Obamacare smolders, tax-reform looms, the federal budget demands attention, and President Donald J. Trump’s sub-cabinet and judicial nominees age gracefully as they await confirmation. So, where is the U.S. Senate this week? Where else? On vacation!
Actually, it’s not on vacation, per se. Rather, the Senate pretends to work. After Monday’s federal holiday, Tuesday’s Congressional Record explains, "The Senate met at 9:52:47 a.m. in pro forma session, and adjourned at 9:53:25 a.m." So, the Senate deliberated for a whopping 38 seconds and will do likewise Friday. Its committees also are dark this week.
While most Americans spent, at most, one day to honor Christopher Columbus, the Republican Senate is devoting a whole week to celebrate the legendary explorer. This is atop the Senate’s three-day Rosh Hashanah recess. That break, in turn, followed its month-long summer hiatus before Labor Day. Who fuels this inaction? None other than Senate Relaxation Director Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
McConnell is lazy. While Senate holidays amass as quickly as neglected priorities accumulate, McConnell’s sloth makes the proverbial welfare queen look like a Navy Seal.
Key conservatives have had it with the Senate’s majority "leader."
Veteran activists including Adam Brandon, Brent Bozell, Jenny Beth Martin, Richard Viguerie, and others wrote Sen. McConnell in an open letter Wednesday, declaring, "Your current failure to deliver on the highest priority commitments to the American people is nothing short of shocking."
These exasperated free-marketeers continued, "You pledged to reduce the size of this oppressive federal government. You have done nothing." Adding, "You promised to repeal Obamacare, 'root and branch.' You’ve done nothing. You promised tax reform. You’ve done nothing. You don’t even show up for work."
While the U.S. House also has taken too many days off, it usually finishes its homework first.
The House passed 334 bills through Sept. 22. The Senate endorsed, and President Trump signed, 60 of them. Thus, 274 bills molder in the Senate. According to Quorum Analytics, this is 76 percent more marooned measures than the analogous 156 average since George H.W. Bush became president in January of 1989.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity on Sept. 27, "In the House, we’ve been productive and passed our agenda, all of our appropriations bills ahead of schedule. The first time since 2004." Citing these 12 spending measures and other House-adopted bills, Ryan said, "We haven’t gotten them over the finish line in the Senate. Is that frustrating for the House? You bet it is frustrating for the House."
The House-passed bills rotting on McConnell’s desk include:
- A repeal of the Dodd-Frank red-tape colossus
- Re-authorization of human-trafficking prevention legislation
- Initial funding for a southern-border wall
- The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, to foil illegal-alien thugs
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., repeatedly slams the Senate’s brakes by merely threatening to filibuster any matter that his caucus dislikes. But threats are meaningless until executed. I hereby threaten to run a dozen head of cattle through the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Unless I actually try this, so what?
Similarly, Sen. McConnell should stop assuming the fetal position whenever Sen. Schumer screams, "Filibuster!"
McConnell should consider the House-passed Kate’s Law. If Schumer wants to filibuster it, McConnell should reply, "Proceed." Let Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., stand on the Senate floor and state for hours on end why seriously felonious illegal aliens who re-trespass into the U.S. after deportation should keep doing so. Kate Steinle’s alleged killer, Juan Francisco López-Sánchez, did this — five times.
McConnell lacks the Reaganesque geniality to motivate through warmth, the Harry Reid-like ruthlessness to rally through fear, or even the energy to keep the Senate open as often as a typical American workplace.
Ineffective, discredited, and exhausted, listless Mitch McConnell should have the good taste to resign immediately as majority leader. If he insists on remaining the biggest millstone tethered to the Trump/GOP agenda, then the time is now for reformist Senate conservatives to stage a palace coup.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor with National Review Online. He has been a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. Read more opinions from Deroy Murdock — Click Here Now.
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