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Liberal Think Tank Study Blames Reid, Senate Dems For DC Gridlock

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A divided Senate on Thursday derailed Democratic legislation providing $21 billion for medical, education and job-training benefits for the nation's veterans, as the bill fell victim to election-year disputes over spending and whether to slap sanctions on Iran. (credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A divided Senate on Thursday derailed Democratic legislation providing $21 billion for medical, education and job-training benefits for the nation’s veterans, as the bill fell victim to election-year disputes over spending and whether to slap sanctions on Iran. (credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – A liberal leaning think tank is blaming Senate Democrats for the gridlock the government has been having recently.

Brooking Institution’s research found that the House has passed twice as many bills as the Senate in 2013, blaming the Democratic-controlled Senate committee process.

“When we look at this category, then, we begin to understand where the problem lies: even in the traditionally collegial Senate, 87 percent of bills die in committee,” Molly Jackman and Saul Jackman, of Brookings, and Brian Boessenecker write in Politico. “While the filibuster may grab all the headlines, committees are a far deadlier weapon.”

The majority party controls the Senate committee and more importantly, the chairman can kill Republican proposals. For a Senate minority, filibusters are the last resort that can be used to block a bill’s passage in the Senate.

In addition, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has the power to bring legislation to the Senate floor for a vote, skipping the committee process entirely.

Last week Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell explained that Republicans have staged some votes for political reasons.  However, he presented a proposal to revive the Senate legislative process which would empower the committees and have senators spend more time voting on the floor.

“The only way 100 senators will truly be able to have their say, the only way we’ll be able to work through our tensions and disputes, is if we’re here more,” McConnell stated according to the Washington Examiner.  “It’s the best way I know to force an outcome everybody’s satisfied with. We got a glimpse of that during last year’s budget debate. Somebody who has two dozen amendments at noon starts to prioritize those amendments around midnight. They start talking about what it would take to get unanimous consent. That’s how you reach consensus — by working, and talking, and cooperating, through give and take.”

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