The long-time Mississippi political figure addressed the more than 100 Corinth Kiwanis, Rotary and Civilian members in attendance at The Chop House at Shiloh Ridge.
“George Washington created the Senate in 1787 to help slow things down. He wanted to make sure laws weren’t acted on too quickly,” said Wicker. “If George Washington was here today, I think the way the senate operates would far exceed his expectations of slowing things down.“
Wicker said he isn’t happy with the way U. S. Senate is currently functioning.
“We haven’t seen a whole lot of new bills adopted by the U.S. Senate during this particular term,” said the Pontotoc native.
Wicker said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid brings a new bill to the floor where other senators offer amendments. Once the amendment tree is full, normally 12 amendments per bill, no other amendments can be offered.
“There we are siting around looking at each other wondering why we can’t look at more bills,” said Wicker about Reid’s process. “I don’t think that’s the way it should work.”
According to Wicker, minority members of the Senate have been able to offer and vote on only 14 bills in the last 12 months.
“In the same time period, the House of Representatives have offered 192 amendments,” he said. “It has gotten way out of hand and that’s one reason why I’m so frustrated.”
Wicker said there are currently 350 bills the House has passed that are awaiting action in the Senate. Those bills have been fully passed with both Democrat and Republication votes.
“Forty of those bills are job related,” said the U.S. senator, a former U.S. congressman representing northeast Mississippi. “Including a liquid natural gas exports bill which could become a bigger job creator in Mississippi than Nissan and Toyota.”
Other bills sitting on Ried’s desk include a Obamacare mandate repeal, a medical device act repeal, a bill that would return the country to a 40-hour work week, a bill that encourages small business and a bill entitled Hire More Heroes, which would offer more employee opportunities for military reserves and veterans.
“We were able to pass one bill this year that I am rather proud of,” said Wicker. “A veterans' bill was passed which allows a person the opportunity to seek care at a private hospital with veterans' fund reimbursement.”
Wicker said anyone who has been on the VA waiting list for more than 30 days or lives more than 40 miles from a VA hospital, can go to a private care facility.