Will Mitch McConnell work to obstruct President Biden’s agenda?
This appeared in The Millennial Source
Despite Democrats controlling the presidency and holding a majority in the House and Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote, McConnell’s opponents would be wise not to underestimate him.
Republican Senator Mitch McConnell spent the last six years as the majority leader in the United States Senate. In that time, stalemate and gridlock were a near constant on Capitol Hill. While Republicans were in control of the Senate throughout the Trump presidency, a number of popular legislation failed to win support, including a recent COVID-19 relief bill.
With Democrats now in control of the House, the presidency and the Senate, McConnell has shown early signs that he may be open to working with Democrats. However, some believe the Kentucky Republican may simply by biding time until he can consolidate power.
Trump’s second impeachment trial
Many analysts suggested that McConnell wanted to put distance between himself and former President Donald Trump following the attacks on the Capitol building on January 6. Democrats in the House quickly filed articles of impeachment against Trump, despite his leaving office before he could be tried in the Senate.
For one of the first times since Trump became president, McConnell put the blame for the Capitol attacks squarely on the shoulders of the president and his supporters.
“The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.”
This was a clear shift from actions McConnell had taken in the past, such as blocking resolutions condemning Trump after the president ordered police to clear away peaceful protesters so he could get a photo op in front of St. John’s Church near the White House.
Many believed McConnell’s patience for Trump had run out now that the president was leaving office and that he wanted to chart a post-Trump path forward for the Republican Party.
However, with a majority of Republicans backing Trump, McConnell retreated.
Congresswoman and avid QAnon follower Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted, “The vast majority of Republican voters, volunteers, and donors are no longer loyal to the GOP, Republican Party, and candidates just because they have an R by their name. Their loyalty now lies with Donald J Trump.”
On Tuesday, January 26, McConnell, along with 44 other Republicans, voted that Trump’s impeachment trial was unconstitutional. Though the vote failed, with 55 against, it largely signaled how Republicans would vote in the Senate impeachment trial.
Ending the filibuster
McConnell signaled he would be willing to work with Democrats while dropping his demand that Democrats maintain the filibuster. McConnell stated in a press release, “no Senate majority should destroy the right of future minorities of both parties to help shape legislation … With these assurances, I look forward to moving ahead with a power-sharing agreement modeled on that precedent.”
Many political analysts wondered if this was a sign that McConnell accepted a more limited role, with left-leaning political analysts like Rachel Maddow claiming that McConnell’s move was a sign that he was “folding.”
However, with a handful of moderate Democrats in the Senate, McConnell didn’t have to worry about losing the filibuster. Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin have both publicly stated that they will not support getting rid of the filibuster. Their commitment allowed McConnell to give the appearance of folding while knowing the filibuster was safe despite his loss of power.
Many see McConnell’s recent flip-flopping as more of the same from the senator.
“McConnell is not interested in working with the Democrats,” Dr. Omekongo Dibinga, professor of Intercultural Communication at American University told TMS. “He is the master of giving the façade of cooperation, but he is only interested in maintaining as much or as little power as possible … McConnell is not interested in working with the democrats. He is only interested in self-preservation.”
Despite Democrats controlling the presidency and holding a majority in the House and Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris ‘s tiebreaking vote, McConnell’s opponents would be wise not to underestimate him.
Getting President Joe Biden ‘s legislation passed through the Senate will likely require bipartisan support. Whether McConnell is willing to work with Democrats, though, remains to be seen.
Originally published at https://themilsource.com on February 1, 2021.