Before I start into the GOP-on-GOP war that took place last night while I was zoning out watching a David Crosby-lookalike save puppies on Animal Planet, I want to say that I am, for starters, whole-heartedly opposed to the feel-good, get-it-off-our-plate legislative approach some of our elected officials occasionally take with hotbutton issues. Last night, in a haste to get something on the record, Republican Senators attached a doomed-to-fail amendment to “defund” Planned Parenthood to the same highway bill I’m about to discuss, claiming that they were “working hard” to put an end to baby parts trafficking in this honorable country.
They weren’t. They were, as one friend termed it, engaging in “failure theater,” the practice of doing something, doomed to fail, just so they can claim to have done something about it. See also, shutting down the government over Obamacare. This happened last night, it got a bunch of people riled up, and all it did was boost a lagging Presidential candidate’s poll numbers briefly in an early caucus state.
But I digress. The sin of “failure theater” is nowhere near the high crimes committed in the name of the Ex-Im bank last night. It started on Friday, with a spat between Ted Cruz and Mitch McConnell on the Senate floor after the former discovered that the latter had shut down all of the conservative amendments (including a Quixotic repeal of Obamacare, and, ultimately, Cruz’s amendment forcing Iran to recognize Israel as part of their weapons deal) to the bill so that the latter’s Ex-Im bank extension (corporate welfare, how quaint!) could sail through a Senate vote without trouble, likely pursuant to a secret deal. After all, Boeing simply cannot live without those millions in taxpayer funds.
Last night, Ted Cruz asked for a roll call vote on his amendment. Denied.
Then, Mike Lee asked for a roll call vote on his (Obamacare) amendment. Denied.
Then, they were asked to approve a roll call vote on defunding Planned Parenthood. Denied.
Why? So that Mitch McConnell could prevent Democrats from filibustering the highway bill with the controversial amendments attached, just so that he could get his temporary Ex-Im bank reauthorization passed without delay. And that’s exactly what happened.
Lawmakers are pushing forward on must-pass highway legislation after an amendment reviving the federal Export-Import Bank provoked a heated clash on the Senate floor.
The amendment advanced over a procedural hurdle by a vote of 67-26 in an unusual Sunday session, and was likely to win approval Monday to be included on the highway bill. But that was only after senior Senate Republicans publicly rebuked Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, who last week accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of lying to him about whether there was a deal to allow the vote on the Export-Import Bank.
Conservatives strongly oppose the bank, calling it corporate welfare, and are trying to ensure that it stays dead after congressional inaction allowed it to expire June 30.
Three of the Senate’s highest-ranking Republicans rose after the Senate convened Sunday afternoon to counter the stunning floor speech Cruz gave on Friday in which he attacked McConnell, R-Ky.
Like I said before, sure, the Obamacare thing, the Planned Parenthood thing, even the Iran thing – they were never going to pass. They were all ploys, on the part of PR-seekers looking to get a temporary rise out of an electorate that has mostly forgotten they exist because Donald Trump keeps opening his yap and monopolizing airtime, that would allow them to go to their respective constituents, claim that the Mean Old Establishment Republicans were standing in the way of success, whilst they get away with not actually having to do anything meaningfull in pursuit of their platforms. Obamacare won’t be repealed, Planned Parenthood won’t be defunded, and Iran will recognize Israel when they use their newly-manufactured nuclear weapons to turn it into a sea of green glass.
But that’s only the second most egregious crime that took place here. After all, all of those amendments would have easily passed the House, had they made it through a Senate filibuster, making Barack Obama responsible for vetoing the efforts. I suppose, also, in some way, it puts Democrats on record as supporting an organization now revealed to be chopping babies up into bits and selling those bits for scientific research, too, though I don’t think Democrats care that much about it. The Republican leadership, which was, ostensibly, given a majority in a mid-term election less than a year ago, is already wasting that “mandate” on corporate welfare and a literal highway boondoggle. They weren’t elected to bash other Republicans over the head in their haste to hand out checks to their financial backers. They were elected to actually do something. And even the “failure theater” of doomed amendments is something exactly opposite of and more than McConnell actually did. Do Americans really want a party that claims to be in favor of “limited government” and “tax reform” and “debt relief,” to be making reauthorization of the Ex-Im bank theirir crowning jewel?
Anyway, this bill is headed for the House, which also has its own highway bill that doesn’t intentionally fill corporate coffers, so I suppose we’re in for a battle royale. Stay tuned.