There is really no question anymore as to who the most ineffectual Leader of the Senate has ever been — without a doubt, it is Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who once boiled down his entire GOP caucus’ job to stopping bills they didn’t like.
Today, McConnell once again blocked a House-passed bill to reopen the federal government from even coming up for a vote, citing a lack of willingness to “participate in something that doesn’t lead to an outcome.” The bill that Mitch blocked today would have funded the Department of Homeland Security for the next three weeks and the rest of the departments affected by the shutdown until the end of the fiscal year on September 30.
Current Senate rules allow any Senator to ask for consent to pass — or at least vote on — any bill at all. But those same rules allow any Senator to object, which precludes even the opportunity to consider the bill.
McConnell has maintained since nearly the beginning of the shutdown, which has now gone on for longer than any shutdown in the history of the United States, that he would only allow a bill to go forward if there was a deal brokered between Trump and the Democrats on border security. He said today:
The solution to this is a negotiation between the one person in the country who can sign something into law, the president of the United States, and our Democratic colleagues.”
A continuing budget resolution — the preferred method of funding the federal government since the contentious Congress of President Obama’s first term — was passed by hand in the House and by voice vote in the Senate at the end of December, but Trump vetoed the bill because it didn’t include extra money to fund what some call a “vanity” wall along the southern border of the United States.
The New York Democrat who leads the minority in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, said on Tuesday that McConnell himself should get involved:
There’s only one person who can help America break through this gridlock: Leader McConnell. For the past month Leader McConnell has been content to hide behind the president, essentially giving him a veto over what comes to the floor of the Senate.”
Of course, McConnell has always prided himself on wielding that power, effectively legislating negatively by himself by refusing to allow bills he doesn’t personally approve of to ever come to the floor of the Senate for a vote.
Featured image via screen capture