Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy Reportedly Skipping Ceremony Honoring Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Mitch McConnell

Two of the most senior Republicans in Congress will not attend a ceremony at the Capitol today honoring the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, according to reporting from NBC.

NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent Kasie Hunt reported on Friday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was listed as not attending while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy won’t attend either. read more

Ruth Bader-Ginsburg Dead at 87

Ruth Bader-Ginsburg has been a Supreme Court Justice for the last 27 years. She was initially placed on the bench by Bill Clinton in 1993.

This death will likely allow Donald Trump to place one more Conservative Justice on the Supreme Court. Just weeks ago, Trump created a list of people that he may nominate. read more

Trump and Mitch McConnell Have Secret Meeting at the White House as Deadline for Stimulus Plan Looms

Trump - McConnell

Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell held an unscheduled meeting at the White House on Monday along with other senior Republicans. They were reportedly discussing the upcoming stimulus bill.

The Senate Majority Leader met with the President, according to CNN’s Manu Raju, who shared a photo on Twitter. Also in attendance were House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. read more

Opinion: Hateful GOP Belief That Americans Are Lazy Drives Resistance To Providing Coronavirus Relief

Trump - McConnell

Are the majority of Americans lazy and averse to work? Would they prefer not to work and to enjoy a free ride from the government?

How we answer this question, or how congressional leaders answer it, has a lot to do with what is really life-or-death legislation coming out of Washington, particularly with regards to COVID-19 relief packages. read more

Mitch McConnell Warns Democrats Not to “Vandalize” the Senate If They Win the Majority

Mitch McConnell has warned Democrats not to change any of the Senate’s rules if they win in November. He’s particularly concerned about maintaining the filibuster.

The Senate Majority Leader made the remarks on the Senate floor on Thursday as it has become more and more likely Republicans will be swept from office this year.

McConnell claimed that progressive Democrats wanted major reforms of the system, including changing the Supreme Court and making Washington, D.C. a state.

“And to accomplish all this, destroying the Senate’s distinguishing feature that makes radical change hard by design,” McConnell said.

“We have an entire political movement that is telling us literally out loud that they’ve lost patience with playing by the rules and may well declare war on the rule book.”

The Kentucky Republican went on to claim that Democrats must not “vandalize the rules to pass legislation with a simple majority.”

McConnell is clearly referring to the filibuster – a procedure that has been much abused over the past decade. If a Democratic majority were to reform the filibuster, they could prevent a Republican minority from blocking legislation.

The Republican-controlled Senate has become a graveyard for legislation, thanks in large part to McConnell, who has used the body’s sometimes arcane rules to partisan advantage.

However, recent polling suggests the GOP won’t be able to hold on to the Senate in November as

President Donald Trump’s unpopularity trickles down to the rest of his party. read more

Mitch McConnell May Tell Republicans to Distance Themselves from Trump

Mitch McConnell could advise Republicans to start distancing themselves from Donald Trump, according to a new report. The President’s recent poll numbers have given McConnell pause.

A Reuters report suggested on Thursday that the Senate Majority Leader could is concerned that Trump could cost Republicans the Senate this November.

“Trump’s falling poll numbers worry some fellow Republicans they will lose control of the U.S. Senate, having already lost leadership of the House of Representatives in 2018,” the report claims.

“The source said perhaps as soon as August, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may have to advise Republican Senate candidates to distance themselves from Trump if needed to win election and keep their majority.”

“People are even actually saying, ‘Does he want this anymore?'” one anonymous source told Reuters.

“‘Is he looking for an exit strategy?'”

The Kentucky Republican has long prioritized control of the Senate, with its ability to confirm federal and Supreme Court judges. McConnell has used his power in the Senate to block unfavorable appointments.

President

Donald Trump’s poll numbers have proven consistently poor read more

McConnell: “We Need More Testing, Not Less”

During an interview with Gray D.C.’s Kyle Midura, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says the United States needs “more testing, not less” if it wants to tackle the coronavirus pandemic successfully.

