The paltry list of accomplishments has given Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer an opening to portray the GOP as devoid of any agenda and could endanger Republicans at risk in a tough election cycle. And there’s a growing recognition within the GOP that it needs to do more.
McConnell and his deputy, Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), are telling committee chairmen to start approving bills and get them ready for the floor, according to Republican senators. Some lawmakers are optimistic that by August, they will have passed a bill lowering health care costs along with defense policy legislation. Approval of a new North American trade deal this year is also a possibility, as is a bipartisan deal to lift stiff budget caps.
“It will definitely change soon,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who Democrats are eager to challenge next year. “I like policy and legislation. So, that’s my preference. But I certainly understand that due to the obstructionist tactics, regrettably, we had a huge backlog that we had to clear out.”…
“We ought to be less risk-averse. And I don’t think I’m the only one who believes that. I just think I’m just the only one foolish enough to say that,” Kennedy said. “Every time I talk about this, some knucklehead tries to spin it as a criticism of Mitch, and it’s really not.”