Senate

McConnell: GOP-controlled Senate a ‘firewall’ against Pelosi agenda

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pledged Thursday that Republicans, if they keep control of the Senate in November, will be a “firewall” against Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) priorities.

“I am immensely proud of the work the Republican Senate has done. We are the firewall against Nancy Pelosi’s agenda. Like President Trump, we won’t be bullied by a liberal media intent on destroying America’s institutions,” McConnell said during taped remarks delivered during the final night of the virtual Republican National Convention.

“The stakes have never been higher. Which is why I’m asking you to support Republican Senate candidates across the country and reelect my friend, President Donald Trump,” he added.

McConnell outlined a list of items he believes Democrats will try to pass if they win control of the Senate, including allowing Washington, D.C., to become a state.

“They want to codify all of this by making the swamp itself — Washington, D.C. — America’s 51st state. With two more liberal senators, we cannot undo the damage they’ve done,” he said.

McConnell added that Democrats wanted to “tell you what kind of car you can drive, what sources of information are credible, and even how many hamburgers you can eat.”

The line appeared to be a veiled swipe at the Green New Deal climate change proposal, which Republicans have argued would lead to restrictions on beef because it calls for removing greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as technologically feasible.

Republicans are fighting to hang onto the Senate majority in November, after winning back control of the chamber in 2014. They hold a 53-47 margin, meaning Democrats need to gain a net total of either three seats and the White House or four seats for an outright majority.

McConnell has previously warned that he views roughly eight Senate seats as battleground races, and that the fight for the majority could “go either way.” Political handicappers view as Democrats having increasing momentum to regain the Senate.

While Republicans are considered likely to defeat Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Republicans are defending seats in several close races, including Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Montana and North Carolina. McConnell is running for a seventh term and viewed as the favorite to win, though some polls have indicated the race could be close.

McConnell has tied himself closely to Trump, despite some high-profile fights since 2016 and starkly different personalities. The GOP leader is known for being tightlipped and strategic, while the president weighs in on any topic, at times undercutting his administration’s message.

McConnell has also positioned Senate Republicans, and himself as majority leader, to be a “grim reaper” for progressive policies even if Democrats hold onto the House and win back the White House.

During his speech delivered Thursday night, McConnell characterized Democrats as being out of touch with the middle of America, arguing they view it as “flyover country.” McConnell is the only one of the four congressional leaders who is not from either New York, like Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), or California, like Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.). Trump is also from New York.

Democrats “prefer that all of us in flyover country keep quiet and let them decide how we should live our lives. They want to tell you when you can go to work. When your kids can go to school. They want to tax your job out of existence, and then send you a government check for unemployment,” McConnell said.

“They want to defund the police and take away your Second Amendment rights. … They want to pack the Supreme Court with liberals intent on eroding our constitutional rights,” he added.

Republicans have leaned heavily into “cancel culture” and characterizing Democrats as anti-law enforcement during their four-day convention. Though some progressives have called for nixing police funding, congressional Democrats, including Pelosi, as well as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, sought to shut down those calls earlier this year.

McConnell’s decision to highlight what a GOP-controlled Senate could prevent from happening comes after Schumer, who would become the majority leader if Democrats win back the Senate, used his party’s convention last week to highlight what legislation they would want to pass if they regain the majority.

Schumer added in a tweet on Thursday night that McConnell “is the self proclaimed ‘Grim Reaper.'”

“And he has buried more than 400 bills in his legislative graveyard in the Senate on everything from health care to voting rights,” Schumer added.

Tags 2020 republican convention battle for Senate majority Charles Schumer D.C. statehood defund the police Donald Trump doug jones Green New Deal Joe Biden Kentucky Kevin McCarthy Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi

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