Senate Republicans responded with threats and tantrums after Democrats blocked the defense spending bill for a third time by a vote of 51-44.
After Democrats had blocked the defense spending bill for the third time, Sen. Lamar Alexander threw a fit and threatened the other side of the aisle, “I’m saying don’t go there because you’re going to set in motion an irreversible course in this Senate, and I’m going to lead it. We have the majority and you don’t. So if you want to play that kind of game, we can play that game too.”
Senate Republicans who have repeatedly broken their word over the years are now outraged that their Democratic colleagues do not trust them.
In a statement, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), “For the third time this year, Senate Democrats have blocked vital legislation to give the men and women in our military the funding they need to defend the nation. Even after a bipartisan budget deal was passed and signed, Senate Democrats still can’t say yes to our troops. It seems Senate Democrats always find an excuse not to support funding our national defense. There is always some negotiating stance to defend, some procedural quibble to make, some domestic spending priority that is more important. Senate Democrats’ treatment of our national defense as little more than political leverage has become disturbingly routine, and it’s a shameful departure from the bipartisan tradition of providing for the common defense.”
The problem is that it isn’t a procedural quibble as McCain suggested. The issue is whether or not Republicans can be trusted to keep their end of the deal. Senate Democrats are concerned that if the pass the defense spending bill, Republicans will try to weasel out of the domestic spending increases that they have agreed to.
Democrats have decided to allow a bill that funds veterans programs to come to the floor for a vote, but that is because the spending bill is evenly divided between domestic and military spending.
The shoe is now firmly on the other foot and Senate Republicans aren’t liking watching all of their pet legislation get blocked. The difference between what the Democrats are doing, and what Mitch McConnell did while in the minority is that Democrats aren’t blocking Republican bills for no reason.
Democrats should be concerned that Republicans will be pressured and tempted to go back on their word after they get what they want. Senate Democrats are trying to keep Republicans honest by not giving them what they want until they have kept their word.
Majority Leader McConnell has not proven that he can be trusted, so it is smart for Democrats use their power to keep the GOP majority in check.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association