Mitch McConnell is breaking the Senate

Will the majority leader’s desire to win lead him to wreck the institution he says he loves?

It’s like solving a Rubik’s cube, Mitch McConnell says.

Put in some opioid treatment cash here. Take out a big tax cut there. Throw some money at Alaska here. Overhaul regulations there.

Turn the bill this way, turn it that way, plead, persuade, threaten, bargain — until 50 out of 52 Republican senators are won over.

If he can pull off that fiendishly difficult task, he wins.

His prize? The federal government will spend hundreds of billions less on health care. Spending on Medicaid, the main program covering low-income Americans, will fall dramatically. Millions of people — tens of millions, by the latest estimates — will lose their health insurance. Years more instability and bitter political conflict over health care will ensue.

And the Senate majority leader would get a historic legislative achievement to his name. “Every Republican senator has been elected or reelected on repealing Obamacare. And he’s a guy who wants to win,” one McConnell insider told me.

But the cost will be that the legislative body he leads and has long claimed to deeply value will be changed forever.

That’s because the tactics McConnell is using to get his win — which have entailed previously unimaginable amounts of secrecy, speed, and utter disregard for public opinion — are a blueprint that future Senate majorities will surely use for their own purposes.

“McConnell has unleashed a whole series of forces that ultimately could really transform the Senate in a bad way,” says Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute. “And if these tactics succeed, they’re going to be emulated.”

This is ironic because McConnell has long claimed to have deeply held beliefs about the unique role the …read more

Source:: Vox – All

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