Tag: senate republicans

Raging Battles Over Trump And Debt Ceiling Split GOP Senate Leadership

Percolating behind the scenes of the spectacular House Republican train wreck is a Senate Republican battle royal over leadership of the conference that promises to drag out over the next couple of years.

Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, who already lost one bid last November to unseat Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, plans to continue nipping at the longtime leader's heels despite only garnering 10 votes to McConnell's 37 last fall.

Echoing Donald Trump's perennial criticism of McConnell, Scott told The Hill he's "tired of caving" on raising the debt limit and plans to lobby against McConnell making a deal with Democrats to avert a GOP-manufactured economic meltdown.

“I’m not going to back down,” Scott told The Hill.

Scott's declaration comes in the wake of news that McConnell ousted him and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah from their powerful positions on the Senate Commerce Committee, where they have sought to block agreement on fundamental congressional business—such as keeping the government's lights on. Specifically, Scott took aim at the $1.7 trillion year-end spending package that funds the federal government through September and ultimately passed with 18 votes from Senate Republicans.

Lee tried to torpedo the $1.7 trillion bill by offering an anti-migrant poison pill amendment aimed at reinstating Title 42. Trump also jumped into the fray, releasing a video urging "every single Republican" to vote against the spending package.

McConnell eventually hailed the passage of the bill as a win for Republicans because it increased defense spending above the rate of inflation while nondefense, non-veteran spending increased below that rate of inflation.

Scott and Lee are both part of a pro-Trump Senate GOP group that is promising to dog McConnell throughout the coming cycle. Ejecting them from the Commerce Committee sends a clear signal to other Senate MAGA enthusiasts—Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Braun of Indiana, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina—that kicking up too much dust will come with consequences.

On the other hand, Scott and Lee have very little to lose now by becoming perpetual thorns in McConnell's side—which, frankly, they would have been anyway.

In April 2021, Scott pushed a policy through the Senate Republican Conference stating their opposition to any debt-ceiling increases unless they were accompanied by "cuts in federal spending of an equal or greater amount" or otherwise "meaningful structural reform.”

Last month, Scott and Lee spearheaded a letter to President Biden signed by a total of 24 Senate Republicans who pledged to stick by that Senate GOP policy.

Scott, at the urging of Trump, spent much of the 2022 cycle attempting to poke holes in McConnell's armor. While boosting his fundraising network as chief of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Scott also released an 11-point plan promising to raise taxes on tens of millions while sunsetting Social Security and Medicare. It was a polling disaster, and McConnell devoted a lot of energy to shooting the plan down so it wouldn't kneecap Senate Republicans' effort to retake the upper chamber.

Now it's clear that the McConnell-Scott skirmish is anything but settled in what will continue to be the biggest challenge to McConnell’s leadership position since he assumed the post in 2007.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Former President Trump, left, watches Sen. Mitch McConnell speak in 2019.

'Primary McConnell!' Angry Trump Demands Revenge On Senate GOP Leader

Days after talking up House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and the ultra-right lawmakers pulling his strings, former President Donald Trump called on Republicans to primary Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and any Senate Republicans who vote with him.

In a Monday post to Truth Social, a barely moderated Twitter clone for his extremist cult, the ex-president congratulated McCarthy on clinching the gavel — for which he has since taken credit — and laid into McConnell and other GOP Senators who voted to pass the $1.7 omnibus spending package late December in time to avert a partial government shutdown.

Central to Trump’s fury over the package’s passage is that it happened just before the GOP-controlled House of the 118th Congress convened, barring the GOP caucus, which would later strongarm veto power over McCarthy’s speakership, netting President Biden and the Democrats a political victory.

“We must now stop Mitch McConnell,” Trump wrote, the latest in the fusillade of attacks he has directed at the Minority Leader, who criticized him for provoking a mob of his supporters into storming the Capitol on January 6, 2021, to overturn the official certification of his loss.

“It’s as though he just doesn’t care anymore, he pushes through anything the Democrats want. The $1.7 TRILLION quickly approved Bill of the week before was HORRIBLE,” Trump said in his Truth Social post. “Zero for USA Border Security. If he waited just ten days, the now ‘United Republican Congress’ could have made it MUCH BETTER, or KILLED IT.”

Trump added, “Something is wrong with McConnell, and those Republican Senators that Vote with him. PRIMARY THEM ALL!!!”

The sprawling package comprised increased funding for the military; additional Ukraine aid; increased spending for college access, childcare, disaster aid, protections for pregnant workers, and more: a provision to repeal the 1887 Electoral Count Act, the 135-year old law that Trump and his attorneys tried to exploit to overturn Biden’s 2020 election triumph.

Eighteen GOP Senators — and later, nine House Republicans — some of whom are vocal critics of their counterparts across the aisle, voted with Democrats to pass the package, rebuffing a cascade of threats from prominent entities within the Republican Party.

Hours before the Senate passed the package, Trump attacked supposed “radical Democrats” for “[ramming] through this monstrosity in the dark of night” and accused McConnell of being “more of a Democrat than a Republican.”

In Monday’s Truth Social rant, Trump again referred to Elaine Chao, McConnell’s wife and his former transportation secretary, as “Coco Chow,” a racial slur.

