Kill (the) Bill
A round-up of U.S. Politics this week in a 2 min read, including Kevin McCarthy’s marathon speech to delay the Build Back Better Act, as well as Donald Trump’s new insult for Mitch McConnell…
One of the most consequential bills in decades, the Build Back Better Act, was passed by the House last week, in which $2.2 trillion will be spent to fight climate change, expand health care and shore up the nation’s social safety net. As the bill’s passage was met by unanimous Republican opposition, the House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, made a final and futile attempt to prevent it passing by speaking for a record 8.5 hours non-stop.
You may wonder that if someone were to speak for that long (many people run marathons in half that time), that there surely would have been a strategic goal in play. The first that comes to mind would be to prevent the house voting on the bill – the theory being that he could simply run down the clock, in the same way that a football team does when ahead of the scoreboard with minutes remaining. Unfortunately for Mr McCarthy, House Democrats sensed what he was up to after the first hour and started to leave the chamber early, reconvening at 8am the following morning (just three hours after Mr McCarthy succumbed to exhaustion at 5.14am) and began the final series of votes, which eventually reached the required threshold after final round negotiations to convince wavering Democrats.
A second, perhaps more plausible objective for this marathon dialogue was to direct it at one person – former President Donald Trump – a show of loyalty if you will. Their relationship hit a rough patch back in January when, in the aftermath of the deadly Capitol riots, Kevin McCarthy stated that the President at the time bore some responsibility for the insurrection. Since then he has backtracked on his comments.
What his speech certainly wasn’t was an opportunity to showcase his talent as a natural orator, ahead of next year’s mid-terms in which many fear he will replace Nancy Pelosi to become House speaker. However, this was no Obama-esque speech containing uplifting themes of hope and unity – unfortunately, he used up his pre-prepared speech within an hour, in which he fell back on populist Republican attack lines of socialism, immigration and Democrats hating their country. After that, his diatribe quickly disintegrated, losing any substance, structure or sense for that matter, and continued that way for another 7.5 rambling hours…
To be fair, is there was one genuine accomplishment, it was that he broke the previous record set by the House’s current speaker, Nancy Pelosi, who stood in heels for eight hours in 2018 in an attempt to force a debate on immigration. So if that was the intention all along, fair play…
And speaking of rocky relationships, it is not only Don & Kev’s that needs work… Over at Mar-a-Lago, Trump launched fresh assaults on Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell. A once fruitful partnership which confirmed more than 200 conservative judges to the federal judiciary, things began to sour when again, this former ally criticized him for supporting the insurgents who attacked the Capitol.
For readers who haven’t actually seen an image of Mitch, his critics have for many years (reasonably) observed his likeliness to a turtle. Democrats, not prepared to descend to playground-taunts based on physical appearances, frequently referred to him as ‘Moscow Mitch’ during the investigations into Russian influence in U.S. elections. Neither of these were enough for Trump – one theory being that, as a self-styled marketing man, he never actually came up with the turtle or Moscow Mitch monikers himself. Indeed, every insult tweeted of political opponents previously (think ‘Sleepy Joe’; Crooked Hillary; Lyin’ Ted; Little Marco; the list goes on) were a product of his enviable wit.
Now, devoid of power and Twitter, Trump has been reduced to posting insults on his Save America website. Other than McConnell’s perceived disloyalty regarding the insurrection, Trump’s main ire is McConnell’s support of Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure package. Not satisfied with only throwing insults, Trump also encourages his old foe to employ the Republican playbook of opposing everything led by Democrats, regardless if it helps ordinary Americans:
“Use the debt ceiling like it should have been used, you Old Broken Crow,” he said.
Check out more stories like this article on Kevin McCarthy’s speech here.