Republicans are desperately scrambling to get in a single legislative accomplishment before the year ends, and their slim majority in the Senate gets even smaller.
Republicans know they’re in trouble.
The party that has had full control of Congress and the White House for nearly a year — and yet has still failed to pass a single significant piece of legislation — is going to have an ever harder time now, thanks to the stunning election of Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama this week.
So, in a state of complete panic, House and Senate Republicans rushed on Wednesday to cobble together a secret deal so they can vote next week on their deeply unpopular tax hike on the middle class.
Democrats have called on them to delay their vote until Jones is seated. It certainly seems like the right thing to do, and it’s what Democrats did in 2010 after Scott Brown won the special election in Massachusetts, delaying a vote on health care until Brown was sworn in.
But of course Republicans have demonstrated zero interest in doing the right thing and are rushing full speed ahead they can.
Which is why voters stormed the Senate on Wednesday to protest, chanting, “No Jones, no vote!”
“No Jones? No vote!”
“No Jones? No vote!” pic.twitter.com/pbSG98ULfq
— Ben Wikler (@benwikler) December 13, 2017
Republicans have made it clear that they don’t care what voters think of their bill. In fact, they’ve openly admitted it. Asked in November about his constituents’ opposition to the tax scam, New York Rep. Chris Collins responded, “Who cares?”
And for all the talk from Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, that the people of Alabama should decide who represents them, those same leaders are making it clear that they’re willing to overrule those same people of Alabama now, since they voted for Jones instead of alleged child molester Roy Moore.
That’s why the GOP would rather rush through its bill with the vote of its lame duck temporary senator, Luther Strange, who was appointed, not elected.
That Republicans would be pulling every dirty trick they can to make their tax scheme happen isn’t a surprise. After all, this is the same party that held a vacant Supreme Court seat hostage for almost a year, insisting that President Barack Obama did not have the authority to fill the vacant seat because that decision was best left up to the voters.
Aside from the fact that no such rule exists, and the Constitution dictates that the president appoints justices to the Supreme Court, Obama was elected twice with the clear and majority support of the voters. That’s something the current president, who lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots, cannot claim.
Republicans will certainly try to pass their bill before the end of the year, despite widespread opposition to it, to give themselves and Donald Trump something to claim as a victory.
But the Republican refusal to actually listen to the voters is going to keep costing them, as demonstrated in special elections throughout the country over the past year, in Virginia last month, and in Alabama on Tuesday. The more the GOP tries to impose its radical agenda, the more it will face severe consequences from an angry electorate — an angry electorate who will rebel by flipping seats no one ever thought could be flipped.