Rand Paul Officially Worst Senator From Kentucky
Even during a global pandemic, Rand Paul is still Rand Paul. There's no cure for that. The Senate got off its ass Tuesday and prepared to vote on a coronavirus rescue package. Even Mitch McConnell said the Senate should move at “warp speed" to pass the spending package, which would fund free coronavirus testing, paid emergency leave, and enhanced unemployment insurance. That's just a start. Much more is needed, but people need help right now. And they're not getting it because Paul is a big weasel.
The legislation stalled last night because the Kentucky senator forced a vote on a stupid amendment. He loves to delay if not outright derail bills with BS amendments no one will vote for, so that he can even for a brief moment make everything all about him. Last year, he blocked unanimous consent on a 9/11 victims fund, and he briefly caused a five-hour government shut down in 2018. He was also the only “no" vote on the $8.3 billion coronavirus spending bill the Senate passed earlier this month. Paul will apparently continue to grandstand even during the last days of human civilization.
If you think for even a second that Paul is trying to force bigger and better items into the bill, you don't know Paul as well as his neighbor. His amendment reportedly would "require a social security number for purposes of the child tax credit, and to provide the President the authority to transfer funds as necessary, and to terminate United States military operations and reconstruction activities in Afghanistan."
We're confronting a public health crisis and economic catastrophe, but Paul is stuffing the bill with his usual libertarian pork products. He might as well add another amendment defunding Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Care Act. Last night, former Missouri Democratic senator Claire McCaskill expressed justifiable contempt for her former colleague.
MCCASKILL: Rand Paul wants to vote on ending the war in Afghanistan. It is so outrageous that Rand Paul is being allowed to hijack the Senate ... And a bill that will provide more [coronavirus] testing will languish for another day to get Rand Paul to behave like a grownup. It is not a good moment for the United States Senate. And it'll be interesting to see how the stimulus package that's being talked about is handled in the Senate, because they can't even do this, much less the giant package [Steven] Mnuchin rolled out today.
Everyone's having trouble adjusting to the “new normal," and Paul can't stop being an asshole overnight. Thinking about the greater, collective good is tough for someone who literally shares a name with Ayn Rand.
Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that many Republicans believe the House bill has “considerable shortcomings," but they still have to "gag" and vote for the damn thing. This ain't Tinder. You can't swipe left on the legislation until you find something that meets your approval.
MCCONNELL: My counsel to them is to gag and vote for it. We're able to rise above our normal partisanship and many times our normal positions because these are not ordinary times. This is not an ordinary time.
Well done, Rand Paul, you made Mitch McConnell sound like a statesman.
Paul's stupid amendment is expected to fail with extreme prejudice sometime today. When we're able to leave our houses again, we really need to focus on voting this guy out of the Senate.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).