Connect with us

NEWS

Mitch McConnell Doesn’t Care About The Shutdown — He’s Getting Paid

As the federal government shutdown enters its 20th day, the effects are beginning to pile up and the human toll coming into sharper focus. Toilets in national parks are overflowing without anyone to clean them, the food stamp program will soon run out of funds, tax refunds may go unpaid, and some civil courts could have to stop functioning as they run out of money.

Trump has manufactured a crisis out of thin air by refusing to relent on his demand for $5 billion to fund an unnecessary border wall and threatening that the shutdown could last years if he doesn’t get his way.

But worst of all: Around 800,000 federal workers are either not working or working without pay, and many of them are worried about paying their own bills. Of course, McConnel doesn’t care. He’s taking a salary during the shutdown as federal workers suffer the consequences of his irresponsible actions.

However, even if it feels like Trump is holding the government hostage to get his wall, he can’t do it alone—Republicans, and in particular Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, could restore what passes for normality in this era any time they wanted to.

Make no mistake. The US has weathered government shutdowns before, but the circumstances of this one are particularly embarrassing.

The embarrassing part is the new Democratic House passed two non-wall spending bill last week, but Mitch McConnell on Thursday blocked the vote on the measures that would reopen the federal government, calling the Democrats’ bills “political theater.”

“The Senate will not take up any proposal that does not have a real chance of passing this chamber and getting a presidential signature. Let’s not waste the time,” McConnell said before blocking the vote.

This is a blatant dishonest bit of positioning, even by McConnell’s low standards. Trump could, of course, veto any spending bill passed by Congress, but a two-thirds majority could override his veto and end this stalemate. The only thing that’s required is a bit of courage on the part of Republicans.

When Democrats took back control of the House, McConnell wrote an op-ed praising bipartisanship and promising that Senate Republicans “will continue our commitment to delivering results.” Unsurprisingly, a man who has made his career being one of the most committed and ruthless partisan operators Washington has ever seen has not exactly lived by those words.

And the public isn’t happy. Initial polls found the public blamed Trump and Republicans for the shutdown. Trump may not care if large swathes of the country hate him—so what else is new?—but Republicans who aren’t attached to his wall in the first place likely don’t love seeing their own numbers tanking because of the impasse.

Given that dynamic, it’s clear why McConnell wouldn’t want to bring any wall-free spending bills to the Senate floor—that would force Republicans to choose between keeping the government closed or angering Trump by voting against him.

But the alternative path that McConnell has evidently chosen is to embrace rank partisanship by holding Trump’s line and forcing some government employees to work without pay in support of a wall most Americans don’t even want.

When Democrats took back control of the House, McConnell wrote an op-ed praising bipartisanship and promising that Senate Republicans “will continue our commitment to delivering results.” Unsurprisingly, a man who has made his career being one of the most committed and ruthless partisan operators Washington has ever seen has not exactly lived by those words.

McConnell has a chance here to work with Democrats to deliver results and do real good by solving all the problems created by the shutdown. Instead, he’s doing the exact opposite, stalling a vote to demonstrate total fealty to the president and his wall, damaging the lives of real people in the service of political posturing.


Don't miss the latest Political Digs. Sign up for our daily email:


Click to comment
Advertisement
Advertisement

More in NEWS