Not only did Mitch McConnell just give Schumer everything he wanted on budget and health care, he ensured that for the remainder of the year, Democrats can get everything they want and conservatives will not pass a single priority. Not one.
Imagine signing a blank check and handing it to a group of people who don’t share your supposed spending priorities and telling them that whoever achieves the largest consensus on how much money to draw from your checking account, and where to send it, can fill in the number.
Well, that is what McConnell just did, on immigration and other issues.
McConnell is planning to introduce debate in the Senate on immigration next week by putting forth a blank bill with nothing in it. He will then allow anyone to offer amendments, and, in his words, “whoever gets to 60 wins.”
That should be the title of his autobiography and the slogan for the GOP, because it so perfectly captures the essence of a party leader who lacks any scintilla of conviction.
McConnell views himself as a parliamentarian or sergeant-in-arms who presides over the Senate, not a party leader to fulfill the promises of the election mandate. Thus, rather than introducing at least the president’s proposal and whipping support for it while making it clear that this is the party’s position, he acts as if he is some neutral arbiter. He knows darn well that, absent a strong push from himself and Cornyn, half the GOP senators will join with the Democrats to support amnesty, while most of them will reject the president’s priorities for enforcement and the American citizen, thereby ensuring that an amnesty-only bill passes.
Just watch Pelosi and Schumer fight for their party principles and you will observe the unmistakable dichotomy between the modus operandi of the two-party leaders. Republicans seek office as an end to itself, while Democrats use their office to seek power and achieve results. Pelosi is willing to pound the lectern for eight hours on behalf of illegal aliens and to put MS-13 before Americans. Could you ever imagine a Democrat majority leader announcing that the following week they would debate a major issue with a blank bill and just allow whatever gets 60 votes to win? No passion, no whipping, no campaign-style full-court press to push the party’s platform?
Yet McConnell literally will not take a position on the most important issue of our time. However, because he knows the outcome, McConnell clearly is taking a position. This is what he has done his entire career.
This is why the Senate GOP has become a joke. McConnell has signaled for years that Republicans can deviate from the platform as much as they want, even with a GOP president. He’s merely a guy to make sure the trains run on time.
A normal party leader would call people like Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins into his office and say, “Look, the president has already compromised beyond belief by offering a massive amnesty. It’s time to support the party platform and vote for a package that concurrently addresses our issues, otherwise find yourself a new party.”
The GOP platform has become a free-for-all. The only ones who don’t get blank checks are conservatives. While cutting a deal with Schumer to raise the debt ceiling and increase the debt to unthinkable levels, McConnell has agreed to prevent conservatives from making any push to pass a single good piece of legislation this year. Section 30103 of the McConnell bill treats the budget caps for FY 2019 as if they are the official annual budget, which means that there will be no budget reconciliation this year. As we warned last month, without budget reconciliation, there is no way to pass conservative health care priorities or welfare reform. And that is exactly the way McConnell wants it.
Which is why Paul Ryan’s call for entitlement reform is a joke. He is telling conservatives that they should agree to pass this discretionary spending increase because they will cut spending later with entitlement reform. However, he is well aware of the fact that this framework eliminates the only vehicle Republicans would have to do anything with welfare and entitlements.
Every special interest in this deal gets funded. The only priority that is not addressed is defunding a private group that kept aborted babies alive to harvest their organs. Nobody is even speaking about defunding Planned Parenthood.
There is only one man who can void the blank check. It’s time for the President to make his veto pen great again.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.