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McConnell: Come to think of it, maybe we shouldn't recess until we get health care done
As Rob told us yesterday, it was Ted Cruz who first said publicly what a travesty it would be to go into recess without repealing ObamaCare first. Cruz is a result-oriented kind of guy. Mitch McConnell is a "traditions of the Senate" kind of guy, and the Senate takes a summer recess no matter what.
Or it did, until the heat from Cruz and others got a little too hot. Suddenly McConnell has had a chance of heart, although he's putting most of the blame on obstructionist Democrats for preventing the GOP from getting much done:
McConnell's criticisms of the Democrats are more than fair. The Wall Street Journal detailed yesterday just how ridiculous this has become:
Democratic obstruction against nominees is nearly total, most notably including a demand for cloture filings for every nominee—no matter how minor the position. This means a two-day waiting period and then another 30 hours of debate. The 30-hour rule means Mr. Trump might not be able to fill all of those 400 positions in four years. The cloture rule also allows the minority to halt other business during the 30-hour debate period, which helps slow the GOP policy and oversight agenda.
Democrats have also refused to return a single “blue slip” to the Judiciary Committee, which has the effect of blocking consideration of judicial nominees from their home states. Senators like Minnesota’s Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar are holding hostage the eminently qualified Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals for no reason other than politics.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s troops are even invoking an obscure rule that prohibits committees from doing business more than two hours after the Senate opens for the day. Republicans have had to cancel briefings on national security and Russia electoral interference, as well as scrap a markup of two human-trafficking bills.
The Democrats have absolutely taken abuse of the rules to new lows this year, but Democrats gonna Democrat. The Republican majority could change the rules if it wanted to, and if McConnell and his colleagues are not willing to do that then it's hard to sympathize with them when they stand around and complain that Chuck Schumer won't let them get their work done.
And the fact of the matter is that, on health care, Democrats are powerless to stop Republicans from repealing ObamaCare. That can be done via reconciliation via a simple majority, so the problem in the Senate is that Republicans cannot agree amongst themselves what to do. It would have been legislative malpractice to recess when a consensus on replacing ObamaCare still hasn't been reached, and it doesn't say much for Mitch McConnell that he needed others to tell him this.
Until Republicans repeal and replace ObamaCare, they shouldn't be taking time off for the summer, for Thanksgiving, for Christmas, for the Super Bowl, for Spring Training . . .
Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!