McConnell’s comments come after President Donald Trump called widespread testing a “double-edged sword” during a free-wheeling speech at a Tulsa rally last weekend.

“Here’s the bad part,” Trump said at the time. “When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases. So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please!’”

Although the White House claimed the president was merely joking, Trump disputed that assertion. “I don’t kid,” he said this week.

“Aides said he was kidding. Then Tuesday, he said he doesn’t kid, and aides said that was sarcasm,” Midura said to McConnell. “Big picture, does the federal government need to scale up, hold stable, decrease? What are your thoughts on that front, sir?”

“We all need to scale up,” McConnell said. “We need more testing. Kentucky’s already received $100 million from the federal government again in a bill that was written in my office. We need to do more testing, not less, and that’s the key to getting us through this period. When we find out people are positive, they need to be quarantined so they don’t infect others.”

McConnell expressed hope that a coronavirus vaccine could be available by early next year––or possibly sooner.

“Ultimately, we get on top of this, and we have a vaccine, and there’s vaccine development going on at warp speed by a number of different pharmaceutical companies,” he said. “We’re hopeful we’ll get a vaccine sometime later this year or early next year. That’s the key to putting this whole pandemic in the rear view mirror so we get past it.”

Opinion: Are We All in This Together? Not When Republicans Funnel Relief to Millionaires

Trump - McConnell

We’re all in this together.

Is anybody else tired of hearing this mantra?

I mean, in many ways I love it both as an aspirational sentiment, encapsulating the vision of a cooperative, humane, and compassionate social way of being, and as a statement that captures an undeniable, matter-of-fact aspect of our reality: we are absolutely dependent on one another. If we don’t grasp that fact now, when we are made hyperconscious of the “essential” workers performing all the functions that make food available to us, when will we? read more

McConnell Promises Republicans He’ll End Enhanced Unemployment Benefits

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promised his Republican colleagues that he would end enhanced unemployment benefits. Currently, those receiving unemployment benefits receive an additional $600 a week. McConnell said Republicans are “going to have to clean up the Democrats’ crazy policy that is paying people more to remain unemployed than they would earn if they went back to work.”

According to Politico, although McConnell “conceded more aid may be necessary in the coming weeks, he also repeated his insistence that liability reform be included in the next round of legislation to minimize lawsuits.”

McConnell assured legislators that the final Senate bill would not look anything like a Democratic proposal to provide $3 trillion in coronavirus relief that passed Friday. That measure extends unemployment benefits to the end of January, includes another round of direct cash payments to Americans, and provides front-line workers with hazard pay.

The White House issued a veto warning ahead of the bill’s passage, arguing that the legislation “is more concerned with delivering on longstanding partisan and ideological wishlists than with enhancing the ability of our Nation to deal with the public health and economic challenges we face.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has defended the legislation––and the relief it provides––as necessary.

Americans “are suffering so much, in so many ways. We want to lessen their pain,” Pelosi said during House floor debate Friday. “Not to act now is not only irresponsible in a humanitarian way, it is irresponsible because it’s only going to cost more, more in terms of lives, livelihood, cost to the budget, cost to our democracy.”

In remarks earlier today, McConnell described Capitol Hill as “a tale of two chambers.”

“Over here in the United States Senate, the lights are on, the doors are open, and we are working for the American people,” he said. “And across the rotunda, in the House? Crickets,” McConnell said. “Their lights are off. Their doors are locked. ‘The People’s House’ has shown up for a grand total of two legislative session days since late March.”

The House voted to allow remote voting on Friday party-line vote, 217 to 189, for the duration of the crisis.

McConnell Says “Classless” Obama Should Have Kept His Mouth Shut

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) criticized former President Barack Obama after news outlets obtained a tape of a web talk between the former president and members of the Obama Alumni Association in which he said the “rule of law is at risk” in the United States after it emerged the Justice Department dismissed the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

“I think President Obama should have kept his mouth shut,” McConnell said in an interview with Trump 2020 senior adviser Lara Trump on an episode of Team Trump Online! “You know, we know he doesn’t like much (what this) administration is doing, that’s understandable. But I think it’s a little bit classless, frankly, to critique an administration that comes after you. You had your shot, you were there for eight years.”

