McConnell won't lift a finger to help workers get their paychecks


Even as federal workers are getting 'paychecks' that read $0.00, Mitch McConnell still refuses to schedule a vote to end the Trump shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell still refuses to schedule a vote to end the Trump shutdown and reopen the government — even as thousands of federal workers literally received $0.00 paychecks today.

"Pay for about 800,000 government employees lapsed nearly three weeks ago, and Friday marks the first wave of missed paychecks," reports HuffPost. Given Trump's churlish tantrums, and the spineless acquiescence of McConnell, it seems possible that the shutdown could go on for weeks, months, or even years.

McConnell cares so little about the fate of the country that he was actually planning on adjourning the Senate on Thursday, giving his complicit colleagues a three-day weekend.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) was incensed that McConnell would even think about doing this.

"Why would the Senate leave town this weekend before voting to reopen the government?!" Kaine exclaimed on Twitter. "Countless federal workers aren't being paid. People are worrying about how to pay bills. Congress could act now to fix it if Mitch McConnell would just take up a bill. Let's stay here and do it!"

McConnell ultimately abandoned his plan to adjourn Thursday, but no votes are expected Friday or over the weekend.

Since the Trump shutdown began in December, 800,000 federal workers have been going without pay because Trump threw a tantrum about wanting a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

At the time, Trump boasted he would be "proud" to own the shutdown — and recent polls show Americans do, indeed, blame Trump for it.

The new majority in the House, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has been working diligently to pass legislation to reopen the government. On the first day of the new Congress, Pelosi shepherded bills through the House to end the shutdown.

More recently, the House has also passed bills to reopen individual agencies within the government, which so far include the departments of Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture. This plan would put at least some federal workers back on the job, allow them to receive their paychecks, and restore vital government services for the rest of the nation.

But McConnell has consistently refused to put forth even the minimal effort of scheduling a vote. McConnell even went so far as to call it "absolutely pointless" to vote to end the Trump shutdown.

But it's not pointless at all to hold such a vote, even if Trump threatens to veto the resulting bill. Actually sending a bill to Trump's desk puts more pressure on him to sign it and back down from his unreasonable demands. McConnell could also tell his caucus to simply override Trump's veto with a two-thirds majority vote.

Some of McConnell's GOP colleagues are making tepid statements about reopening the government, especially Republicans who will face tough re-election battles in 2020.

But so far, their leader in the Senate is choosing steadfast loyalty to Trump over the American people — who now have to deal with the fallout from this heartless decision.

"We have about a month in savings and that's it," a mother who is furloughed from the Department of Homeland Security told Buzzfeed News. "Just like everyone else, we're one or two paychecks from being in serious trouble."

McConnell refuses to lift a finger to help this mother, or the thousands across the country who are struggling like she is. He is so determined to show his unfettered allegiance to Trump than he won't put even an ounce of pressure on him to do the right thing.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.