Tag: mitch mcconnell
Chip Roy

House Republicans Forcing A Ruinous Government Shutdown

House Republicans are determined to pass funding bills that have no chance of becoming law as the U.S. Senate seeks a bipartisan agreement to avert a government shutdown.

Congress has not passed annual spending bills, meaning the federal government will partially shut down at the end of September unless the House, Senate, and president can agree on legislation.

On Tuesday, House Republicans voted to begin debate on four partisan bills to slash spending below agreed levels, though those bills stand no chance in the Democratic-led Senate.

On the same day, the Senate advanced a bipartisan plan to fund the federal government’s operations for six weeks, extend disaster relief funding, and support Ukraine’s defense in its war against Russia.

The Senate voted 77-19 to begin consideration of the temporary funding package, which is backed by both Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) reportedly told his caucus that the bill will not get a vote on the House floor. McCarthy faces threats from far-right Congress members that he will lose his speakership if he agrees to a bipartisan plan.

Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) told the Wall Street Journal that because the bipartisan bill does not include new border security funding, it would not come up in the House.

Florida Republican Rep. Byron Donalds called the bill a “non-starter,” with an Axios reporter tweeting on Wednesday that he said, “That thing is dead over here.”

“We’re going to work hard to do the work for the American people, while the Senate can preen and posture with yet another swamp game by putting forward another continuing resolution of the status quo, rather than trying to change this place,” said Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy in a floor speech Tuesday.

Rather than consider the Senate package or any temporary funding legislation, nearly every House Republican voted on Tuesday to consider a series of four appropriations bills that include steep spending cuts to education, health care, child care, and nutrition programs. Even if all four proposals pass the House this week, they stand no chance of passing in the Senate and would not avert a partial shutdown.

Debate on the bills will eat up several hours of House floor time with just four days left before a shutdown.

Some members of the Republican Main Street Caucus, which claims to back “common sense, pragmatic legislation,” have been critical of their House Republican colleagues for bringing the nation to the brink of a shutdown and have suggested that they might join with Democrats on a bipartisan deal.

“When you’re trying to pass something through the House, you want to work as a conference,” New York Rep. Mike Lawler told CNN on Tuesday, “And some of my colleagues have frankly been stuck on stupid and refuse to do what we were elected to do against the vast majority of the conference, who have been working to avoid a shutdown.”

On September 22, Lawler slammed Republican colleagues such as Matt Gaetz of Florida, tweeting: “Create a crisis. Blame others. Pretend to solve.”

But Lawler and the rest of the Main Street Caucus still voted with their party to advance the four-bill package.

“The choice facing Congress: pretty straightforward. We can take the standard approach and fund the government for six weeks at the current rate of operations, or we can shut the government down in exchange for zero meaningful progress on policy,” McConnell said in a Wednesday floor speech.

If the government shuts down, it will continue to provide only essential functions, and no federal employees will receive pay.

In that scenario, families will lose food aid through the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program, food safety inspection will be halted, no one will be able to file new Social Security claims, and veterans will be unable to access services.

Recent shutdowns have done billions of dollars in damage to the nation’s economy, reducing its gross domestic product. Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that the longer a shutdown lasts, the more economic damage it will do.

Still, some House Republicans and former President Donald Trump see a shutdown as a good thing.

“We should not fear a government shutdown. Most of what we do up here is bad anyway. Most of what we do up here hurts the American people,” Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) said in July.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Mitch McConnell

GOP Senators Squabbling Over McConnell's Latest 'Freeze-Up' (VIDEO)

Whatever Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would have you believe about his recovery following a concussion, Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama ain't buying it.

“The last freeze-up, it puts a question in everybody’s mind whether he can do it or not,” Tuberville told The Wall Street Journal regarding McConnell's latest freezing episode, adding that “if he freezes up again, he obviously knows that everybody else is going to have to get involved in this.”

McConnell, who has had two such episodes during press conferences in the past month, reportedly plans to address the topic of his health with Senate colleagues at a Republican conference meeting on Wednesday.

But the caucus is already breaking into factions, pitting pro-McConnell establishment types against McConnell detractors mostly aligned with former President Donald Trump.

“[W]e're gonna know more after lunch,” Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming told Politico's Burgess Everett, adding that McConnell "has my full support.”

Tuberville, who has been at odds with McConnell over his radical blockade of military promotions, has been particularly outspoken.

On Tuesday evening, Tuberville told CNN's Manu Raju that, as a college football coach, he's seen players "really struggle" for a long period after suffering concussions on the field. McConnell's recent freeze-ups are likely related to a concussion he suffered in the spring after falling at a private event.

"That’s the reason you don’t play them after that," Tuberville explained, referring to concussed players. "They don’t go back in the game until you’re completely well. And … obviously, he’s not completely well."

Tuberville is joined by populist pro-Trumpers like Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and even McConnell's fellow senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, who suggested McConnell should "be more forthcoming" about the health challenges he's facing.

