Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said today that Democrats are loving the post-Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) era.
“I think the way the Senate is being run is very popular with a significant number of Democrats who have come over to me frequently and say thank you for changing the way the Senate is operating,” McConnell told reporters on the Hill today after a closed policy luncheon. “So we’ve given them an opportunity, and they’ve taken that opportunity. And so I think they do deserve some credit for it.”
McConnell pointed out that the GOP majority has held 100 roll call votes on amendments in the 114th Congress alone, while Reid allowed 15 roll call votes on amendments last year.
“The difference is I’m taking up bills and they’re open for amendment. They took up bills and they weren’t open for amendment. They’d take up a bill, fill up the tree, file cloture, score a point and move on,” he said.
“The majority gets to set the agenda…the majority leader gets to decide how the bill is going to be conducted. I don’t see any equivalency at all. And the majority sets the tone. The opportunities have been given to the minority to participate and I’m glad they’re taking advantage of that.”
McConnell promised to make progress on bills that have passed out of committee on a bipartisan basis between now and Memorial Day.
“We’re going to move to the Lynch nomination. Then we’ll go to the Iraq nuclear bill that came out of the Foreign Relations Committee unanimously. We have in the queue an elementary and secondary education bill that came out of that committee unanimously,” he said. “We have a cybersecurity bill that came out of Interior 14-1. And we believe tomorrow the Senate Finance Committee will report out an important trade promotion authority bill which will give us the opportunity — give the administration the opportunity to wrap up the Trans-Pacific agreement which has been under negotiation.”
“And I think particularly important for Republicans is we’re hoping there might be a president of a different party a year-and-a- half from now, and this is a TPA that goes for five or six years, thereby providing an opportunity for the next president should he or she want to be an active free-trader to send agreements up to us and get them approved.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Reid pick to succeed him as Democratic leader when he retires, had a different view on the dynamic when speaking to reporters today.
“I think Senator McConnell is learning a lesson: When he tries to divide us, he fails. It’s happened now on three different issues, and we hope, instead of him spending his time trying to divide us, that he works with us,” Schumer said.