For the first time during President Barack Obama’s leadership, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell lost control of his troops during the lame-duck session, with several Republicans helping to pass two key bills he opposed. Those were repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell policy” and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. So now some in Washington are questioning whether McConnell’s leadership has weakened, Politico reports
“People close to the laconic, deliberate GOP leader minimized the two votes, saying McConnell was simply respecting the diversity of his caucus and had delegated the whipping operation to other Republicans,” the news service states.
“Moreover, they cite several lame-duck victories — extending the Bush-era tax cuts to all income groups, killing both the $1.2 trillion omnibus spending bill and the DREAM Act — and say the conference will re-unite early next year when the focus returns to issues of taxing and spending.”
But the two lame-duck votes suggest that the GOP's six-seat pick-up in November may be as much of a curse as a blessing. That’s because it creates tension between tea-party insurgents and establishment Republicans, thereby perhaps giving the White House more leverage.
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