Is the Senate Still a Graveyard?
When Mitch McConnell was Majority Leader, he proudly turned the Senate into a legislative graveyard where laws he considered “left-wing solutions” went to perish.
In reality, he buried proposed solutions using a deeply racist and sexist system, all to maintain the status quo that does not include protecting or bettering the lives of women, marginalized communities, and communities of color.
Now Senator McConnell is Minority Leader, but with an evenly-split Senate, he still holds too much power over the future of an intersectional feminist agenda. We’re seeing the first wave of feminist legislation for 2021 get to the Senate floor only to face numerous roadblocks. The Senate needs to take action on the more than 70 bills passed by the House, including the Paycheck Fairness Act, Equality Act, Washington D.C. Admission Act, For the People Act, John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and the Commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection, to name just a few.
Yesterday, we were reminded of the consequences of delayed and buried action from our Congress. On the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd we’re still waiting on federal reform to address systemic racism in law enforcement. The current proposed reform, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, is with the other more than 70 bills currently in the Senate. NOW urges Republican and Democratic lawmakers to pass the strongest possible legislation in the Senate, including a prohibition on qualified immunity, which grants immunity to law enforcement who violate someone’s civil rights unless their conduct defy “clearly established” law.
If bipartisanship proves impossible, the filibuster is another roadblock that stands in the way of passing the George Floyd Act and other urgently needed reforms. We must end the filibuster, a colonial tool of suppression with a racist history.
As the largest grassroots feminist organization, we need to mobilize and push our Senators in the right direction in support of gender equality and racial justice. Let’s make the Senate reflective of the choice that voters made in November, and in the Georgia runoffs.
No more graveyards—action must be taken!