Mitch McConnell was quick to assure the world the other day in the Rose Garden that he and Donald Trump were “totally together on this agenda to move America forward,” but if you talk to members of the House and Senate, the forward momentum may be over the cliff in 2018 insofar as keeping a Republican majority in both chambers is concerned. Vanity Fair:
Such dissent within the Senate has rankled the White House, which hasn’t been coy about its frustrations with the upper chamber. “The House passed health care, the House has already passed its budget, which is the first step of tax reform. The Senate hasn’t done any of that. “Hell, the Senate can’t pass any of our confirmations,” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said in an interview with Politico. “You ask me if the Republican-controlled Senate is an impediment to the administration’s agenda: all I can tell you is so far, the answer’s yes.” Other G.O.P. lawmakers have expressed similar frustrations—asked to name the biggest obstacle to tax reform, House speaker Paul Ryan said, “You ever heard of the United States Senate before?”
“I was really not happy that this Congress couldn’t control its own members and get to a winning vote on health care,” Republican Senator David Perdue of Georgia added. “This tax code is something we’ve got to do. We’ve got to do that this year. It’s a test of the Republican majority.”
In the face of blowback from the White House and the lower chamber, Senate Republicans must also contend with the potential consequences of failing to pass a tax-reform bill, which many fear could be disastrous. “If we don’t cut taxes and we don’t eventually repeal and replace Obamacare, then we’re going to lose across the board in the House in 2018. And all of my colleagues running in primaries in 2018 will probably get beat,” Senator Lindsey Graham said during an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday. “It will be the end of Mitch McConnell as we know it.”
The end of The Tortoise. Tsk tsk tsk. And that could lead to the end of The Hair if the House loses its majority in 2018. McConnell has been trying to telegraph this basic reality to tone deaf and obtuse Trump for the past nine months, starting out with the comment that Trump had “excessive expectations” when McConnell was targeted on twitter for the first time over the repeal and replace mantra. If both the House and the Senate lose their majorities in 2018, then strike up the band for “Happy Days Are Here Again,” because we could be looking at a greatly improved picture.