What Has Mitch McConnell Actually Done?
For decades, McConnell’s obstructionist political instincts ensured law-making was dead on arrival in the United States Senate. Moscow Mitch appears on video proudly calling himself, “The Grim Reaper.”
So What Has Mitch McConnell Actually Done?
* Made the Senate a graveyard for U.S. House bills;
* vowed to block EPA rules on curbing carbon emissions by utilities and industry;
* became a leading opponent of campaign finance reform;
* blocked 9/11 healthcare legislation;
* blocked two election security bills;
* made big announcement he would never allow Medicare-For-All to come to a vote in “his Senate.”
Conveyor belt for nominations
In lieu of legislating, the chamber now keeps busy confirming nominations; McConnell has taken to saying that the Senate is in the “personnel business.”
That includes some high-profile positions, such as Supreme Court Justice, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt,
But mostly, they are district court judges and sub-secretary administration posts.
In the past, almost all of those nominations were uncontroversial enough to be bundled together and approved in a pro forma manner — largely because of procedural barriers that deterred more extreme picks. The “blue slip” tradition allowed senators to block nominee for positions in their home states. It took 60 votes to proceed to a confirmation vote, and floor debate on the nomination could then go on for 30 hours.
McConnell killed the blue slip tradition last session, and Democrats lowered the cloture rule to require a simple majority of 51 for most nominees during the Obama administration. A little over a month ago, Senate Republicans changed the debate limit from 30 hours to just two.
Since that change, “we have become a conveyor belt for these nominees,” Markey says. “Two hours of debate, and 51 votes. Two hours of debate, and 51 votes.”