After the House of Representatives has chosen a new Speaker (potentially today), the momentum for changes in GOP leadership could soon shift to the Senate. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has had two embarrassing mid-press conference freeze-ups in recent months, and that may be accelerating what was already a shift from the old-school McConnell-style leadership to control by those senators who arrived during and after the “Tea Party” years. In the Spectator, Terersa Mull explains Utah Sen. Mike Lee’s part in the potential shift, writing:
After the US House stole the spotlight last week, sources on the Hill say a similar, yet more “behind-closed-doors” brouhaha is brewing within the Senate.
In the face of a government shutdown, conservatives have been in “constant” cross-chamber communication. For instance, when the Schumer-McConnell bill, with its $6 billion of funding for Ukraine, was on the table the weekend before last, Senate Republicans were apprised that House Democrats were filibustering to get it passed.
As the House convened on Saturday September 30, and the Senate convened at noon for a 1 p.m. vote on the continuing resolution, Senate conservatives — led by Mike Lee, Rick Scott and Ron Johnson — urged their colleagues to withhold their votes to force the Democrats to pass the “clean” (free from Ukraine funding) CR. Had the House and Senate not been so “plugged-in” via meetings, texts, calls, dinners, etc., the Senate conservatives would not have been prepared to stand as firmly as they did.
A source within the Senate tells me overriding McConnell’s dictates “never happens” and is a sign of “a huge vibe shift” and an imminent Senate showdown.
Now that the conservative conference has realized something of a “jailbreak” from the old guard and proven their skill at accomplishing a reversal of the leadership’s dictates, they don’t want to relinquish their position. The CR win was a “training exercise;” next up is an anticipated battle over border policy. There is, my source says, a “huge spectrum of opinion” on funding Ukraine: some lawmakers are willing to trade it for border security; for others, nothing is worth the cost.
I asked Senator Lee what he and his conservative colleagues plan to do with the momentum they’ve garnered following the CR win. He said, “We have a lot to do before the end of the year, and limited time. Traditionally, the playbook has been to jam everyone up against the December holiday and demand passage of a bill no one has read or has had time to amend. We want to make sure the Republican conference does everything we can to avoid that scenario.”
As McConnell’s health decline becomes more apparent, the CR’s expiration (November 17) draws nearer, and conservatives in the House and Senate collaborate more effectively, expect the coming months to involve a lot more “unprecedented” events.
Read more here.