Tag Archive: Mitch McConnell

Why the end of the Trump Shutdown is good for Democrats

National Park closures during 2013 government shutdown

Today, Senate Democrats and Republicans agreed to end the federal government shutdown (known as the “Trump Shutdown”) and keep government running until February 8, by which time Congress hopes to vote on a new long-term spending bill. In return for their agreement, Democrats got a six-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that Congressional Republicans had let expire last September. Furthermore, the agreement includes a promise by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold a vote on codifying the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which Donald Trump ended last September. The agreement can be seen as a net win for Democrats, and they should portray it as such.

Suggestion for Democrats: gloves off, no cooperation with Republicans

Soft and fuzzy Democrats

Republicans in the U.S. Senate have waged at least a nine-year war against the Democrats. The first eight years included obstruction of President Barack Obama at every turn, as the GOP plotted on Obama’s inauguration night. This Republican obstruction culminated in the unprecedented move of refusing to hold a confirmation hearing and vote on President Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, even though the Republicans had 10 months to do so. Now that a Republican is in the White House, Donald Trump, GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and their partisan cohorts suddenly want the Democrats to bend in order to pass so-called “bipartisan” legislation that is written by Republicans, typically with no opportunity for Democratic input. The Democrats should not bend over and take this treatment. Instead, Democrats should fight, filibuster, and otherwise refuse to cooperate with Republicans every chance they get.

Republicans find out they have nowhere to hide

GOP Health Plan

On Monday night and Tuesday, the latest Republican Senate scheme to repeal the Affordable Care Act but not replace it for two years, went down in flames. Republican Senators including Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and Shelley Moore Capito came out against moving the plan forward in the Senate, effectively killing this version for now.

Republicans are learning a powerful lesson: the obstructionism that worked for them when they did not control all three branches of government does not work when they do.

Conference call with Senator Harry Reid on getting money out of politics

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Last night, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) held a conference call featuring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, about efforts to pass a Constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions which have flooded our elections with “dark money.” Also on the call were Rob Weissman of Public Citizen, Marge Baker, who is Executive Vice President of People for the American Way, Larry Cohen, the President of CWA, and Bob Master, CWA’s District 1 (Northeast) Political Director.

At CPAC, it’s all Republican culture war

Empty stage for empty suits at CPAC 2014

Empty stage for empty suits at CPAC 2014

Dispatches from the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) are coming in, and they’re not pretty. The CPAC conference is being held at the Gaylord Hotel (oh, the irony) in Maryland, and thus far has been a showcase for the Republican Party’s cultural symbols of God (love ‘im), Guns (love ’em) and Gays (hate ’em).

The Republicans’ ludicrous “negotiation” definition

Republicans have already revealed their strategy in the GOP shutdown: take America hostage by shutting down the federal government, and then criticize President Obama and Congressional Democrats for not “negotiating” major concessions, including defunding the Affordable Care Act, in return for Republicans reopening the government. Republicans skillfully repeat this word “negotiate,” but their definition of the term is absurdly narrow. In this context, Republicans only mean that President Obama should negotiate away popular Democratic principles and new laws while he has the GOP shutdown gun pointed at his head.

GOP caught putting party first during government shutdown

Republicans just got caught red-handed putting the interests of the Republican party over those of the country during their GOP government shutdown. First, as the video above indicates, Republican Senator Rand Paul was caught on a hot mic telling his colleague, GOP Senator Mitch McConnell:

I just did CNN and I just go over and over again, ‘we’re willing to compromise, we’re willing to negotiate.’ I don’t think they poll tested ‘we won’t negotiate,’ I think it’s awful for them to say that over and over again. … I think if we keep saying, ‘we wanted to defund it, we fought for that, but now we’re willing to compromise on this,’ we’re gonna win.

Then today, Republican Congressman Eric Cantor passed a memo to his colleagues urging a similar strategy to that expressed by Rand Paul, i.e., to say that President Obama and Democrats in Congress are “refusing to negotiate” during the GOP shutdown, and that Republicans are willing to negotiate. Cantor further urges his House colleagues to push for piecemeal bills to fund only parts of the federal government which are popular with the American people, such as reopening our national parks and funding veterans benefits.

Alas, the Republicans’ cynical strategy is now laid bare with evidence on video and on paper: take the United States hostage by shutting down the government, ask for ransom (defunding or delaying the Affordable Care Act that is the law of the land), then criticize Democrats for rightfully refusing to negotiate with the hostage takers. Are there any regular folks left in America who think the Republicans give a damn about them?

On Payroll Tax Cut, Democrats Find their Message

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Analysts on all sides of the political spectrum are calling the payroll tax cut extension a clear win for the Democrats and a significant political loss for the Republicans and their House Speaker, John Boehner. During the debate over extending the payroll tax cut, it appeared that Democrats finally hit their communications stride. For example, check out the above video featuring Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York, who appeared on December 22 on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” with host Ed Schultz. Here’s what Schumer, who appears at about 2:40, said:

  • “What they (the Republicans) have done this whole year is play brinksmanship and paralysis.”
  • “The American people have pretty good sniffers, and they’re beginning to smell that this Tea Party is extreme, and not really interested in what’s good for America…. They’re basically trying to paralyze government and get nothing done.”
  • “It is true that people are upset with government. But it’s not because it’s doing too much, it’s because it’s doing too little to help them.”
  • The Republicans’ flip-flop over the payroll tax cut, being against it before they were for it, “doesn’t pass the laugh test, and again, the American people sort of saw through that”.
  • “Since September, we (the Democrats) have done a lot better. Why? Well, we have focused on the economy, jobs, and income inequality.”
  • On tax policy, the Democrats “separated the middle class from the millionaires.”
  • “The American people are with us, not with the Republicans, on those issues” (jobs, the economy, and income inequality).

President Obama Gets the Message

President Barack Obama gave a stunning speech yesterday in front of the “functionally obsolete” Brent Spence Bridge connecting Ohio and Kentucky. The President’s speech touting his American Jobs Act marks a sharp turnaround from the cool, professorial, unemotional Barack Obama that America has become used to, and which many voters dislike. This time, as with his recent speeches to promote the American Jobs Act, Obama is doing almost everything right regarding effective political messaging: