McConnell Machinations

th-1Here is a report by Derek Hunter of the Daily Caller explaining what went on this past Sunday in the Senate.  Read it and weep.  These machinations of McConnell are in part what justifiably upset Senator Ted Cruz causing him to call McConnell to task. We set in bold parts of Hunter’s report and added an annotation or two in red for further explanation.

McConnell Angers Conservatives By Blocking Defunding Planned Parenthood, Kate’s Law

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has never been a favorite of conservatives. Those who see him as a “squishy” compromiser more interested in placating President Barack Obama and K Street lobbyists than the Republican base had more fuel tossed on that fire when he blocked amendments to the Highway Bill Tea Party members wholeheartedly support.

One amendment would defund Planned Parenthood, the nationwide abortion provider which receives more than a half billion dollars in taxpayer subsidies annually. McConnell has previously said he supports defunding Planned Parenthood, which was recently the subject of undercover sting videos in which executives with the organization can be heard discussing the sale of organs from aborted babies. But the leader blocked an amendment to the Highway Bill that would have defunded the organization.

McConnell used a tactic called “filling the tree,” made popular by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid when he was majority leader to block Republicans from being able to offer amendments to Democratic bills. “Filling the Tree” is when the allotted time for amendments is loaded by the leader, generally with small, insignificant measures favored by the majority leader, who controls the process, crowding out everyone else.

“Filling the tree” was roundly decried by Republicans when Democrats controlled the Senate because it blocked their ability to offer any amendments, popular on a bipartisan basis or not, to any legislation the Senate was considering. McConnell ran and was reelected to his Senate seat on returning the Senate to “regular order” after years of tight control and power consolidation under the Democrats. Now he is using the same tactic against his own party.

On the floor of the Senate Friday, Texas Sen. and GOP candidate for president Ted Cruz blasted McConnell’s move. “There are a host of amendments that the American people are focused on, things like defunding Planned Parenthood after the gruesome video,” Cruz said. “The majority leader doesn’t want to vote on that. That’s actually something the American people are focused on.”

In response to critics, McConnell agreed to “fast-track” a stand-alone bill that would defund Planned Parenthood. But a stand-alone bill would be subject to filibuster, requiring 60 votes to proceed, rather than as an amendment that would only need 50 to be included in the Highway Bill.

According to The Hill, McConnell ruled the Planned Parenthood amendment not germane to the Highway Bill and that’s why it was blocked.

McConnell apparently made the same determination for “Kate’s Law.” Named after Kate Steinle, a 32-year-old woman who was allegedly shot and killed by an illegal alien who had seven felony convictions and had been deported five times in San Francisco, it would impose a mandatory five-year prison term on any illegal alien convicted of a violent felony if they’d been previously deported.

McConnell blocked that too.

An amendment the majority leader did not block, that he did not rule as “not germane,” was the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.

The Export-Import Bank, which McConnell publicly claims to oppose, is viewed by conservatives as corporate welfare and crony capitalism at its worst. Supposedly to help small businesses compete in a global market, the bank favors large and even foreign companies with taxpayer dollars.

Cloture was invoked by the Senate on the amendment to reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank by a vote of 67-26 Sunday.  See related  veritas post for Republican vote tally

Authorization for the bank expired in June, and an enormous, expensive lobbying effort has been underway to reauthorize it.

In an attempt to placate conservatives, McConnell instead is allowing a vote on an amendment to defund Obamacare. But that amendment would need 60 votes, which is unlikely, and would most certainly get the bill a presidential veto.

Here are some of the Tweets to the Daily Caller in response to the Senate action. Note that Justin Amash is a congressman from Michigan

@justinamash  Top priority right now of Senate GOP establishment is reauthorizing an obscure corporate welfare program. Can you get any more out of touch?
2:10 PM – 26 Jul 2015

Sean Davis @seanmdav  Mitch McConnell’s once again engaging in his favorite Senate pastime: kabuki theater. PP defunding would’ve passed via amdt to highway bill. 1:20 PM – 26 Jul 2015

Sean Davis @seanmdav So what does his silly standalone PP defunding bill accomplish? Nothing. It won’t pass. It needs 60. As an amdt it only needed a majority.  :24 PM – 26 Jul 2015

House set to do the right thing and NOT reauthorize Export-Import bank

From Patrick Hawley also at the Daily Caller  House Halts Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization

Republican House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy will assure that the Export-Import bank will remain unauthorized, the Associated Press reports.

McCarthy said Monday that he will not pick up the Senate highway bill in the U.S. House. The Senate sought to renew the Ex-Im bank’s charter in its bill, but McCarthy beat them by passing an $8 billion highway bill through the House without the Ex-Im Bank’s renewal. McCarthy said that he will not budge on the issue.

The Ex-Im Bank, installed by President Franklin Roosevelt to serve as a national export credit agency, has become a breeding ground in recent years for global crony capitalism, according to the House Oversight Committee’s Rep. Jim Jordan and other congressional investigators.

“Majority Leader McCarthy did the right thing,” said Dan Holler of Heritage Action.

Next veritaspac will post the Republican Senate vote on the matter of cloture, the push joined by a mixed bag of Republicans to stop Cruz, and Lee, and others efforts.  A vote for cloture was a vote for the  Export Import bank and crony capatalism.

Daily Caller reports used with permission. R Mall

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