This past week the media hyped up the looming “government shutdown.” Many of the news outlets had a countdown clock on their networks throughout the day on Friday. It was almost as if they wanted it to happen.
Why would the government shut down? The simple answer is because our inept leaders in Washington don’t know how to pass a budget. The more complex answer is that Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continually relies on Democrats to pass legislation. Rather than relying on a simple majority of Republicans to pass legislation Mitch McConnell prefers 60 votes in the Senate to pass any and all legislation. By relying on 60 votes, this means that McConnell needs 9 Democrats to vote for whatever bill Republicans want to pass. Our own Bryan Fischer wrote an excellent piece on this subject that I would encourage you to read.
Beyond Mitch McConnell’s failure to rally Republicans and pass a budget, he’s also blaming president Trump for not being clear enough on what he wants in order to pass an immigration reform package. According to the Washington Times McConnell said “I’m looking for something that President Trump supports and he has not indicated what measure he is willing to sign,” Mr. McConnell told reporters, saying they can move to a bill “As soon as we figure out what he is for.”
What the Senate Majority Leader will not tell you is that President Trump has already laid out what he would support. The White House released a seven-page memo outlining in extensive detail what the president would support when it comes to immigration legislation. The reason the majority leader fails to recognize this is because he and fellow senators don’t like the president’s plan to secure our border and build a wall. How many times have you heard Senator McConnell or any of his colleagues say we need to build a wall? They haven’t and that’s because they don’t fundamentally believe in the president’s agenda.
Unfortunately, Senator McConnell isn’t up for re-election until 2020. But, don’t lose heart. Other options are still on the table. One option is that McConnell could be forced to go along with the Trump agenda. This would require him leading his Republican colleagues to end the 60 vote threshold and lower it to 51 for all legislation. This would give conservative legislation a chance to pass in the Senate. Another option is to force McConnell to retire early by urging the Senate to choose a better leader. This effort has been underway for a couple of years without success. If all else fail, Kentucky voters can primary him in 2020.
McConnell is not alone in his ineptitude. His leadership team, which consists of Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, Conference Chairman John Thune of South Dakota, Policy Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming and Conference Vice Chairman Roy Blunt of Missouri, is equally responsible for the lack of success in the Senate.
Until these leaders decide to resign or change their ways, Washington will remain at a standstill with little progress on legislation or nominee confirmations.