Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is already planning to stonewall the agenda of a potential Joe Biden administration, all the way down to preventing Biden from appointing the Cabinet secretaries he wants, according to an article published on Thursday by Axios.
Biden has yet to be declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election, though the odds are looking good for him to defeat Donald Trump. And it is still unclear whether McConnell will control the Senate when the new Congress is sworn in next year, with the races for the two Georgia Senate seats headed to a runoff in January.
The current situation notwithstanding, Axios noted, "McConnell has a history of blocking Democratic presidents from passing anything — working to obstruct rather than cut deals."
McConnell notoriously refused to confirm dozens of President Barack Obama's judicial nominees.
When Democrats had a majority in the Senate, McConnell used the filibuster to block Obama's court picks from getting votes. After Republicans won control of the Senate in 2014, he refused to hold votes on Obama's court picks in the last two years of his presidency. That included refusing even to hold confirmation hearings for Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, in 2016.
If Biden wins the presidency, and if Republicans hold the Senate, Democrats say Biden should sidestep any obstructionism on the part of McConnell by appointing acting Cabinet officials, who do not go through the Senate confirmation process, taking a page from Trump's playbook.
As of the middle of February, Trump had 22 acting Cabinet and Cabinet-level officials serving in an "acting" capacity over the course of his tenure, according to a Washington Post analysis.
Senate Republicans have not objected to Trump having a Cabinet filled with unconfirmed officials; some Democrats say Biden should do the same.
"Fuck 'em. Just do acting secretaries like Trump did," tweeted Zac Petkanas, a Democratic strategist and former spokesperson for former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "McConnell didn't complain then. He can't complain now."
Other Democrats say that McConnell's vow to block Biden's agenda should motivate Democratic voters in Georgia.
"Chasing small-ball deals with McConnell and letting him pick your cabinet guarantees a depressed base and big GOP gains in 2022. McConnell will pick your pocket for two years before robbing you blind. If there's a double runoff in GA Dems can still take the Senate," tweeted Adam Jentleson, another Democratic strategist who worked for Reid. "It's critical."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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