McConnell's relief bill is so disastrous even he can't defend it with a straight face
When it comes to abusing power to, for instance, steal a Supreme Court seat, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is aces. When it comes to legislating, not so much.
After wasting more than two months since House Democrats first passed their $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill, McConnell and the White House put their heads together to produce a bill so indefensible, GOP senators are running away from it like a burning building.
In fact, the morning after the bill went public, McConnell couldn't even defend his own bill with a straight face. When he was asked why it included a $1.75 billion-dollar provision to relocate the eyesore of an FBI building that sits a block away from Trump International Hotel, McConnell played dumb.
"Uh, I'm not sure that it is, is it?" McConnell responded. After being informed that it was, he downgraded the bill to "a starting place" that could be built upon.
"We can't pass a bill in the Senate without Democrats," he acknowledged. "The Republicans are in the majority in the Senate, this is the starting place." That sure oozes confidence—yeah, our bill kind of sucks and Democrats are going to have to bail us out.
As for the couple-billion dollar gift to Trump, McConnell immediately pointed his finger at the White House. "They'll have to answer the question on why they insisted on that provision," he offered.
That was the high point for the bill. Immediately after, Senate Republicans started dropping like flies.
Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana stood up at the GOP caucus luncheon and demanded to know what was in the bill. “I want to know what's in the bill. That's number one," Kennedy said. “I’m not going to vote for something in the name of unity when I don’t know what’s in the damn thing.”
Not sure why Kennedy is suddenly objecting to blindly supporting things in the name of unity, but kudos to McConnell for making that possible.
But forget three defections—it's more like a giant boatload is coming. "If Mitch can get half the conference, that'd be quite an accomplishment," predicted Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina Tuesday morning.
By Tuesday afternoon, McConnell was already disavowing pieces of his own bill. "I am opposed to non-germane amendments" he told reporters, specifically naming the FBI building provision. "When we get to the end of the process, I would hope all of the non-covid-related measures are out."
So let's get this straight: McConnell piddled around for nearly three months, then hustled together a dodgy bill that half his caucus hates, leaving him dependent on Democrats for more than half the votes to pass it—and yet he entirely excluded Democrats from the initial discussions?
Meanwhile, the health and welfare of millions of American households hang in the balance while McConnell bombs his legislating 101 class. Seriously, has Speaker Nancy Pelosi ever introduced a bill only to disavow it hours later as her members flee like rats from pesticide?
The answer to that is a hard “no.” Because even though she has a much more diverse caucus than McConnell, Pelosi actually knows how to legislate. Even when internal disagreements occur, she manages to smooth most of them over behind closed doors. And she doesn't introduce bills before they're ready for prime time.
McConnell’s never been good at legislating because it requires actual negotiation instead of simply jamming things down people’s throats.
Watch McConnell downgrade his own bill in real time—how embarrassing.
WATCH: Senate Majority Leader McConnell caught off guard when asked about money for an FBI building in a coronaviru… https://t.co/uDNMnFf9vl— NBC News (@NBC News)1595954031.0