“Generally former presidents just don’t do that,” he added, pointing to the tradition started by the Bush administration to not criticize presidential successors.

“The news over the last 24 hours I think has been somewhat downplayed – about the justice department dropping charges against Michael Flynn,” Obama reportedly said on the recording.

“And the fact that there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury [in fact Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI] just getting off scot-free. That’s the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic – not just institutional norms – but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk,” he continued. “And when you start moving in those directions, it can accelerate pretty quickly as we’ve seen in other places.”

The former president’s comments prompted President Donald Trump to launch into an “Obamagate” conspiracy theory.

He got caught, OBAMAGATE! https://t.co/oV6fum0zIS

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 11, 2020 read more

Senate Doesn’t Have the Capacity to Test All 100 Senators for Coronavirus

The Senate isn’t able to test every single senator for Coronavirus, the Capitol’s physician has said. The news comes just days before senators are due to return to Washington.

Attending physician Dr. Brian Monahan said on a conference call that the Senate lacks the capacity to test senators quickly, though senators and staffers with symptoms will be tested.

There are just 100 senators and the body is due to meet on Monday. Around half of senators are over 65 and therefore in a high risk group for Coronavirus.

By contrast, anyone who meets with President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence is tested for the virus. Recent reports suggest Trump and Pence receive regular tests.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate can reopen safely next week if social distancing is implemented. Democrats have raised serious concerns, however.

“I have not yet seen, personally … a safety plan to protect those people who have to come back to the Capitol in order for us to do anything,” said senior Democratic Senator Patty Murray.

“Nor a plan to make sure that we are not spreading the virus ourselves or to the employees,” she said.

The Office of Attending Physician issued guidance to senators advising them to wear masks during committee meetings and limit the number of staffers attending such meetings.

Republicans have stressed that the Senate must get on with its business despite the pandemic.

“I don’t begrudge a senator expressing their personal concerns, but that shouldn’t mean that the entire Senate ceases to function,” said Republican John Cornyn.

“We’re going to try really very hard to make sure everybody is safe. And not exposed.”

President Trump has said there will soon be 5 million tests a day in the U.S.

Follow Darragh Roche on Twitter

NY, NJ Govs. Slam McConnell for Suggesting States Should Declare Bankruptcy

Mitch McConnell

Democratic Governors Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.) and Phil Murphy (N.J.) criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for suggesting that states should declare bankruptcy instead of receiving a federal bailout.

“I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route,” McConnell said yesterday during an appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program. “It’s saved some cities, and there’s no good reason for it not to be available. You raised yourself the important issue of what states have done, many of them have done to themselves with their pension programs. There’s not going to be any desire on the Republican side to bail out state pensions by borrowing money from future generations.”

McConnell’s statements were swiftly slammed by the governors of the two states most drastically affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Encouraging, explicitly almost hoping for bankruptcies of American states in the midst of the biggest health care crisis this country has ever faced, is completely and utterly irresponsible,” Murphy said. “You have my word. We won’t go bankrupt. But you know what will happen? We will gut the living daylights … out of the services — the exact services — that our citizens need right now. We will just cut, cut, cut and cut. We won’t go bankrupt, Senator, but we will leave our citizens in the lurch in their most profound hour of need.”

Cuomo, meanwhile, said McConnell made “one of the dumb statements of all time.”

“You talk about one issue where you think you can get past partisanship and pettiness and you talk about communities where people are dying and you say they are blue states,” Cuomo said during an interview with his brother, CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “How am I supposed to reopen if you want me to declare bankruptcy?”

McConnell later said that federal aid should not be seen as an opportunity for “revenue replacement.”

“We’re not interested in solving their pension problems for them,” McConnell said. “We’re not interested in rescuing them from bad decisions they’ve made in the past. We’re not going to let them take advantage of this pandemic to solve a lot of problems that they created for themselves with bad decisions in the past.”

