Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spent years filibustering Democrats when he was in the minority, but as Majority Leader, McConnell is begging Democrats not to filibuster the Iran deal resolution of disapproval.
On the Senate floor, McConnell said, “The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act passed the Senate by a vote of 98-1 earlier this year. It provided each of us with the opportunity to truly represent our constituents on this important issue. I expect that every senator who voted for that measure is now entitled to an up-or-down vote. Not a filibuster or artificial limits on passage, but an important vote on this resolution. The Senate should not hide behind procedural obfuscation to shield the president or our individual views.”
Mitch McConnell offered an entirely different take when he filibustered his own bill in 2012:
“What we have is here a case of Republicans not taking yes for an answer… The Republican leader objects to his own idea,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) announced on the floor. “So I guess we have a filibuster of his own bill.”
This left McConnell sputtering that he didn’t want the vote, and he suggested that he now presumes every single bill needs a filibuster-proof majority to pass instead of a straight up and down vote. “What we’re talking about here is a perpetual debt ceiling grant, in effect, to the president, ” McConnell said. “Matters of this level of controversy always require 60 votes.”
When Mitch McConnell is in the minority, filibusters are good. When McConnell is in the majority filibusters are bad.
McConnell’s complaints are hypocritical for another reason. He agreed to the 60 vote threshold for resolution of disapproval. Republicans were so confident that they could get the votes that they agreed that the resolution would not be passed by a majority vote.
Mitch McConnell is complaining about a process that he negotiated and signed off on.
For years, Mitch McConnell obstructed nearly every piece of legislation that came to the Senate floor. After Republicans became the majority party, Democrats have chosen to use their power more carefully. Senate Democrats have not gone tit for tat with McConnell, but they have turned the tables and paid him back in the most painful way possible.
Democrats have refused to let any piece of the Republican agenda that they object to pass. While McConnell gummed up the Senate as a matter of strategy, Democrats are stopping McConnell based on policy.
The roles have been reversed, and Mitch McConnell is begging Democrats to play nice. It all could have been so different if the Majority Leader had not chosen to burn every bridge.
Mitch McConnell has made his bed of failure. Now he must lie in it.