"[Trump] is trying to get a rise out of us. He says all sorts of outrageous things, and I don't make a point of answering any one of them," Chao, who was born in Taiwan, said in December, according to Newsweek.


Bannon, Trump, Greene Blast 'Enemy' Republicans Over Spending Deal

Bannon, Trump, Greene Blast 'Enemy' Republicans Over Spending Deal

Ex-Trump adviser Steve Bannon hopped on his “War Room” podcast Wednesday to blast Republican lawmakers working with Democrats on a nearly $1.7 trillion spending package, which the Senate passed on Thursday with a bipartisan 68 - 29 vote.

Bannon joined other voices of the often-seething far-right falsely branding the omnibus package — which would stave off a partial government shutdown and fund federal agencies until September 2023 — a wishlist of Democrat pet projects and demanding a stay on all long-term spending until the GOP-led House of the 118th Congress is seated.

“You're giving Nancy Pelosi another year. Didn't the American people just vote on that?" Bannon demanded mid-rant. “Isn’t that what democracy is — we gave you a democracy, got 4 million more votes and flipped the House.”

As both Republicans and Democrats will struggle to deliver on promises in the next Congress — given its GOP House and Democratic Senate makeup — the hefty bill, which comprises $858 billion to fund the military and $772 billion in domestic spending, provided red and blue senators a last-ditch opportunity to push through their legislative priorities.

Also included in the bill, per the New York Times, are billions in aid to Ukraine, which wartime hero Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, appealed for in his surprise visit to Washington this week.

"It's not simply the spending, which is going to crush everybody," Bannon said, according to Newsweek. "It's about leverage.”

"Now we're sitting here, and this is just up in your face, and anyone who voted for this is your enemy politically," he added, taking aim at the Republican senators who worked on the bill.

So crucial was the spending package to Senate lawmakers, though, that even some Biden critics, including Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Todd Young (R-IN), voted in favor of the bill, incurring the wrath of far-right House Republicans and former president Trump.

The bipartisan support for the bill, which is on its way to House for approval and then to President Biden’s desk for his signature, unhinged the conspiratorial anti-Ukraine arm of the House GOP.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor “Jewish Space Lasers” Greene (R-GA) assailed the “TRAITORS” in Senate who voted to pass “omnimonster to send YOUR money to defend Ukraine’s border but NOT America’s border!”

In a video posted to Truth Social on Thursday, Trump lambasted “radical Democrats” for what he said was an ill-intended crusade to “ram through this monstrosity in the dark of night when no one has even had a chance to read its over 4,000 pages,” reported the Hill.

“Every single Republican should vote no on the ludicrous, unacceptable $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill. It’s a disaster for our country, and it also happens to be a disaster for the Republican Party because they could stop it,” the coup-plotting ex-president declared in the video.

Trump alleged that the bill was “crammed with left-wing disasters” and “Washington betrayals” and accused Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) of being “more of a Democrat than a Republican.”


As America Mourns Gun Victims, Republicans Block Domestic T​​error Bill

As America Mourns Gun Victims, Republicans Block Domestic T​​error Bill

Washington (AFP) - Republicans in the US Senate prevented action Thursday on a bill to address domestic terrorism in the wake of a racist massacre at a grocery store in upstate New York.

Democrats had been expecting defeat but were seeking to use the procedural vote to highlight Republican opposition to tougher gun control measures following a second massacre at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday.

There was no suggestion of any racial motive on the part of the gunman who shot dead 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

But the shock of the bloodshed, less than two weeks after the May 14 murders in Buffalo, New York, has catapulted America's gun violence crisis back to the top of the agenda in Washington.

"The bill is so important, because the mass shooting in Buffalo was an act of domestic terrorism. We need to call it what it is: domestic terrorism," Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer said ahead of the vote.

The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act would have created units inside the FBI and Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to combat domestic terror threats, with a focus on white supremacy.

A task force that includes Pentagon officials would also have been launched "to combat white supremacist infiltration of the uniformed services and federal law enforcement."

Schumer had urged Republicans Wednesday to allow the chamber to start debate on the bill, offering to accommodate Republican provisions to "harden" schools in the wake of the Texas murders.

Just ahead of the vote, Schumer said he had wept while studying pictures of the young victims, calling the state's pro-gun governor, Greg Abbott, "an absolute fraud."

Abbott has made efforts to loosen gun restrictions in Texas, including signing into law a measure last year authorizing residents to carry handguns without licenses or training.

The domestic terrorism bill's 207 co-sponsors included three moderate Republicans in the House.

But there was not enough support in the evenly split 100-member Senate to overcome the Republican filibuster -- the 60-vote threshold required to allow debate to go forward.

Republicans say there are already laws on the books targeting white supremacists and other domestic terrorists, and have accused Democrats of politicizing the Buffalo massacre, in which 10 Black people died.

They have also argued that the legislation could be abused to go after political opponents of the party in power.

Democrats are looking for Republicans to support a separate gun control bill, and said Wednesday they would work over the coming days to see if they could find common ground with enough opposition senators to circumvent a filibuster.

"Make no mistake about it, if these negotiations do not bear fruit in a short period of time, the Senate will vote on gun safety legislation," Schumer said