If you thought the Senate majority was going to take the summer off from hoisting their horror show vision of the world onto the rest of us, think again.
Politico reported on Sunday that Senate Republicans are trying to figure out how best to spend their time before they might have to share power of Congress with a Democratic House next year. Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee have reportedly been surveying their colleagues by asking them whether or not they support a wishlist of right-wing proposals, and how much they support them, just a few months before the election:
The areas under consideration include taking another stab at repealing and scaling back Obamacare; trying for Round 2 of tax cuts; eliminating or reining in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; defunding Planned Parenthood and other anti-abortion rights measures; instituting work requirements for federal welfare programs; expanding gun rights; instituting budget reforms; and dozens more.
“Let’s do even more unpopular stuff right before the election” doesn’t seem like an excellent strategy, but hey, Cruz and three other current GOP senators didn’t lose the Republican presidential nomination to a reality television star with brain worms for nothing.
Although Politico reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he doesn’t want to hold “messaging” votes that will go down in flames anyway, he supports this effort, even though it’s spearheaded by his old nemesis Cruz:
Cruz and Alexander — with the blessing of McConnell and other top Republicans — want to get a sense of what, if anything, the Senate GOP Conference can do beyond its current agenda, according to a Republican source privy to internal party dynamics.
“Our hope is to get a sense of the Conference on what legislative proposals can command 50 votes, and what is most important to each of you — additional victories we can achieve together in 2018,” Cruz and Alexander said in a May 16 letter. They based their efforts on a similar survey last year by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) that led to congressional repeal of Obama-era regulations opposed by business groups.
It’s not clear whether or not any of this will go anywhere. According to the site, the Obamacare repeal doesn’t have the necessary 50 votes to pass yet, even with a renewed push from the Heritage Foundation. Last week, Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley told a crowd gathered for a town hall that the Republicans have “got to give up on repeal and replace.”
But even if nothing on this list gets done, the agenda that McConnell has on deck includes ramming through even more of President Donald Trump’s terrible, right wing judicial nominees, and the damage that congressional Republicans have already done over the past year and a half will likely take decades to undo.
That this isn’t enough for Cruz and his fellow Republicans speaks volumes, but I guess that’s what happens when political parties are terrified of their base. Imagine how different things could be if we had just one more of those.