Mitch McConnell

Selecting the next Justice: the McConnell factor

Featured image The word today, for what it’s worth, is that President Trump is still undecided about whom to nominate to the Supreme Court, and that four judges are in the running. The candidates are said to be Raymond Kethledge, Brett Kavanaugh, Thomas Hardiman, and Amy Coney Barrett. Hardiman, by the way, was said to be Trump’s second choice when he nominated Neal Gorsuch. He served with the president’s sister on the »

How the Democrats will try to get recess back

Featured image Earlier this week, Majority Leader McConnell cancelled most of the Senate’s August recess. He did so in response to the unprecedented obstruction of Senate Democrats in blocking floor votes on President Trump’s nominees. The cancellation hurts Democrats, and not just because it’s a blow against their obstruction. There are more vulnerable Democrats than vulnerable Republicans up for reelection this year. The lack of a month-long recess will keep them off »

Recess is canceled!

Featured image Canceling recess was a common punishment for bad behavior when I was in elementary school. I’m happy to report that Majority Leader McConnell says he’ll punish the bad behavior of Democrats by canceling most of the Senate’s August recess. Here is McConnell’s statement: Due to the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president’s nominees, and the goal of passing appropriations bills prior to the end of the fiscal year, »

“The long game,” a postscript

Featured image A few days ago, I discussed the sickening delay in getting a floor vote for key Department of Justice nominees. I blamed Sen. Cory “Weed” Gardner, obstructionist Senate Democrats, and, to a lesser degree, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the delay. In McConnell’s case, the problem, I argued, is that he’s not making the Senate work enough. To be fair, though, some GOP Senators apparently don’t want to work hard »

A long game that’s taking too long

Featured image In a column called “Mitch McConnell is winning the long game,” George Will praises the Majority Leader. And not without justification. Though McConnell is sometimes criticized by conservatives for lack of legislative successes, Senate Republicans have accomplished quite a bit under his leadership, notwithstanding the slimness of their majority. Will quotes McConnell’s recitation of the major accomplishments during the past 18 months: The largest tax reduction in 31 years has »

Grounds for optimism on the confirmation front? I’m not convinced

Featured image Some of us have been clamoring for Mitch McConnell to take special measures to break the logjam on Senate confirmation of Trump nominees for the judiciary and key sub-cabinet positions. One such measure would be to limit the number of hours nominees can be debated on the Senate floor, as the Senate agreed to do when Obama nominees were waiting their turn. Another would be to have the Senate work »

How to counter Democratic obstruction of Trump nominees

Featured image Senate Democrats are holding up President Trump’s nominees to a degree never witnessed before in my lifetime, and probably not in all of American history. In the first two years of the last six presidencies combined, going all the way back to President Carter, the Senate subjected nominees to a total of only 24 cloture votes. So far, less than half way through President Trump’s second year, there have been »

Has McConnell finally had enough of Democratic obstruction?

Featured image Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has finally displayed a sense of urgency in getting President Trump’s nominees confirmed. Earlier this week, he warned Senate Democrats that, if necessary, he would force senators to remain in session on Friday and possibly during the weekend to confirm a slate of six Trump nominees. The slate includes a nominee for a seat on the National Labor Relations Board, for the number two job at »

The gap at DOJ

Featured image Rachel Brand, the third highest ranking official in the Justice Department has resigned. She will become Walmart’s “Executive Vice President, Global Governance and Corporate Secretary.” With Brand’s departure, here is what the top echelon of the Department of Justice looks like: Attorney General – Jeff Sessions Deputy Attorney General – Rod Rosenstein Associate Attorney General – vacant Solicitor General – Noel Francisco Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division – vacant, nomination »

McConnell puts big government freight train back on track

Featured image Skepticism is always in order on the substance of any agreement between Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats, especially if the subject is spending. When it comes to the spending deal Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer reached, skepticism should probably give way to alarm. The deal raises spending caps on discretionary spending by nearly $300 billion over two years. According to Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, this means »

The Deal, Take Three

Featured image My first take on the deal that ended the brief partial government shutdown was that Chuck Schumer caved and the deal was a big win for Republicans. My second take was that my first take might be wrong — that the Democrats may have received more than they are getting credit for, and may be able to parlay what they got into a win, or at least a draw, down »

Did the GOP really win the shutdown showdown?

Featured image My initial reaction to the deal that ended the partial government shutdown was that Chuck Schumer caved and that the deal was a big win for Republicans. That’s the conventional view shared by, to name just a few, Brit Hume, Marc Thiessen, and Ben Shapiro . However, I’m no longer sure this was a true victory for Republicans, at least those of the conservative variety. The Democrats may have received »

The wages of injudicious insurgency

Featured image Last month, President Trump and Senate Majority Leader McConnell got together at the White House. According to reports, they discussed, among other things, Steve Bannon’s threat to back insurgent candidates in an effort to defeat numerous GOP Senators in primaries. I thought that, from McConnell’s perspective, convincing Trump not to support this effort was the primary purpose of the lunch. McConnell reminded Trump about past insurgent primary winners who went »

What Will Mitch McConnell Do About the Democrats’ Disgraceful Senate Blockade?

Featured image Despite being in office for nearly a year, President Trump has been unable to staff his administration. In the early days, he was slow to make nominations–not surprisingly, given that he wasn’t surrounded by a cadre of former officials and government hangers-on. But that is no longer true. Now, the problem is that Senate Democrats are stalling Trump’s nominees. In one agency after another, they are carrying obstructionism to unprecedented »

McConnell’s “confirmation frenzy”

Featured image Senate Majority Leader McConnell today filed cloture motions to advance the confirmation of four of President Trump’s court of appeals nominees. The nominees are Allison Eid (10th Circuit); Stephanos Bibas (3rd Circuit); Joan Larsen (6th Circuit); and Amy Coney Barrett (7th Circuit). Eid and Larsen were on the list of potential Supreme Court nominees then-candidate Trump came up with during the campaign. Barrett is the nominee attacked by Democrats as »

Trump and McConnell hang out

Featured image President Trump met with Senate Majority Leader McConnell today. Then, they held a lengthy joint press conference. The transcript is here. White House officials described the lunch as focused mainly on efforts to cut taxes. Reportedly, Trump and McConnell also discussed Steve Bannon’s threat to back insurgent candidates in an effort to defeat numerous GOP Senators in primaries. It’s likely that convincing Trump not to support this effort was the »

Goodbye, blue slips!?

Featured image In news of interest to those of us who have been following the judicial confirmation wars in the Senate in general and in the matter of the nomination of Justice David Stras to the Eighth Circuit in particular, Fred Barnes reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken the reins, whipped the horse and expedited matters. Fred supplies this bill of particulars (the first of which I have slightly »