Mitch McConnell is a Kentucky Senator who has been the majority leader on the Senate since 2015 and a Senator since 1985. While he has proven to be a cunning politician, many of the moves that he has made have set a precedent in the political climate that is obstructionist and harmful to American society. A recent Tennessean piece by Frank Garrison explores the topic.
The obstructionist steps that Mitch has taken since assuming the role of Majority leader go beyond the delay in confirming the choice of Barack Obama for Supreme Court justice Merrick Garland. McConnell was one of the leading voices who indicated that the selection of a Supreme Court justice should wait until the next President was elected which turned out to be Donald Trump, who inevitably selected a much more conservative justice than Garland. While Mitch’s strategy for delaying the Supreme Court confirmation hearings ultimately played into his party’s hand, it set an unfortunate precedent for future confirmation proceedings and proved to be another dividing factor on Capitol hill.
This was not the first obstructionist move that McConnell has supported. Before McConnell was Majority leader, raising the debt limit for the US Government was a routine process that went through in the best interests of the country. McConnell’s debates surrounding whether the debt limit should be raised, or the US Government shut down led to a significant amount of uncertainty which disrupted Wall Street for a short time. What goes around comes around and there are risks that the Democratic party will perform the same delays during the current Republican administration.
There is likely to be some major fights in Congress over the coming year related to both healthcare and tax reform. Even within his own party, many are unhappy with the moves that McConnell has made and are not likely to be compliant to the Majority Leader’s direction. This was recently emphasized by the legendary “no” vote issued by John McCain in response to the plan to repeal e Affordable Care Act and replace it with a health care plan to be named in the future. With contradictory bills emerging in the house and senate it is likely that there is going to be more infighting within the houses of Congress and it will be challenging for McConnell to get other Senators to buy into his direction.
Capitol Hill is now just as divisive as the country and this is not a good thing for American society. McConnell is supporting and driving American society towards highly divided positions and thereby impeding progress for Congress and the American people.