“18 more months of chaos and the inability to get stuff done” — goal of the GOP as described by Rep. Chip Roy, R-TX.
Well, Roy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., should not have any problem accomplishing that stated goal between now and November 2022. There’s only one thing that Congress has proven good at, time and time again, and that is not getting anything at all accomplished. And Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., are helping with that mission, whether they will admit it or not.
Much of the problem lies in the Senate’s internal rule, which could simply be done away with by the majority of senators, called the filibuster. But even more of the disfunction comes from the fact that each of the parties is so self-interested and hard core in their beliefs that they refuse to compromise or to even make an attempt to play fair with one another.
As one example of the lack of honesty and ethics in congressional leadership, take McConnell’s obsession with remaking the Supreme Court — and the courts in general. He held up court appointees throughout Barack Obama’s two terms. When Obama nominated well-qualified moderate Merrick Garland in early 2016, there was almost a year left before Obama’s final term was up. However, McConnell then stated that the Senate should under no circumstances ever approve any Supreme Court judge in an election year.
Yet, McConnell had the audacity to say that his 2016 “rule” did not matter when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suddenly passed away in 2020. He unashamedly pushed through the Amy Coney Barrett nomination made by Trump anyway, only weeks before the November presidential election.
These GOP shenanigans have created a 6-to-3 conservative majority on the court, with all of these conservatives appointed by GOP presidents. This happened despite the fact that the Republicans have hardly ever won the popular vote for president in the past few decades (Note: In 2000, George W. Bush lost the popular vote, as did Trump in 2016). So much for U.S. “democracy” reflecting the will of the American people regarding either the executive or judicial branches of government.
And don’t even whisper anything about expanding the number of Supreme Court justices. Sens. Manchin and Sinema would never go along with that modification, although they did not seem to worry much about McConnell changing the rules of the game when it suited him to get a right-wing SCOTUS majority that will be with us for decades to come.
McConnell also managed to stall virtually all of Obama’s agenda during both of his terms. That forced Obama to unilaterally make executive orders, which, in itself, is a highly questionable practice, but, from his standpoint, he saw no other choice.
We are again facing the same situation. McConnell and the GOP talk a good game of bipartisanship, until it comes down to the actual vote. Then, any Republican support miraculously disappears. I suspect that this will be the case with the bipartisan infrastructure bill. At the very last minute, wily old Mitch will declare that the “XYZ provision” in the bill is a socialist plot to subvert the nation and is completely unacceptable to the GOP.
His position will prevail, regardless of what the well-intentioned, naïve Republican moderates who negotiated it think behind closed doors. That will give cover for enough GOP senators to desert the bill, leaving less than the 60 votes needed to overcome the filibuster.
Unless Democrat conservatives Manchin and Sinema will go along with a massive reconciliation bill (or a suspension of the filibuster), thus requiring only 51 positive votes to pass, I see little being accomplished over the next two years.
Then, the GOP will sweep the 2022 House and Senate races by stating that the Democrats got nothing done. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m certain I’m correct.