Anatomy of a Surrender

Despite being the senior senator from Texas, John Cornyn has been unwilling to stand tough for Republican priorities in the face of opposition from the Democrats. That was on full display in the recent spending bill debacle. Just as bad, he has been unwilling to enforce Senate rules to gain confirmation of President Trump’s nominees for important executive branch offices.

Sadly, most Republicans talk conservative, govern to the left, and fold when holding four aces. That’s been as true on spending bills as presidential nominees.

Envisioned as a bulwark of liberty in our constitutional republic, the US Senate has devolved into a comfortable club for the risk-averse. Most Senate Republicans are little more than the gilded relics of a bygone era. They are at best unwilling to fight the Democrats, and at worst actively colluding with them in opposition to the Trump Administration.

For example, despite Republican control of the House, Senate, and White House, NY’s liberal Sen. Chuck Schumer enacted more of Obama’s policy in the recent Omnibus Appropriations Act than Obama did in his last term. Upon final passage, Schumer said, “We feel good. We produced a darn good bill.”

That’s a damning assessment of the leadership that produced the bill.

Whatever the expectations might be elsewhere in the country, Texans need members of Congress who will do more than send out self-congratulatory press releases about how they “fight” for us. While the Comfortable Caucus in the GOP makes a big deal at home about being “fighters,” they are too often mute on the matters over which they have actual responsibility in DC. We elect them to cut the size and scope of government, not pontificate on social media only to then capitulate when the Democrats snarl.

Right now, Schumer is playing the Senate GOP Leadership for fools as it regards President Trump’s nominees for key executive branch appointments requiring confirmation.

Today, Rule XXII of the Senate is being violated because Cornyn and many of his colleagues refuse to fight for Trump’s nominees. (Sen. Ted Cruz has publicly stated he supports fighting the Democrats, but as is often the case Cornyn refuses to stand with him.)

Senate Rule XXII allows up to 30 hours of debate per nominee pending before the Senate for confirmation. The Rules clearly state that each Senator can only debate each nomination for one hour at a time and no more than two hours total, up to a grand total of 30 hours per nominee.

Instead, the Senate GOP leadership is simply delaying the votes when Democrats express their intent to talk. Yet Democrats are not being forced to talk; the Republican leadership is refusing to enforce Rule XXII.

Bluntly, Chuck Schumer is deciding when President Trump’s nominees are confirmed by the Senate because Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his sidekick, Majority Whip John Cornyn, are too busy co-chairing the risk-averse subcommittee of the Comfortable Caucus.

Rather than play footsies with the Democrats, Cornyn and McConnell should man up and enforce the Senate’s rules. Make Schumer and the Democrats line up and debate each nominee’s merits. Put the Democrats’ obstructionist resolve to the test and on full display!

Cornyn will tell us that the Senate Majority Leader schedules the Senate floor, not him, and that’s true. But as previously noted, Cornyn is doing nothing to change the status quo. It appears that while he wants the trappings of power and to be in the room where powerful decisions are made, Big John doesn’t want the responsibility that comes with it.

Texans expect our congressional delegation to fight against the swamp, not dance to the alligators’ whistles.

Rachel Bovard of the Conservative Partnership Institute recently wrote, “As it stands, without political supervision, career bureaucrats are consistently undermining the president’s directives. The Senate’s laziness is directly obfuscating the president’s ability to implement his agenda.”

If John Cornyn was as tough in DC as he pretends to be in Texas, there should be no problem getting timely floor votes on the president’s nominees. If he wants us to recognize how powerful he is, then he should exercise that power rather than cede it to the Democrats as he has been doing.

It’s well past time for John Cornyn and Mitch McConnell to step up and do the right thing.

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Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael is the CEO of Empower Texans. A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president, and an Eagle Scout, Sullivan is married with three children. He divides his time between the Metroplex, the rest of Texas, and Austin.

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