Trump Tweets Congress Was Distracted From COVID-19 By Impeachment, But Dems Requested Emergency Funding During The Trial

Trump Democrats crimes

Citing words from an influential businessman, Trump suggested on Sunday afternoon that the poor response to coronavirus in the United States wasn’t his administration’s fault, but that of Congress’.

“Great businessman & philanthropist Bernie Marcus, Co-Founder of Home Depot, said that Congress was too distracted by the (phony) Impeachment Witch Hunt when they should have been investigating CoronaVirus when it first appeared in China,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “Media played a big roll [sic] also!”

Trump’s criticism matched what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a radio interview in late March. Coronavirus “came up while we were tied down in the impeachment trial,” he claimed then. “And I think it diverted the attention of the government because everything every day was all about impeachment.”

Great businessman & philanthropist Bernie Marcus, Co-Founder of Home Depot, said that Congress was too distracted by the (phony) Impeachment Witch Hunt when they should have been investigating CoronaVirus when it first appeared in China. Media played a big roll also!@dcexaminer read more

Mitch McConnell Blames Impeachment For Trump Coronavirus Incompetence

Senate Democrats block McConnell coronavirus stimulus bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has claimed impeachment distracted the federal government from the Coronavirus. The Kentucky Republican suggested the impeachment trial made dealing with the global pandemic more difficult.

McConnell spoke to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday and took the opportunity to link impeachment to the pandemic.

Hewitt praised Republican Senator Tom Cotton for apparently realizing Coronavirus was a problem earlier than others.

“Let me talk to you a little bit about Senator Cotton,” Hewitt said.

“In your experience in the Senate, was Senator Cotton the first one to say hey, Leader, hey Mitch, this is a deadly situation that I do not trust to the Chinese? Was he first?”

“He was first, and I think Tom was right on the mark,” McConnell said.

“And it came up while we were tied down on the impeachment trial,” he said.

“And I think it diverted the attention of the government, because everything every day was all about impeachment. But Tom figured this out early, and he was absolutely right.”

McConnell’s claim is controversial, however. MSNBC analyst David Corn was quick to note that President Donald Trump went golfing toward the beginning of the outbreak. Others have made similar criticisms.

Though McConnell praised Senator Cotton, he has claimed China ‘inflicted’ the virus on the world and that the country will face a ‘reckoning.’

Follow Darragh Roche on Twitter

Mitch McConnell Criticized For Not Allowing Senate To Vote Remotely During Pandemic

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) faces a volley of criticism after telling reporters that he won’t allow senators to vote remotely to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

“We’ll not be doing that. There are a number of different ways to avoid getting too many people together,” McConnell told members of the press. “We can deal with the social distancing issue without fundamentally changing Senate rules.”

Health experts have advised the nation’s citizens to stay home and practice social distancing in an attempt to “flatten the curve” of the virus. McConnell’s comments were soon rebuked online, particularly as the nation waits for members of Congress to approve a coronavirus relief package for everyone affected by nationwide shutdowns. The coronavirus is particularly deadly for seniors, and the median age of senators 61.8 years, “among the oldest in U.S. history,” according to the Senate’s official website.

.@SenMajLdr #MassacreMitch is at it again. He sure enjoys watching Americans die.
McConnell won’t let Senate vote remotely amid coronavirus fears. https://t.co/dUh3hHWVrI read more

Senator Sherrod Brown Slams Mitch McConnell For “Wasted” Time on Coronavirus Bill

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is the latest legislator to criticize Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), saying McConnell is responsible for delays on a coronavirus relief package for families affected by the pandemic, which has claimed at least 97 lives across the United States.

“Mitch McConnell has wasted four days in the middle of a pandemic. Now Republican Senators are using procedure to cover for him,” Brown said in a tweet, concluding that the Senate “should do its job.”

Mitch McConnell has wasted four days in the middle of a pandemic. Now Republican Senators are using procedure to cover for him. @SenatorDurbin is right – enough with the excuses. The Senate should do its job.

