While the House of Representatives has been busy passing legislation that reflects the Democratic majority’s priorities, the Senate has done little legislative work. Instead, it has focused on filling judicial vacancies.
Most of the 2019 Senate votes involved confirming judges, either in voting to bring debate to an end on a nomination or on the nomination itself. President Trump ran for office pledging to focus on judicial appointments, and Senate Majority Mitch McConnell has pledged to support these efforts. The Senate has been very productive in moving President Trump’s judges through the process.
These judicial confirmations are not the only things the Senate has accomplished in 2019, however. Here are a few other notable confirmations and legislative votes from the upper house this year:
U.S. Senate Motion 367: Approve Dan Brouillette as Energy Secretary
Passed 70 to 15 in the U.S. Senate
To confirm President Trump's nomination of Dan Brouillette to be Secretary of Energy.
U.S. Senate Motion 1099: Approve Eugene Scalia as Labor Secretary
Passed 53 to 44 in the U.S. Senate
To confirm President Trump's nomination of Eugene Scalia to be Secretary of the Department of Labor.
U.S. Senate Motion 220: Approve Mark Esper as Defense Secretary
Passed 90 to 8 in the U.S. Senate
To confirm President Trump's nomination of Mark Esper as Secretary of Defense.
U.S. Senate Motion 264: Confirm Kelly Craft as UN Delegate
Passed 56 to 38 in the U.S. Senate
To approve President Trump's nomination of Kelly Craft to serve as the U.S. representative to the United Nations General Assembly.
U.S. Senate Motion 327: Allow Northern Macedonia to join NATO
Passed 91 to 2 in the U.S. Senate
To ratify a treaty that allows Northern Macedonia to enter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). NATO countries commit to mutual defense if one member is attacked by an external aggressor.
U.S. Senate Joint Resolution 54: Block Trump's border wall emergency declaration
Passed 54 to 41 in the U.S. Senate
To block President Trump's February declaration of an emergency at the U.S.-Mexican border, which empowered the administration to bypass Congress and re-allocate funds to build a border wall.
U.S. House Bill 1327: Authorize 9/11 compensation fund for 72 years
Passed 97 to 2 in the U.S. Senate
To reauthorize the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund through 2092 and exempt spending from the fund from budget rules that require offsetting reductions in other new spending.
Majority Leader McConnell’s focus on confirming President Trump’s nominees will likely continue into 2020. The bills that have emerged from the House are not generally bills that will attract much, if any, Republican support. Unless President Trump, Speaker Pelosi, and McConnell can agree on a legislative agenda, there will be little change from 2019.