By keeping the Senate in session a mere 2.5 days a week, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is allowing vulnerable Democrats four extra days a week to hit the campaign trail. Senate Republicans have a historic majority advantage, with only eight seats to defend to Democrats’ 23. Will McConnell’s lazy Senate be enough to waste it?
CPI’s Rachel Bovard writes in The Hill. To read the whole piece, follow the link below.
The lazy Senate is helping Democrats win re-election
If you’re a conservative in Washington, things are going poorly.
Republican majorities in Washington have failed to repeal ObamaCare and are instead likely to bail it out. There is criticism that the GOP tax plan may raise taxeson the middle class. The hardest-won conservative spending victory in decades, the Budget Control Act, is about to be undone. And the Senate is only working 2.5 days a week.
To add insult to injury, the Senate’s schedule is playing right into the hands of Democrats running for reelection.
A primary goal for any majority leader is to strengthen and grow his majority. A key tool in his political war chest is the power to force senators to stay in Washington and work, as opposed to allowing them to go home and campaign.
In the Senate, this tool is particularly potent.
Unlike the House of Representatives, where every member is up for re-election at the same time, only one-third of the Senate is up for re-election in each two-year cycle. A politically savvy leader will use these numbers to inform the Senate’s schedule. If his party has more seats to defend, he will try his best to create a schedule that allows his members to go home more often. If the minority party has more seats in cycle, however, he will make the Senate work harder to deny his political opposition campaign time.
This is a bare-knuckle but fundamental way for a majority party to protect and expand its Senate seats, and to threaten those of the minority. For decades, majority leaders have operated under this dictum.
That is, until now.
The upcoming 2018 cycle favors the Senate Republican majority by fifteen seats. Republicans are only defending eight seats, while Democrats must defend twenty-three. This is a disparity so huge that, according to data analyzed by the Conservative Partnership, it’s the largest advantage ever held by a majority party in American history.