Mitch McConnell Caves To Chuck Schumer, Declares Flawless Victory!
Update on Mitch McConnell's latest little anti-democratic temper tantrum! He caved.
McConnell has been holding up fully transferring power to the Democrats in the Senate who won the majority, by refusing to agree with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on an organizing resolution on how power will be shared in a 50/50 Senate where Vice President Kamala Harris is the tie-breaking vote. In essence, he's been filibustering the organizing resolution in order to get Schumer to promise him Democrats won't get rid of the filibuster, thereby making a really good argument for why Democrats should get rid of the filibuster. The practical effect was that even though they lost, Republicans were still controlling the committees, new senators couldn't get their committee assignments, and so forth.
Last night, McConnell caved.
The timing was funny, too. Schumer was on Rachel Maddow as her guest for most of the hour, but the interview was pre-taped. And he had just explained how the Democrats weren't agreeing to McConnell's silly hostage demands, promising that if McConnell didn't get it together, the Democrats had ways of shutting his little tantrum down. Schumer didn't say out loud what they were, but we are pretty sure he was saying he would take the "nuclear option," which would have the practical effect of killing the filibuster dead.
As Maddow came out of that specific segment to go to commercial, she announced the breaking news that McConnell had caved.
No sooner has the portion of Rachel Maddow's interview with Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer aired than Mitch… https://t.co/tMygmXqAbI— Maddow Blog (@Maddow Blog)1611628282.0
From McConnell's statement:
"Today, two Democratic Senators publicly confirmed they will not vote to end the legislative filibuster," McConnell said in a statement. "They agree with President Biden's and my view that no Senate majority should destroy the right of future minorities of both parties to help shape legislation."
So now, having found the escape hatch he needed, McConnell is claiming he got what he needed, from a Democratic majority that could still blow up the filibuster next week if it wanted to.
And yes, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have said early and often that they're against getting rid of the filibuster. Indeed, Sinema says she's "not open to changing her mind," which means she's just doing a really good job of reading the room. (That was a rhetorical device called sarcasm.) But that didn't actually change last night. They're wrong, but for McConnell to pretend he was given some sort of new "assurances" is silly. That's been those two senators' position for a long-ass time. However, if McConnell continued to grandstand over this, we are pretty sure Schumer would have had his entire caucus (which has been extremely angry with McConnell) on his side for going nuclear.
And who knows? Maybe those two senators can be inveighed upon to change their minds. Maybe McConnell's next shitty moves might help convince Manchin and Sinema to get right with God.
So we'll call this a Schumer win. He certainly is:
"We're glad Senator McConnell threw in the towel and gave up on his ridiculous demand," Schumer spokesperson Justin Goodman said in a statement to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. "We look forward to organizing the Senate under Democratic control and start getting big, bold things done for the American people."
So now the rest of President Biden's nominees will get confirmed, they only need 50-plus-one to confirm judges, and they can get a hell of a lot of Biden's agenda accomplished through reconciliation. (Schumer had a lot of thoughts on judges last night, on the Maddow show.) Now Senate Democrats need to make sure that they play offense and win the messaging war on showing the American people what the hell the "filibuster" is and what McConnell and his Republicans are denying the American people by holding up Biden's legislation.
Haha, we just said Senate Democrats need to play offense and win a messaging war, we are silly today.
What needs to happen is that people need to stay on the asses of Democratic senators still reticent about nuking the filibuster. Some who haven't supported it in the past, who are not Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema, are having second thoughts:
"I feel pretty damn strongly, but I will also tell you this: I am here to get things done," said Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana. "If all that happens is filibuster after filibuster, roadblock after roadblock, then my opinion may change."
Fuck around and find out, is what we think he is saying. As the Times notes, Tester's needle already was moving when McConnell was holding up the organizing resolution:
"But if, in fact, Mitch is going put up roadblocks and filibuster the organizing resolution, then I think Schumer has to take it to the floor," Mr. Tester said.
Which would have been the nuclear option. And if Tester is saying these things out loud, who knows what Sinema and even Manchin might be saying behind closed doors?
Point is, that stupidass battle is over, unless McConnell comes up with some new stupidass demand to hold up the organizing resolution, and he might. Or he might not, and we'll have to have this fight again in a month.
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