McConnell caves and will finally let Senate vote to reopen the government
But will Republicans actually vote to do the right thing?
For more than a month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has helped Trump keep the government shutdown — and held the paychecks of 800,000 workers hostage.
But on Tuesday, McConnell finally caved to the enormous and growing pressure to at least hold a vote on one of several bills passed by the Democratic House to end Trump’s shutdown, reopen the government, and finally pay all those workers.
On Thursday, the Senate will vote on two separate bills: one that would give Trump the $5.7 billion he has demanded to build a wall the majority of Americans oppose, and one that would reopen the government and fund it through Feb. 8, without paying Trump’s ransom.
Either bill would need 60 votes to pass the Senate. While a handful of the more vulnerable Republicans have voiced their desire to end the shutdown, even without giving Trump his wall money, unless McConnell gives his caucus permission to vote against Trump’s wishes, there probably won’t be enough votes to actually reopen the government on Thursday.
And that is unlikely to happen, as long as Trump insists he will veto any bill that doesn’t give him $5.7 billion.
Of course, the Senate could override such a veto. A bill to keep the government funded, without money for Trump’s wall, passed unanimously in the Senate before the shutdown. McConnell could easily call upon his fellow Republicans to do it again, and to serve the wishes of the American public instead of the petulant demands of the hostage-taker in chief.
As the shutdown drags on into its second month, and the American public becomes even more anxious about the immediate and longterm consequences of Trump’s tantrum, the will among Republicans — especially those up for re-election in 2020 — to actually fix the problem might grow stronger.
And it is up to Republicans to fix the problem of their own creation. Before Trump shut down the government in December, he said he would be “proud” to take responsibility for doing it. Since then, he’s tried to shift blame to Democrats, but Americans aren’t buying it.
The Democratically controlled House has passed bill after bill to reopen the government, and voters know know it’s Trump’s fault that the government remains closed.
Trump and his party made this mess. It’s up to Trump and his party to clean it up. They will have the chance to do so on Thursday. The question is whether they will, for once, actually do the right thing.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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