Republicans whistle past the "legislative graveyard"

The paltry list of accomplishments has given Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer an opening to portray the GOP as devoid of any agenda and could endanger Republicans at risk in a tough election cycle. And there’s a growing recognition within the GOP that it needs to do more.

McConnell and his deputy, Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), are telling committee chairmen to start approving bills and get them ready for the floor, according to Republican senators. Some lawmakers are optimistic that by August, they will have passed a bill lowering health care costs along with defense policy legislation. Approval of a new North American trade deal this year is also a possibility, as is a bipartisan deal to lift stiff budget caps.

“It will definitely change soon,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who Democrats are eager to challenge next year. “I like policy and legislation. So, that’s my preference. But I certainly understand that due to the obstructionist tactics, regrettably, we had a huge backlog that we had to clear out.”…

“We ought to be less risk-averse. And I don’t think I’m the only one who believes that. I just think I’m just the only one foolish enough to say that,” Kennedy said. “Every time I talk about this, some knucklehead tries to spin it as a criticism of Mitch, and it’s really not.”