In Sunday night’s debate, Donald Trump said Hillary Clinton was “ineffective” as a senator from New York because she couldn’t single-handedly get rid of the “carried interest” tax loophole.
Trump asked Clinton why she didn’t get rid of the loophole, and Clinton responded “because I was a Senator with a Republican president.” Trump countered that she could have done it “if you were an effective senator ... but you were not an effective senator.”
Trump seems to have missed the civics lesson on how laws are passed, so let’s review.
Someone in Congress ― a member of the House of Representatives or a senator ― has to propose the legislation.
The bill has to go to the appropriate committee in the House or the Senate, wherever it was proposed, and face hearings and votes there.
The full chamber has to debate and vote on the legislation. In the Senate, it can be killed by a filibuster and never see a vote.
The legislation goes to the other chamber, where it repeats steps 2 and 3.
If the legislation passes both chambers of Congress, yet another committee has to convene to make sure the versions passed by the House and Senate match. (They usually don’t.)
The legislation goes to the president’s desk. The president can sign it and it becomes law, or he can veto it. A veto goes back to Congress and can be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers. That’s rare ― Congress overrode Obama for the first time in nearly eight years just last month.
And that’s just the short version, leaving out a ton of details, back-room deals and negotiation that take place behind the scenes. Really, it’s amazing our government ever passes legislation.
So for Donald Trump to say that one senator should have been able to pass any item on her agenda shows a tremendous lack of understanding of how the U.S. government works. Maybe he just never watched Schoolhouse Rock . Sad!
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.
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