“I don’t think it’s been particularly helpful to have the Senate doctor describe it as dehydration," said Paul, an ophthalmologist, referring to the Capitol attending physician's initial explanation of McConnell's freezing episodes. “What’s occurring from what I’ve seen, it’s a neurological event.”

“That doesn’t mean it’s incapacitating, doesn’t mean he can’t serve,” Paul told Capitol Hill reporters. “But it means that somebody ought to wake up and say, ‘Wow, this looks like a seizure.’”

On Tuesday, McConnell's office released another note from Capitol physician Dr. Brian Monahan, who suggested the GOP leader was not experiencing seizures.

“There is no evidence that you have a seizure disorder or that you experienced a stroke, TIA, or movement disorder such as Parkinson's disease," Monahan wrote, using the acronym for transient ischemic attack, which is a stroke lasting several minutes.

Hawley used the swirling questions about McConnell, 81, to take a whack at President Joe Biden, who's 80 but hasn't exhibited any neurologic episodes.

"I’m concerned about his health, just like I’m concerned about the president’s health,” Hawley told Politico, acknowledging that he hadn't voted for McConnell as leader. "So my views on this are kind of well-known."

Following the 2022 midterms, McConnell handily crushed a leadership challenge mounted by Sen. Rick Scott of Florida. Still, Scott's effort represented the first challenge to McConnell's grip on the Senate Republican conference since he first assumed the leadership role in 2007.

In short, some of McConnell's troops are restless and he's in a more precarious position than at any point in his 16-year leadership of the caucus. But the establishment types seem very wary of wading into a leadership battle amid an already politically fraught landscape for the Republican Party.

As Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah told ABC News, he still "firmly" backs McConnell, even with the occasional freezing episode.

"We may expect that Mitch McConnell will check out for 20 seconds a day. But the other 86,380 seconds in the day, he does a pretty darn good job," Romney said. "I'm firmly behind his remaining as our leader."

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Mitch McConnell

How Republicans Are Undermining Their Path To Senate Majority

If the Republican Party was even remotely normal, Senate Republicans would be counting down the hours until Election Day 2024, when they would almost assuredly win the two seats they need to retake control of the upper chamber.

Instead, they are biting their tongues and ducking for cover as they face incoming hits from every corner of the Republican Party.

The latest debacle keeping Senate Republicans up at night is the House GOP’s push to impeach President Joe Biden over, well, they're not exactly sure what … but they may or may not bother to find out.

After House Republicans voted Thursday to refer an impeachment resolution over border security to the committees of jurisdiction, Senate Republicans started to review their life choices.

"I don't know what they're basing the president's impeachment on. We'll see what they do. I can't imagine going down that road," Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia told Axios.

Capito even added the most obvious yet damning observation: "This seems like an extremely partisan exercise."

Senate Minority Leader John Thune would prefer his caucus’s attention and energy be directed toward pretty much anything else. “I’d rather focus on the policy agenda, the vision for the future and go on and win elections," the South Dakotan—and Mitch McConnell’s #2—explained to Axios.

Sounds smart. But does anyone have any clue at all what the GOP "vision for the future" is— other than rounding up all of Donald Trump's perceived enemies, locking them up, and contemplating whether to throw away the key or worse?

The Senate Republican chairing the effort to retake the chamber, Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, also chimed in, saying he hadn't "seen evidence that would rise to an impeachable offense," before conceding that’s what trials are for.

Sure—assuming House Republicans bother to conduct an investigation. That little hiccup appears to have occurred to Sen. Thom Tillis of South Carolina.

"Impeachment is a serious process. It takes time. It takes evidence," he noted. Now, there's one to grow on.

As former Harry Reid aide Jim Manley tweeted about the House GOP's impeachment scheme: "As a so-called democratic strategist—thank you."

But House Republican plans for impeachment (not to mention a potential government shutdown, abortion ban push, or effort to yank aid to Ukraine) aren't the only things keeping Senate Republicans awake at night.

They're a tad uncomfortable with the fact that the party's current 2024 front-runner and possible nominee stole state secrets, refused to return them, and then obstructed justice during a federal probe of the matter.

Several weeks ago, On June 13, Minority Leader McConnell was asked during a press gaggle whether he would still support Trump as nominee if he were convicted. He dodged.

"I am just simply not going to comment on the candidates," McConnell responded. "I'm simply going to stay out of it." He has said anything on the matter since.

Finally, when looking toward 2024, so-called candidate quality is still a sticking point for Senate Republicans. Though they have had some wins on candidate recruitment to date, they have also suffered some missed opportunities. Further, many of their candidates—even the good ones—will be haunted by their extreme anti-abortion views on the campaign trail.

Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher, Senate Republicans top pick to challenge Democratic incumbent Tammy Baldwin, announced earlier this month that he’ll be taking a pass on a run. The Badger State’s GOP primary promises to be a mess, but former Milwaukee County sheriff and conspiracy theory enthusiast David Clarke has looked dominant in polling.

In response to Gallagher's June 9 news, Clarke, who's eyeing a bid, tweeted of his rivals, "None of them energizes or excites the base voter like I do."

