Disagrees with McConnell’s assessment of Republican accomplishments

Published 9:24 am Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Dear Editor,

Sen. McConnell’s recent op-ed celebrated Republican accomplishments in 2017. My disagreements with his assessments begin with his first sentence, which states “the American people sent President Trump to the White House.” 

No, the Electoral College sent Mr. Trump to the White House. He lost the popular (people’s) vote by almost 3 million votes.

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My second disagreement comes with the statement “Congress has achieved a number of priorities … for the people we represent.” I do not believe that the majority of Kentuckians wanted you to steal a Supreme Court seat, as you did when you denied Merrick Garland (an exceptionally qualified candidate) a hearing and vote in the Senate and allowed a hearing and vote on Neil Gorsuch.  

I disagree that his use of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal 14 regulations in the first 60 days of the Trump administration was something to be proud of, as the CRA had only been used once prior to this administration. Here again, McConnell chose to bypass the deliberative processes of Congress. Among the regulations repealed was one that sought to keep those with disabling mental illness from buying guns (bravo!) and another that limited the way mines dump debris when clearing earth in order to prevent destruction of area streams and forests (again, bravo!).  

McConnell has shifted the non-existent “war on coal” to a real war on coal miner’s health and safety, as he also seeks to repeal coal dust limits in mines, put in place to combat black lung disease.

Next, I disagree with McConnell’s statement that the tax “overhaul” bill will “deliver much needed economic relief to hardworking Kentucky families.” Most assessments that I have seen indicate it will be a wash for most middle-income families and will eventually mean tax increases for most lower- and middle-income households.  

I wish he would be honest and admit that the most benefit will go to the upper 1 percent and it will increase the deficit by trillions of dollars so that your Republican colleagues can go after “entitlements” (when did that become a bad word?) like Social Security and Medicare.

My 2017 assessment is that McConnell is a master of the rules of the Senate and how to use and manipulate them for his own ends. But his major accomplishment would be that he has destroyed “regular order” and the role of the Senate as a deliberative body.  

Congratulations, Mr. Majority Leader.

Julie Pease