The American people elected a Republican majority to the U.S. Senate believing that a Republican majority would be somehow different from a Democratic majority. Unfortunately, the way the current Senate operates, there is one party, the Washington party.
Senate leadership consists of the Mitch McConnell-Harry Reid leadership team. They operate as a team. They support the same priorities.
If you look at what has occurred in the U.S. Senate since Republicans took a majority, we immediately returned after winning a historic majority to pass a trillion-dollar “CRomnibus” bill filled with corporate welfare and pork. Then, the so-called Republican majority voted to fund Obamacare. Then, the so-called Republican majority voted to fund President Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty. Then, the so-called Republican majority voted to confirm Loretta Lynch as attorney general. Then, the so-called Republican majority voted to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, an egregious example of cronyism and corporate welfare.
Every one of those is the priority of the Minority Leader Harry Reid. Every one of those is the priority of the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell. They operate as a team, expanding Washington and undermining the liberty of the people.
What we saw in the Senate on Sunday is unprecedented in the annals of Senate history. It consisted of the majority leader and the minority leader denying members the ability to have votes on their amendments and indeed the ability even to have a roll-call vote. The denial of a second for a vote, which was aggressively whipped by the Republican majority, is an extraordinary measure designed to gag senators and enforce the will of the McConnell-Reid leadership team.
It saddens me as a Republican to see Republican leadership lead the effort to kill an amendment that would have prevented lifting sanctions on Iran unless and until Iran recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and unless and until Iran releases American hostages.
Make no mistake, granting a sufficient second for a roll call vote is done customarily in the Senate. Denying it is extraordinary, and it is done as a consequence of McConnell’s being afraid for his members to be on record on this issue.
We then, subsequently, saw Sen. Mike Lee of Utah bring up his amendment to defund Planned Parenthood. We have seen in recent weeks gruesome videos of senior officials of Planned Parenthood discussing the selling of body parts of unborn children. These videos are horrifying, and yet it saddens me greatly that the Republican leader led the effort to continue the taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood.
Make no mistake, when the majority leader whipped Republicans to vote alongside Democrats, it was no surprise that Democrats did not want to vote on that because Democrats in this chamber do not purport to support the right to life. But to see the so-called Republican leadership whip against allowing a vote to defund Planned Parenthood—it has the virtue of clarity. It makes clear that the McConnell-Reid leadership team is united in favor of big government spending and debt and power.
The McConnell-Reid leadership team has no interest in cutting off one penny of funds to Planned Parenthood, which is why leader Mitch McConnell blocked a vote on defunding Planned Parenthood.
To the millions of Americans who rallied in November believing if only we got a Republican majority in the Senate something would be different, this was a clarifying and a sad moment.