Harry Reid Blocks Bipartisan Animal Cruelty Bill Over Political Nonsense

In the crazy world of D.C. politics, it’s rare to find an issue that both Democrats and Republicans find much common ground on. Looking out for animals, however, appears to be something that politicians on both sides of the aisle can get behind.

This common interest led to the creation of the Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act. Authored by Senators Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania and Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, the bill would impose harsher punishments on those who are cruel to animals.

The bill is considered so uncontroversial that Toomey thought he could take the opportunity to quickly have his colleagues approve the legislation by unanimous consent on Thursday morning.

Unanimous consent is frequently used in the U.S. Senate to deal with matters that no one finds disagreeable. Since it only takes a single legislator to object, typically a senator won’t even try to pass something via unanimous consent if they don’t anticipate full cooperation.

Despite having overwhelming support from members of both parties, Toomey received an hasty objection to his PACT Act request from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

Reid, who was scheduled to deliver a speech at the moment, seemed to feel disrespected by the timing of the proposal. Beyond that, Reid ranted that the Republicans had been obstructing all sorts of important legislation as of late and didn’t see why this particular bill should be considered over other ignored issues.

Reid offered to withdraw his objection if the Republicans would agree to finally hold hearings for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell immediately shot down that proposition.

For Reid, his stance in blocking the bill seems to be one of principle rather than contempt for animals. Historically, he has a good record of voting to support animal rights.

While Reid makes some good points about the Republican Party’s lack of cooperation, taking this stance doesn’t do much to help the welfare of animals. Animals shouldn’t have to suffer because Washington politicians refuse to compromise.

Moreover, if Reid wants the Senate to finally be productive, he probably shouldn’t block a bipartisan attempt to do just that.

“He raises a completely unrelated issue and uses that as the basis to block this non-controversial legislation,” said Toomey. “This is exactly what the American people are so frustrated about… when this kind of completely partisan agenda blocks progress even on modest and non-controversial legislation.”

The good news is that the animal cruelty bill is not necessarily dead following this initial obstacle. The bad news is that there’s no guarantee that the Senate will find a chance to look at it again anytime soon.

This year, Senate has been in session for the fewest number of days in 60 years. The amount of legislation passed by Congress is also reaching multi-decade lows. With 34 Senate seats up for grabs in the November election, Senate won’t be in session much in the upcoming weeks so the senators can return to their home states to campaign.

In the meantime, if you’d like to urge members of the Senate and the House of Representatives to come together to pass the PACT Act, contribute your signature to this petition prepared by Care2 member Jane Rita. Let’s make sure the PACT Act gets a real vote sometime soon.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Lorraine Andersen
Lorraine Andersen7 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga7 months ago


JoAnn P
JoAnn Paris7 months ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

Harry Reid has blocked everything.

Marie W.
Marie W2 years ago

Reid was being an a$$hole. Needs to go!

Lisa G.
Lisa G2 years ago

Our leaders must unite and work together to set harsher or the harshest punishment towards any one who commits a violent abusive act toward our Animals globally! Its a sick sick thing going on out there and needs to end! Were the humans supposedly with compassion in our Hearts? Dont see to much of that toward our animal community!

Philippa Powers
Philippa Powers2 years ago


federico bortoletto

Firmato naturalmente..e condiviso.

Dona L.
Dona L2 years ago

Urge U.S. Congress to Pass the "Preventing Animal Cruelty And Torture (PACT) Act"


Rietje bolleman
Rietje bolleman2 years ago

Can't find where to sign
Is this only for USA CITIZENS maybe?