U.S. Senate returning as a deliberative body

The following editorial appeared in the Charleston (West Virginia) Daily Mail on July 8:

It was known as the “world’s greatest deliberative body,” a phrase believed to have been coined by former President James Buchanan in 1867 of the U.S. Senate’s reputation for deep, intelligent and impassioned debate.

Of course, that was back in the days after legendary orators like senators Henry Clay and Daniel Webster.

Unfortunately, after Nevada Democrat Harry Reid became majority leader in 2007, the U.S. Senate was anything but great or deliberative.

Fortunately, voters sent a majority of Republicans to the nation’s upper chamber in 2014, including West Virginia’s own Shelley Moore Capito. Reid was demoted to minority leader and Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell is now the leader.

McConnell, Capito and the Senate have done well in the six months since Republicans took over.

“It is an encouraging development for the country to see the Senate addressing big problems after years of inaction when it was controlled by Democrats,” wrote former Republican majority leaders Bob Dole and Trent Lott in the Wall Street Journal last month.

“In only six months, the progress has been dramatic. Committees are up and running. Senators in both parties are debating and amending bills … Not only is legislation now passing, bills are actually making their way to the president’s desk.”

In the first six months of 2015, the Senate passed more than 40 bipartisan bills. It has reported more than 110 bills out of committee, and 18 have been signed into law by the president. The Senate also passed its first balanced budget act in more than a decade and is debating amendments to bills at nearly 10 times the rate as under Reid’s leadership.

Capito is pulling her weight. She has introduced several bills, including the ARENA Act to protect access to affordable energy. In addition to her roles on the Environment and Public Works and Energy and Natural Resources committees, she is a key voice on the Appropriations Committee.

Capito secured language in the Department of Interior appropriations bill to limit EPA funding and roll back excessive regulations. She also secured increased funding for fossil energy research — some of which will be spent at the National Energy Technology Lab in Morgantown – to spur new technologies for more efficient use of coal and natural gas.

We could go on, but suffice it to say the U.S. Senate is looking much more like the lawmaking body it was designed to be, and no longer the house of obstruction that it was under Harry Reid.



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