Who could have predicted the outcome of the latest filibuster imbroglio in the Senate? Republicans paid the full ransom. What else is new?
Once again, Mitch McConnell outsourced his leadership position to the McCain-Graham duo. He tapped them, along with Bob Corker and Roger Wicker – all from solid red states – to negotiate a compromise with Reid and Schumer over the filibuster and executive nominations. What could go wrong?
The outcome produced a compromise similar to the deals the Israelis cut with the Palestinians. In other words, it was all one-sided. Republicans agreed to allow Richard Cordray to direct the Consumer Financial Protection Board, even though he was originally appointed illegally. The following senators voted for cloture:
- Ayotte (NH)
- Blunt (MO)
- Chambliss (GA)
- Coats (IN)
- Collins, S. (ME)
- Corker (TN)
- Flake (AZ)
- Graham, L. (SC)
- Hatch (UT)
- Hoeven (ND)
- Isakson (GA)
- Johanns (NE)
- Kirk (IL)
- McCain (AZ)
- Murkowski, L. (AK)
- Portman (OH)
- Wicker (MS)
The entire purpose of the CFPB is to limit the choices of consumers in financial markets, making it harder and more expensive to obtain credit. This unaccountable agency will operate autonomously within the Federal Reserve and will not be subjected to congressional appropriations or oversight. Now Republicans will have no leverage to preclude this time bomb from taking root. Worse, they gave away their bargaining chip to strike down all the illegal rules that were issued by the agency while Cordray was illegitimately serving at its helm.
They also agreed to open the door wide for the nomination of Tom Perez as Labor Secretary and Gina McCarthy as director of the EPA. Republicans claim they won a victory because Obama agreed to pull his two illegally appointed members to the NLRB - Richard Griffin and Sharon Block. However, they basically agreed to confirm any alternatives to those two leftists. Politico is reporting that Obama has already picked the replacements, one of which is the associate general counsel at the AFL-CIO. Evidently, they were both picked in consultation with Richard Trumka. Cordray and the new NLRB appointees will seek to validate the previous actions taken by the agencies as soon as they are confirmed.
Perhaps, the most important outcome of this deal is that Republicans have signaled that as long as Reid throws a temper tantrum about the nuclear option, they are willing to pay the ransom. This is not over. Reid will use it the next time he faces a filibuster.
It’s time for Republicans to call Reid’s bluff and shoot the hostage. They can create chaos. They can shut down the Senate and refuse to accede to any unanimous consent request. They should stand and fight. Remember, there are more red states than blue states, and certainly more red districts than blue district. All things equal, Republicans will be favored to hold the House for a while and Democrats will lose the Senate at some point. The battleground of 2014 will be fought in Alaska, Montana, South Dakota, Louisiana, and Arkansas. If he wants to blow up the filibuster, let’s use it against them and repeal Obamacare with a simple majority in 2015.
Unfortunately, capitulation is the only thing these people know.
This is yet another vivid illustration of how we need to elect new Republicans in the upcoming Senate primaries, and that includes members of leadership.
It’s clear that John McCain and Lindsey Graham (and Chuck Schumer!) run the show on the Republican side. It would be nice if McConnell would stop bragging about being only the second Senate leader from Kentucky. This is not leadership.