Watch this exchange. pic.twitter.com/kT4w0lbZJk read more

Opinion: Pence Admits to Trump’s Failing and Fraudulent Economic Policies

In his State of the Union address earlier this month, President Trump celebrated the putative success of the economy he claims to have built, doing so in historic terms:  “I am thrilled to report to you tonight that our economy is the best it has ever been,” he boasted.

And yet, at the same time, budget deficits and the national debt continue to surge, revealing that Trump’s policies are not designed to fuel an economy for the long haul but rather that currently the U.S. economy is running on a sugar high, showing the potential to crash at any moment.

While the stock market is performing at record levels, the national debt has also surged to record levels, surpassing $23 trillion for the first time in history and promising only to bloat more.  Over the first four months of 2020 fiscal year, the deficit is outpacing last’s year deficit expansion by 25% in the same time frame. Over the past 12 months, the deficit has expanded $1.1 trillion.

Bess Levin, writing for Vanity Fair, gives perspective to the horror of Trump’s sugar-high economy when she writes, “Incredibly, this is all happening against the backdrop of the longest economic expansion on record and the lowest jobless rate in 50 years, conditions that typically cause the budget deficit to shrink.”

Trump promised, of course, that the enormously generous tax cuts he bestowed on corporate America and the wealthiest Americans would spur a growth that would cover the cost of tax cuts and more, spreading prosperity to all Americans. (Of course, let’s not forget he campaigned on the promise he would, in fact, eliminate the debt entirely, which at the time stood at approximately $19 trillion.)

Yet while the GDP grew 2.9% in 2018, growth slowed to 2.3% in 2019 as the debt and deficit swelled to historic proportions.

Days after Trump’s State of the Union peacocking, Vice President Mike Pence defended Trump’s deficit expansion in an interview with CNBC.

Here are a few of his responses which not only recycle the stale—because failed—narratives of trickle-down economics and of tax cuts paying for themselves, but also grossly distort history, falsely claimly Trump inherited an economy in decay, as opposed to one of the most steadily expanding economies in history the Obama administration engineered. Pence prevaricated as follows:

“The president came into office and he said, ‘First and foremost, we have to restore growth.’”

“Deficits and debt are right in line, but it is first about getting this economy moving again and we really do believe the trajectory of this economy.”

“Once we get this economy rolling, we’re going to work real hard, not just to get President Donald Trump four more years in the White House, but we’re going to make sure we have a Republican Senate and a Republican House to keep America growing and to deal with those long-term fiscal challenges.”

The big lie here, of course, is Pence’s insistence that Obama did not have the economy rolling, that Trump needed to get it moving again.

Politifact reported, for example, having looked at the economic measures Trump invokes, that “the trend lines continued almost seamlessly from the second half of Obama’s presidency into the first three years of Trump’s tenure. Trump’s claim that he turned around a failing economy is wrong.”

Obama ran deficits and increased the debt doing the arduous work of pulling the nation’s economy out of a deep recession. Trump has been over-stimulating an economy that was already healthy, throwing money at the wealthiest while failing to invest in real growth for America, deceiving Americans it will trickle down.

Of course, the World Bank rejected the efficacy of trickle-down economics back in 2015, debunking it as a myth. The International Monetary Fund actually lambasted it as a joke.

Pence’s insistence on recycling this failed myth is basically an admission of Trump’s fraudulent mismanagement of the U.S. economy to the detriment of American lives.

Pence asserted that Trump sees “the real long-term solution to the fiscal challenges in Washington, D.C., is making sure the budget of every American is growing.”

And yet poverty and homelessness are in fact what is growing in America, while Trump seeks to make healthcare less accessible and affordable for the American majority.

And let’s not forget how growing deficits impact Americans’ economic well-being.

The ballooning deficit resulting from the Trump tax-cuts, for example, cultivated a fertile context for Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to loudly renew their insistence that cuts to Medicare and Social Security are necessary to address the out-of-control deficit their own policies immediately exacerbated. Far from benefiting Americans, these tax cuts, which were supposedly to trickle down, just keep cutting Americans and increasing economic precarity, not prosperity.

Trump himself recently confirmed read more