McConnell spends two days hiding from new demands to end shutdown


"He seems to be running away from us," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has spent two days hiding from a group of determined freshman House Democrats trying to meet with him in hopes of ending the Trump shutdown.

The effort, spearheaded by Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA), began yesterday with a group of more than a dozen freshman House members walking across the Capitol to seek a meeting with McConnell.

"We have, since we have gotten here, been voting over and over again to take steps to reopen government, (which is) exactly what the American people asked us to do," Hill said on the first day McConnell hid from her and her colleagues. "Mitch McConnell refuses to take any of those to a vote."

In December, Trump threw a tantrum demanding $5 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. In a televised meeting with Democratic leaders, Trump said he would be "proud" to own a shutdown if Democrats refused to pay his ransom. On the first day of the new Congress, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) led the new Democratic majority in passing bills to end the Trump shutdown, but without funding for a wall.

McConnell, in a complete abdication of his constitutional duties, refused to even bring up House-passed funding bills for a vote. He went so far as to say such a vote is "absolutely pointless."

While McConnell has been trying to keep a low profile during the shutdown, his refusal to lift a finger to help end it has earned him the ire of newspapers across the country, including one in his home state of Kentucky.

The effort by the freshman House Democrats seeks to highlight McConnell's cowardly refusal to even hold a vote on the issue. They want to meet with McConnell in hopes of finding common ground to reopen the government, but McConnell refuses to show his face.

"He seems to be running away from us," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) told the press after a second day of McConnell in hiding. The group of Democrats say they "ran on political activism and are now bringing it to Congress," reports a Washington Post reporter.

"We're all sick of this shutdown and the suffering it has caused for the 800,000 federal workers," Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) said in a statement today, adding she went to McConnell's office "to urge him to do his job and end this unnecessary shutdown once and for all, so we can begin to focus on policy."

While the word "leader" is in his title, McConnell is failing to provide any leadership on this issue. New members of the Democratic freshman class have only been in Congress for a few weeks, they are showing more courage and care for what happens to this country than McConnell, who has been in office for 34 years.

"This is Washington politics at its worst," Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH) said. "This is a national embarrassment," he added.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.