On Tuesday, the Senate’s number two Republican, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, previewed the lame-duck legislative agenda and raised the possibility that the Senate will vote on a bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from firing.
Speaking on the Hugh Hewitt radio program, Cornyn said the Senate can continue confirming judges for a while, but added that a vote on the Mueller bill may be necessary to placate Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who has threatened to block Trump judges in committee until the Senate holds that vote.
“There is a possibility we will have a vote on the Mueller, so-called Mueller protection bill, but I think there really is some serious constitutional issues on that, and I certainly don’t support it,” Cornyn said. “I don’t think the president’s going to fire Bob Mueller, but we have a farm bill to take care of.”
Other priorities Cornyn mentioned include the First Step Act legislation for early release for convicted federal prisoners, a Yemen war powers resolution, and the farm bill appropriations package.
Cornyn expressed uncertainty that the First Step Act will receive a vote during the lame-duck session of Congress. Noting that Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., David Perdue, R-Ga., and others have raised objections to sentencing reform provisions that could lead to the early release of heroin and fentanyl dealers, Cornyn said “I don’t know if we have enough time to get this thing done.”
“It’s going to take unanimous consent, and as I said at the outset, we don’t have much time,” he added.
On the Mueller bill, Cornyn said his preference is to have an “expedited” up-or-down vote and have that vote fail.
So that’s the agenda. Republicans aren’t using their majority to make a final push for repealing Obamacare, making tax cuts permanent, defunding Planned Parenthood, or forcing a government “shutdown” confrontation with the Democrats on border wall funding. They will instead waste time on an unconstitutional bill to protect Mueller and attempt to pass prison release.
Did Republicans campaign on those issues when they won their majorities? Perhaps they lost the House majority in 2018 because these priorities aren’t what they promised to do.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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