Despite a concerted effort in recent months to reach consensus on a series of issues and vindicate the enduring viability of the upper chamber, lawmakers in the Senate have begun encountering serious roadblocks to cooperation that have led Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to declare, “It’s pretty clear the era of bipartisanship is over,” as The Hill reported.
Asserting that Senate Democrats have shown no desire to collaborate with the GOP, McConnell laid particular criticism at the feet of Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), saying that his June agenda is chock full of bills that are far too radical to garner much, if any, Republican support, as the Post Millennial noted.
Mitch McConnell says he thinks “the era of bipartisanship is over.” pic.twitter.com/jOhg0lqY0D
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) June 9, 2021
McConnell pointed to Schumer’s push to pass a specific bill – the Paycheck Fairness Act – as the key indicator that the spirit of cooperation that had prevailed during the first part of the year has “come to a screeching halt.” Calling the measure “a giveaway to the plaintiff lawyers in America,” the senator from Kentucky lamented what he views as a sign of things to come.
According to McConnell, the Democrats appear poised to present “a series of totally partisan bills designed to get no Republican support,” adding that “the majority leader has decided that June is kind of a check-the-box month with all of the extreme leftwing provisions that they support that have been coming out of the House.”
The Republican’s dire assessment comes on the heels of the passage earlier in the week of a bill intended to foster competitiveness with China, a measure to which both parties pointed as an example of laudable cooperation toward the purpose of crafting important, effective legislation, as The Hill reported.
Despite the goodwill engendered by that achievement, however, partisan tempers flared almost immediately when the GOP took steps to block progress on the aforementioned Paycheck Fairness bill, marking the second instance during President Joe Biden’s tenure in which Republicans made use of the filibuster rules currently under attack from the party’s progressive flank.
The apparent erosion of bipartisan collaboration comes at time when Democrats are grappling with internal disputes over the need to even attempt compromise with members across the aisle. Far-left “Squad” firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) railed on Wednesday, “Dems are buning previous time & impact negotiating w/GOP who won’t even vote for a Jan 6 commission. McConnell’s plan is to run out the clock. It’s a hustle. We need to move now.”
However, thanks to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and – likely – Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Democrats lack the votes to eliminate the filibuster, a fact which will hopefully bring down progressive hopes of forcing an extremely radical agenda onto a largely unwilling electorate.