At issue is the first thing a new Congress does every two years. At the beginning of a new Congress, the House passes the set of rules that it will operate under, and the Senate passes an organizing resolution. That resolution sets the committee makeup and leadership. It gives the newly elected and reelected members their committee assignments. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wants the Senate to adopt the resolution the body used the last time it was split 50-50 in 2001, with whatever minor modifications it might need for 2021. McConnell is refusing, insisting that Democrats will have to agree to preserving the filibuster and his easy ability to block any Biden legislative agenda for him to sign on. This is McConnell telling Schumer and everyone else that he has no intention of advancing that agenda. Simple as that. It’s not about unity. It’s not about bipartisanship. It’s not about the norms and traditions of the Senate. It’s vintage McConnell refusing to allow a Democratic majority to govern. Again.
How many times has the nation collectively lived through this in the last decade? And still we get this paragraph: “‘Republicans very much appreciate the consistency and the rock-solid fidelity to the norms and rules that make the Senate a moderating force in policymaking,’ said Scott Jennings, a former McConnell aide. ‘The legislative filibuster is the last rule driving bipartisanship in Washington.'” They printed that. As if it were anything other than another McConnell person trolling them, knowing they would put that statement down in black and white.
This isn’t a political game. This is McConnell the white supremacist and obstructionist once again seizing the highest-stake hostage he can find in hopes of regaining his majority in 2022. There is nothing out of bounds for McConnell—threatening to let the nation go into default and ruining the global economy, the Supreme Court, and now the economic and physical health of the entire nation in a global pandemic.
He’s refusing to let Biden form a working government by refusing to allow the Senate to organize into the committees that will process Biden’s nominations. He’s preventing the Senate from moving forward on vital legislation that will help us climb out of the massive hole he and Trump put us in by sabotaging the COVID-19 response.
It’s not “gridlock as usual.” It’s McConnell blowing things to smithereens. As usual. And he’s getting away with it. As usual, because the Washington press corps is lazy and unimaginative and doesn’t want to contradict the narrative that they’ve bought into and sold to the nation.