WITT: McConnell abuses power in Congress. It’s time for him to go.

Published 10:39 am Tuesday, September 29, 2020

It’s no secret that the general election is one week away.

It is also no secret that Sen. Mitch McConnell is seeking his seventh term as senator from Kentucky.

The senator’s record should be the major factor illustrating why he does not deserve re-election.

The following items are only some of the most recent actions of his that suggest that it is time for him to be replaced, but first it should be stated that, despite his seniority in the Senate, he has accomplished very little for the people of Kentucky despite his having been sent the Washington six times to represent us.

His unacceptable actions cannot be fully cataloged here, but his vote in favor of the $700 million bailout of Wall Street in 2008, a nice Republican giveaway to wealthy donors, and by 2014, he had already voted against raising the minimum wage 15 times is a reasonable start.

In February 2019, he introduced legislation to remove the estate tax on the top 1,700 (the top two-tenths of 1 percent) wealthiest families in America.

In March 2019, he refused to consider legislation making Election Day a holiday so more people can vote.  He described it as a Democrat ploy to increase their own votes, perhaps admitting that more votes would go to the Democrats than to Republicans if more people could vote.

On May 6, 2019, McConnell, in a speech before the Senate, suggested that the time for “partisan paralysis” was over and the Mueller report should be allowed to rest.  This from the man who was solely responsible for delaying the appointment of a Supreme Court justice for a full year because the appointment was from a Democrat president (Obama).

In May 2019, McConnell said he would push the appointment of another Supreme Court justice in 2020 if one were presented.  This despite his despicable actions in 2016 in refusing to confirm an Obama nomination in an election year.

Again in May 2019, McConnell refused to call a vote on legislation designed to impede foreign interference in American elections.

The following month, he blocked a vote in the Senate on securing American elections from foreign interference.

In July 2019, McConnell refused to bring to the Senate floor proposals to strengthen voter security despite the fact foreign countries were actively working to usurp the system and the fact that the bills were reported favorably by the Senate Intelligence Committee and proposed by a bipartisan coalition.

In August 2019, he refused to call the Senate back into session to discuss possible gun legislation immediately after two mass shootings in Ohio and Texas.

He refused to consider such legislation saying that he didn’t want to come up with something that the president wouldn’t support, rather than taking the lead and perhaps assuming that overwhelming Congressional support might convince the president to support such legislation.

In December 2019, he stated publicly that he was coordinating the Senate impeachment trial with counsel of the White House, a clear conflict of interest, and in conjunction with that revelation later took the following oath: “I solemnly swear (or affirm) that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of [the president], now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and law: So help me God.”

In March 2020, it was reported that McConnell was working behind the scenes to try to get sitting federal judges to retire prior to the November elections so that new conservative judges could be named in case the Democrats take the presidency.

On May 4, 2020, he was pushing to have a second coronavirus stimulus bill include corporate immunity so that workers would not have access to courts even if they contracted the virus because of the flagrant actions of employers.

Also in May, he called the Senate back to session – despite contrary advice of doctors in the midst of the pandemic – not to address the pandemic or to protect small businesses and vulnerable workers, but to confirm the nomination of his former staff member to a federal judge position and despite the ABA assessment that the designee was not qualified.

On June 3, he blocked a resolution condemning President Donald Trump for using force against peaceful protesters so he could make a public appearance with a Bible at a local Washington church.

In July, he was promoting the Republican proposal in the Senate to reduce unemployment benefits by two-thirds in the second relief bill.

McConnell has shown that he is astutely adept at keeping bipartisan bills from coming to a vote, of delaying Democrat nominees’ consideration to courts, at steamrolling every Republican and conservative issue through the Senate, but he has shown himself totally inept when it comes to getting a badly needed second relief bill moving through the Senate.

His most blatant abuse of power came within 24 hours of the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

In 2016, he was responsible for a Supreme Court vacancy of 427 days, refusing to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch.

Yet, he has indicated his willingness to push through any Trump nominee in the remaining days before the Nov. 3 General Election.

This is only a partial litany of the plethora of scurrilous actions taken by McConnell as he has more and more blatantly abused his power as Senate leader.

In one of the senator’s television ads, a supporter suggests that “during this time of crisis, we need an experienced person in the Senate, not a newcomer.”  Wrong.  We need new thought processes in the Senate which are receptive to new ideas and less focused on simply maintaining power.

It is time to retire McConnell.

Chuck Witt is a retired architect and a lifelong resident of Winchester. He can be reached at chuck740@bellsouth.net.