"If Republicans are afraid to bring their standard-bearer’s policies up for votes, Democrats will hold Republicans accountable by seeking floor votes on Trump’s policies ourselves.” - Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid
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The always wily Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, has hatched a plan to put Republican senators on the record about the controversial policies promoted by Donald Trump, including whether to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.
Reid's plan is diabolically clever in several ways. It not only forces Republicans to either endorse or repudiate the contentious policies advanced by the party's frontrunner, it thwarts Senate Leader Mitch McConnell's plan for a low key session.
McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have been butting heads on how their respective bodies should proceed in this election year. Ryan, who feels (thanks to gerrymandering) his majority is not in jeopardy, wants to placate his rambunctious House Freedom Caucus with votes on issues like Obamacare, abortion, and how much they hate President Obama. McConnell, on the other hand wants to concentrate on the budget, to protect the 24 Republican senators up for reelection from having to make a controversial vote.
"It’s not going to be titillating,” McConnell told reporters, adding “I’m trying to avoid turning the Senate into a (television) studio.”
Harry Reid however, wants to turn on the klieg lights, releasing this press statement promising to make senators take a position on Trump - who we know does not take criticism well.
“As Congressional Republicans gather today and tomorrow for their annual retreat, Donald Trump will be a frequent topic of discussion. Since Republican leaders in the House and Senate have pledged loyalty to Trump, the obvious next step is to vote on his policies, including his unconstitutional plan to bar people from entering the United States based on their religion. Democrats believe no one should be discriminated against because of their faith. These votes will give all Senators a chance to take a stand on the policy issues dominating the public debate – and Republicans a chance to stand with the frontrunner for their nomination. Scheduling the votes can be done easily and efficiently under an open amendment process, with no interference to the light workload Senate Republican leaders have announced for 2016.
“If Republicans are afraid to bring their standard-bearer’s policies up for votes, Democrats will hold Republicans accountable by seeking floor votes on Trump’s policies ourselves.”
While most Senate Republicans have not supported Trump's promise to ban Muslims from entering the country, they've also been reluctant to publicly disagree with him. Having to go on the record with their support (or lack of support) for Trump is something they want to avoid.
"It's worth noting that what's good for the goose is good for the gander," McConnell told reporters, "and so you could expect amendments that they might not like related to the Sanders or Clinton campaigns."
Photo is from Harry Reid's Facebook album