Analysis: Democrats attempt the near-impossible: Shaming Mitch McConnell

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But Democrats would be wise not to confuse McConnell with someone who cares about such pressure or may be embarrassed to turn his card because his current stance conflicts with past positions.

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“The majority does not need our votes,” McConnell said on Monday.

“I suggest our allies move on,” he said, further cementing his reputation for granite-like immobility after he settled on a political strategy.

Technically, McConnell may be right. In a last resort, Democrats may use a time-consuming and complicated maneuver known as conciliation to expand the government’s borrowing authority. But Kentuckian’s actions set another brutal precedent that would further polarize the business of governance and make the important task of maintaining a stable economy even more political and wasteful in the years to come.
The latest debt-ceiling showdown is the most recent example of how shrewd Kentucky senators are willing to crush governing norms and conventions to advance their political goals, thanks to their extraordinarily coarse disguise that is an undeniable political asset. Just because Democrats joined the GOP in raising the debt limit when Republicans are in the majority, doesn’t mean the situation will be reversed now.
And given McConnell’s habit of making narrow, partisan political calculations, there’s no reason for him to change now. His mastery of the Senate process and politics of obstruction and bigotry have helped him in the past to try and seize power, stifling the goals of Democratic presidents and majority leaders when the GOP slips into a minority. And his ability to shield his senators from tough votes earns him his loyalty — a reason why reports of former President Donald Trump’s clumsy attempts to oust him are far less likely to succeed.

McConnell’s approach works

McConnell’s critics often argue that he is compromising Senate practice, the Constitution, or American national interests for his naked partisan purposes. But don’t expect him to be shaken by such claims. Eventually, his approach built a generationally conservative majority on the Supreme Court and made him one of the most prominent political figures in Washington in decades.

The kind of stiff resistance to political heat McConnell is displaying in the current showdown recalls his stubborn persistence in giving former President Barack Obama the chance to fill an open Supreme Court seat in 2016.

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As Obama complained that it has historically “not been seen as a question” that Supreme Court candidates will get the vote, then-Senate Majority Leader McConnell refused to even hear his pick, Merrick Garland. did, claiming that the constitutional requirements governing the Supreme Court had suspended selection in the last year of administration. But when Liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died weeks before the last election in 2020, McConnell accepted an exception to her own rule to give the seat to Trump nominee Amy Connie Barrett. An extraordinary stream of outrage from liberals about the inconsistency and hypocrisy in the game didn’t move McConnell an inch. His legacy is preserved in the marble pillared Supreme Court room.

In another example of McConnell’s desire to put the pursuit of power before theory, he strongly condemned Trump for inciting the Capitol rebellion and invasion by his beloved Senate mob. His comments sparked speculation that he might eventually let Trump loose and bury the former president’s hopes of reviving a political career that complicates McConnell’s own.

But when the political justification—and hope of winning the Senate back in 2022—was needed to avoid alienating Trump’s base voters, he voted against convicting Trump in his impeachment trial.

In demeanor, intelligence and temperament, McConnell could hardly be more different from Trump. But his willingness to compromise constitutional principles for power is in line with a Republican party that has shown in recent years that its aggressive hunt for dominance in Washington knows no bounds.

holding the economy hostage

There is a strong objective case that Republicans standing behind Senator McConnell on the debt limit are the least fraudulent and, as Biden said Monday, Russians are playing roulette with the American economy.

But the nuances and truth are easily hidden in the sloganeering and partisan media on such a complex issue. The GOP wants to trick the country into believing that Democrats are spending it in bankruptcy and are single-handedly responsible for racking up a national debt that now sits at nearly $29 trillion.

McConnell wants to force Democrats to use reconciliation to raise the debt limit on their own without Republican votes because it would complicate the already treacherous task of passing Biden’s $3.5 trillion social spending plan, which critical to the success of his presidency. Republicans aren’t even trying to hide what they’re doing—namely, to take hold of the economy and dent the Democratic agenda for the well-being of millions of Americans.

John Cornyn, a member of the GOP leadership, said, “We have no reason to help facilitate poor policy that we disagree with, and so they have little time to pass the debt threshold through reconciliation.” Seems like.” , told Granthshala’s Manu Raju on Monday.

Republicans’ argument, however, that the debt limit needs to be raised to pay for Biden’s program is wrong. It would also need to be expanded to pay for existing obligations incurred by Congress without any further government spending. Democrats claim their current plans will be paid for by tax increases on corporations and the wealthy have yet to be independently tested.

Not only are GOP senators refusing to offer any votes to raise the borrowing limit, they are committed to using the Senate filibuster so Democrats can accomplish this quickly and easily by a 50-50 Senate majority. Can not – an openly hypocritical move.

McConnell has used minority Democratic votes in previous bipartisan budget deals to share the pain of lifting debt limits. But he is now forgotten by the minority leader, as has his previous statement that America should refrain from playing the game with credit.

For example, lauding a bipartisan budget deal in 2019 that also raised the debt ceiling, McConnell, then majority leader, said the measure “secures the full confidence and credit of our nation and This ensures that Congress will not throw such unnecessary gulf. Job growth and the gears of a thriving economy.”

Why loan limit should be increased

If the borrowing limit is not raised by the middle of the month, Washington will not be able to pay its bills.
The army could go without pay. The Social Security check will dry up. Mortgages, car loans and credit card bills will be more expensive. Millions of Americans could lose their jobs and the pandemic would be over. Since the stability of the US debt is the cornerstone of the global economy, a default by Washington could put the rest of the world in jeopardy.

But in the narrow count of the Senate minority leader, it would all be Biden’s fault — and likely further injure an already faltering presidency. And in the end, McConnell is probably calculating that Democrats will never let it go that far and compromise their own goals given the devastating impact of the loan default.

Still, given McConnell’s well-earned reputation for being impervious to political shame and pressure, Senate Democrats must face the question of why he waited so long to act. Playing chicken with a Kentucky senator is usually a losing proposition.

It appears that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is himself trying to play a McConnell-style game to upset Republicans with intense pressure to act to avert the disaster. The question now is whether the New York senator will allow the economy to go off the cliff to see if his bet that the GOP will pay a price is correct.

Schumer said Monday that it was imperative to get a bill raising the debt ceiling on Biden’s table by the end of the week — and he is arranging a vote on a bill already passed by the House that would do so.

“We’re not asking Republicans to support it when it comes time for the vote,” Schumer said. We just say get out of the way because Democrats pass it on their own.

But with the certainty that Republicans will not play ball, the bill will fall short of a filibuster-proof majority of 60 votes – and further shake markets and observers watching America with alarm from abroad.

And finally, since McConnell has taken over both the White House and both houses of Congress, Democrats have an institutional responsibility to act—even if, as always, the Senate minority leader appears to be an incumbent.


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