Mitch McConnell Promises To Shut Down Government If GOP Takes Over Senate This November
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) just laid out the GOP strategy if it takes over the Senate. In short: if you think conservative obstruction is grinding Congress to a halt right now, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Politico’s Manu Raju reports on McConnell’s plans:
Mitch McConnell has a game plan to confront President Barack Obama with a stark choice next year: Accept bills reining in the administration’s policies or veto them and risk a government shutdown.
In an extensive interview here, the typically reserved McConnell laid out his clearest thinking yet of how he would lead the Senate if Republicans gain control of the chamber. The emerging strategy: Attach riders to spending bills that would limit Obama policies on everything from the environment to health care, consider using an arcane budget tactic to circumvent Democratic filibusters and force the president to “move to the center” if he wants to get any new legislation through Congress.
In short, it’s a recipe for a confrontational end to the Obama presidency.
“We’re going to pass spending bills, and they’re going to have a lot of restrictions on the activities of the bureaucracy,” McConnell said in an interview aboard his campaign bus traveling through Western Kentucky coal country. “That’s something he won’t like, but that will be done. I guarantee it.”
It appears McConnell, who proudly called himself the “guardian of gridlock,” would take things to a whole new level if he takes control of the Senate chamber: use the threat of a shutdown in a proactive effort to undo the progress that we have made when it comes to health care, the environment, and more. There is little else that could be as destructive. Remember what happened last year when conservative opposition led to the first government shutdown in almost 20 years? The results were not pretty:
- The shutdown cost the economy $24 billion.
- Federal employees were furloughed for a combined total of 6.6 million days at taxpayers’ expense. At the peak of the shutdown, about 850,000 individuals per day were furloughed.
- Hundreds of patients including children were prevented from enrolling in clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health.
- The combination of the shutdown and debt limit brinksmanship resulted in 120,000 fewer private sector jobs created.
- National parks were forced to shut down, causing them to lose an estimated $414 million in visitor spending.
The list goes on.
At the same time, a media narrative seems to be forming that during this primary season the GOP’s “establishment” candidates (with the exception of Eric Cantor) are fending off the Tea Party and winning their elections. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado. And last night, Attorney General Dan Sullivan of Alaska. The reality is that “establishment” candidates still push for radical, out-of-touch policies: supporting an amendment to ban abortion and even some common forms of contraception; refusing to acknowledge man-made climate change; opposing marriage equality. And Mitch McConnell’s plan to shut down the government again belongs at the top of the list.
BOTTOM LINE: Mitch McConnell has made the GOP plan if it takes over the Senate clear: force a government shutdown. The last shutdown caused major damage to our economy, but that doesn’t seem to bother McConnell and Republicans. McConnell isn’t in it to help Kentucky or the country; he wants only to block President Obama and progress wherever he can.