Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s future life is going to be sheer hell, and he’s going to do his damnedest to share that hell with the nation, starting with the threat to keep the Senate in session between Christmas and New Year’s.
His own conference, along with Individual 1 and son-in-law Jared Kushner, have forced him into having a vote on a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill that he’s been fighting for months. Because the bill is bipartisan, some of the most rabid (looking at you, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton) in his conference are opposed to it, and so far McConnell has sided with them. On the other side is Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Judiciary Committee who says McConnell owes him this vote because of all the judicial nominees he’s shoved through. “I think I’ve delivered pretty well, more judges than any previous president has gotten in their first two years, two new Supreme Court justices,” said Grassley, so “maybe I should have some consideration for that.”
McConnell says they may have to do this bill in the week after Christmas and before the new Congress is sworn in because there’s so much to be done between now and then. They have Trump’s shutdown to figure out, along with the farm bill, a resolution condemning Saudi Arabia and demanding the U.S. withdraw support for the war in Yemen, and a bipartisan push to pass legislation protecting the Mueller investigation.
This could all go in the must-pass spending bill that prevents a government shutdown. Except that Cotton insists he’ll force a shutdown if McConnell tries to put the criminal justice reform bill in it. The shutdown ship, however, has pretty much sailed with Trump at the helm. Getting any leverage for anything they want to happen or not happen legislatively by threatening a government shutdown has been made utterly meaningless by Trump.
To make matters worse for McConnell, he’s getting absolutely no help from nominal House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has totally checked out for the short duration of his remaining tenure. He may as well go back to Wisconsin.
The only thing that could be better is if Robert Mueller turned his attention to McConnell to find out just why he was so adamant about covering up Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Meanwhile, let’s just enjoy the hell he’s in now.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.