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Elie Mystal Teaches Master Class In Civics To CSPAN Caller On How Bills Become Law

When a caller from Atlanta wants to know why Democrats are keeping a Senate bill from passing, the Nation's Justice Correspondent explains who's truly in charge of the Senate.

It's amazing how just the teensiest bit of work — really, just one more step of the thought or study process — would be enough to dispel so many of the GOP lies.

Elie Mystal, clearly animated and willing to share his limitless knowledge, helps this CSPAN caller along when she asks him why, if Democrats liked some of the things in Sen. Tim Scott's bill on criminal justice reform, they wouldn't negotiate.

Caller: What is your thought on the justice act that was proposed by Tim Scott? It had things that you said you believed in and you wanted and could be negotiated on and Democrats wouldn't negotiate on it. Why do you think that is?

MYSTAL: Nope! That's not true. That's not true that the Democrats would not negotiate on it. Look, I thought Tim Scott's bill was underwhelming, but it's a starting point. There is much more that I want than what Tim Scott had in that bill, but it would be a legitimate starting point for the conversation.

It is NOT "The Democrats did not want to negotiate on it." And I can PROVE that to you, Tammy! Because, who controls the Senate, where Tim Scott works? That's Republicans who control that Senate. That's Mitch McConnell who controls that Senate. They could pass a bill tomorrow if they wanted to. Mitch McConnell could bring Tim Scott's bill to the floor tomorrow, and according to Tim Scott -- if you thought the Democrats were the only ones standing in the way, then Tim Scott doesn't need the Democrats to pass his bill. Tim Scott could pass the bill in the Senate. Nancy Pelosi could pass a bill in the House, and then they could negotiate the terms. That's how government is supposed to work. That is how a bill becomes a law. That's how our civics is supposed to proceed. And it doesn't proceed that way because the Republicans won't allow government to operate, and then lie to you about why it's not operating.

So, if you think that Tim Scott's bill was a good idea, and if you think that it was a good starting point for this discussion about police violence and police brutality, please call Mitch McConnell and tell him to bring that bill to the floor. Because if he brought it to the floor tomorrow, it would pass tomorrow.

It is deeply frustrating to hear such lies propagated. Is it really all Republicans have to do to convince people? Say it, and it's so? "Democrats won't negotiate." Well, SO WHAT? Mitch McConnell doesn't NEED them to - that's what having a majority means.

Democrats are not the reason government isn't working. Republicans are. Who has acres of paper clogging up the works in the form of bills he won't even bring to the floor for debate? MITCH MCCONNELL. Why? Because he knows they would pass! He has prided himself on his nickname of Grim Reaper of the Senate.

So, how does it become the talking point that it's the Democrats that are gumming up the works?

Oh, and don't, under any circumstance, miss the :57 mark in the video, when you can spot the usually unbiased poker-faced Greta Brawner sporting a sly, deeply satisfying grin. Who can blame her? It's a gift to watch Mystal at work.

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