Republican leader Mitch McConnell is literally filibustering the Senate organizing resolution in order to preserve the filibuster and selling his actions to the public with a “unity” argument. In other words, Democrats have to prove they’re trying to unify the country by allowing Republicans to veto everything President Joe Biden wants to accomplish. The truly remarkable and horrifying part of it is that the Washington press is letting him get away with it by calling it “gridlock.”
The Senate, Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim write, has “ground to a halt, with Democrats and Republicans unable to agree on even basic rules for how the evenly divided body should operate.” It is “gridlock [that] could imperil Biden’s entire early presidency, making it impossible for him to deliver on key promises as he contends with dueling crises.” Nice passive voice there, huh, as if “gridlock” was a sentient actor in the game and not McConnell once again ignoring all the norms—like previous agreements for 50-50 split Senates—and playing them like a fucking fiddle. It’s as embarrassing for them as it is predictable. (Though not all WaPo writers. Here’s Greg Sargent: “McConnell has calculated that the press will place the onus of achieving bipartisan cooperation on President Biden, while allowing Republicans to cast their own withholding of bipartisan cooperation as proof of Biden’s failure to achieve it.”)
At issue is the first thing a new Congress does every two years. At the beginning of a new Congress, the House passes the set of rules that it will operate under, and the Senate passes an organizing resolution. That resolution sets the committee makeup and leadership. It gives the newly elected and reelected members their committee assignments. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wants the Senate to adopt the resolution the body used the last time it was split 50-50 in 2001, with whatever minor modifications it might need for 2021. McConnell is refusing, insisting that Democrats will have to agree to preserving the filibuster and his easy ability to block any Biden legislative agenda for him to sign on. This is McConnell telling Schumer and everyone else that he has no intention of advancing that agenda. Simple as that. It’s not about unity. It’s not about bipartisanship. It’s not about the norms and traditions of the Senate. It’s vintage McConnell refusing to allow a Democratic majority to govern. Again.
How many times has the nation collectively lived through this in the last decade? And still we get this paragraph: “‘Republicans very much appreciate the consistency and the rock-solid fidelity to the norms and rules that make the Senate a moderating force in policymaking,’ said Scott Jennings, a former McConnell aide. ‘The legislative filibuster is the last rule driving bipartisanship in Washington.'” They printed that. As if it were anything other than another McConnell person trolling them, knowing they would put that statement down in black and white.
This isn’t a political game. This is McConnell the white supremacist and obstructionist once again seizing the highest-stake hostage he can find in hopes of regaining his majority in 2022. There is nothing out of bounds for McConnell—threatening to let the nation go into default and ruining the global economy, the Supreme Court, and now the economic and physical health of the entire nation in a global pandemic.
He’s refusing to let Biden form a working government by refusing to allow the Senate to organize into the committees that will process Biden’s nominations. He’s preventing the Senate from moving forward on vital legislation that will help us climb out of the massive hole he and Trump put us in by sabotaging the COVID-19 response.
It’s not “gridlock as usual.” It’s McConnell blowing things to smithereens. As usual. And he’s getting away with it. As usual, because the Washington press corps is lazy and unimaginative and doesn’t want to contradict the narrative that they’ve bought into and sold to the nation.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.