of the party’s agenda, there would be blowback in the next election.
“They’re either not going to come out and vote for you next time, or they’re going to vote for the other guy,” she said.
Democrats pledged to go “bold” if they won back control of Congress, with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) vowing to shake off the chamber’s “legislative graveyard” status after House Democrats watched their priorities get ignored by the GOP-controlled Senate in the final two years of the Trump administration.