He's not wrong—and that is some very bad news for Senate Republicans hoping to put Baldwin's seat in play.

Republicans also have extreme hurdles in other top-tier target states, such as Montana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. As Daily Kos previously reported, even their best candidates hold downright radical positions on abortion:

  • Senate Republicans’ top choice in Montana, businessman Tim Sheehy, who has accused Democrats of being "bent on murdering our unborn children";
  • Another Senate GOP darling, Pennsylvania hedge fund CEO David McCormick, doesn't support exceptions for rape and incest, and only approves of "very rare" exceptions for the life of the mother;
  • In Ohio, MAGA diehard Bernie Moreno, who's earned the endorsement of freshman Sen. J.D. Vance, is "100% pro-life with no exceptions," according to HuffPost. During his failed Senate bid last year, Moreno tweeted, “Conservative Republicans should never back down from their belief that life begins at conception and that abortion is the murder of an innocent baby";
  • and then there’s West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, who McConnell has convinced to run for the seat of Sen. Joe Manchin. He signed a near-total abortion ban into law last year.

Whether it's Trump, House Republicans, or abortion—the issue that turned the midterms upside down in 2022—Senate Republicans face an uphill battle to recruit and present candidates with broad appeal in a party that thrives on alienating a solid majority of the country.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Lauren Boebert

Far-Right Republicans Back Boebert Bill To Repeal Gun Safety Laws

For years, gun rights activists have opposed new safety restrictions on firearms, arguing that the government needs to enforce the laws already on the books. A group of 20 House Republicans, led by Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, now wants to repeal several of the existing laws, including most of a bipartisan law passed in the wake of the 2022 mass shooting at a school in Texas.

On May 11, Boebert introduced the Shall Not Be Infringed Act, which would repeal every gun safety measure enacted between 2021 and 2022. In a press release announcing the introduction of the bill, Boebert notes that the bill has the support of the far-right organizations Gun Owners of America and the National Association for Gun Rights. The Southern Poverty Law Center has called the Gun Owners of America “a more radical alternative to the National Rifle Association.”

In the press release, Boebert says:

I unapologetically support the Second Amendment. No amount of gun control will ever eliminate evil in our society, and unsurprisingly, the data has shown time and again that gun control does not decrease gun violence. Just look at Chicago or New York, where gun control has created criminal safe havens since evildoers know their victims will be unarmed. It is ironic that the same people who are calling to defund the police also want to leave everyday Americans defenseless. I will always stand against this nonsense and stand for law-abiding Americans and the Constitution.

The bill would eliminate the bulk of the 2022 gun safety compromise law as well as provisions in an appropriations package, a Defense Department authorization law, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.

In the aftermath of a May 2022 mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 elementary school kids and two teachers were killed by an 18-year-old gunman, a bipartisan group of senators agreed on a small package of gun safety measures.

The lawmakers agreed to measures that would disarm people convicted of domestic abuse, fund implementation of red flag laws that would temporarily disarm those adjudicated to be a danger to themselves or others in states that voluntarily adopt them, and expand background checks for gun purchasers under age 21. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed by votes of 234-193 in the House and 65-33 in the Senate, and was signed into law by President Joe Biden in June 2022.

While key Republican senators, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, supported the package, Boebert was among 193 House Republicans who opposed it. Of the 14 GOP representatives who voted for the bill, just five are still serving.

According to her press release, Boebert’s bill would eliminate enhanced background checks, lift the ban on gun ownership by domestic abusers who are not convicted of felonies, slash all funding for red flag law implementation, cut funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, eliminate safe storage requirements, and curb local law enforcement’s ability to enforce federal gun laws. It would also eliminate a law requiring criminal investigations for those who fail background checks.

Boebert’s co-sponsors so far are all Republicans, including Reps. Andy Biggs (AZ), Dan Bishop (NC), Josh Brecheen (OK), Eric Burlison (MO), Eli Crane (AZ), Warren Davidson (OH), Jeff Duncan (SC), Byron Donalds (FL), Paul Gosar (AZ), Diana Harshbarger (TN), Doug LaMalfa (CA), Mary Miller (IL), Alex Mooney (WV), Troy Nehls (TX), Ralph Norman (SC), Andrew Ogles (TN), Scott Perry (PA), Matt Rosendale (MT), and Randy Weber (TX).

Boebert filed a similar bill in July 2022, focused only on repealing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, and picked up 35 co-sponsors before the end of the session.

Four months later, a gunman shot and killed five people and injured 17 more at Club Q, a gay nightclub in her home state of Colorado.

While it may pass in the House, the bill is unlikely to advance in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Republicans have already filed more than a dozen bills aimed at repealing gun safety laws and making it cheaper and easier to buy firearms.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 227 mass shootings in the United States in the first five and a half months of 2023, including a May 6 mass shooting at an Allen, Texas, shopping mall, where a white supremacist with an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle killed eight people and injured seven.

Boebert and four other GOP lawmakers signed on to a bill earlier this year that would designate the AR-15 “the National Gun of the United States.”

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.