Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Editorials

February 14, 2014

The right move

McConnell chooses responsible government over shutdown

ASHLAND — Faced with the possibility of Republicans being blamed for another government shutdown, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell chose responsible government over a move advocated by Tea Party Republicans led by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. In so doing, the Kentucky Republican who is being challenged by Louisville businessman Matt Bevin in the May primary in his bid to be elected to a sixth six-year Senate term may have lost some support among Tea Party Republicans but he should have earned the appreciation of Kentuckians tired of a dysfunctional Congress that seems to be always bringing our government to the brink of financial collapse.

At issue this time around was legislation to raise the nation’s borrowing authority with no strings attached. The bill was short of the 60 votes it needed to advance — a threshold Cruz demanded — and without a few conversions, Republicans would be blamed for its failure.

After a long delay, a grim-faced McConnell finally voted yes. An equally grim-faced Sen. John Cornyn, the party’s No. 2 leader and Cruz’s Texas colleague, changed his vote from no to yes.

Cruz showed no mercy in exposing Republican leaders to widespread criticism from their primary challengers over a procedural vote on the debt limit after their pronouncements about the imperative of spending cuts. It could have been a simple 50-vote requirement, with Democrats delivering the votes to lift the debt limit, but Cruz insisted.

After McConnell and Cornyn opposed his move, Cruz was unapologetic.

“It should have been a very easy vote,” Cruz, a first-term senator, told reporters. “In my view, every Senate Republican should have stood together.” He added the verdict on McConnell “is ultimately a decision ... for the voters in Kentucky.”

Of course, Bevin seized the opportunity to criticize McConnell.

 “Kentucky and America can literally no longer afford such financially reckless behavior from the likes of Mitch McConnell,” Bevin said in a statement.

The Madison Project, a conservative group backing Bevin, accused McConnell of giving President Barack Obama “a blank check.” That’s nonsense. Just because McConnell prefers to keep government running rather than preventing it from borrowing money to pay its bills hardly represents a “blank check.” Ultimately, Congress still controls government spending.

Ironically, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where the Tea Party wing of the GOP has more strength than in the Senate, had already approved lifting the debt limit with no strings attached prior to Wednesday’s  Senate vote. Apparently, House GOP members had received enough criticism from their constituents about last fall’s government shutdown to not repeat that action.

Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, share much of the blame for precipitating the 16-day government shutdown with their demand that President Obama gut his 3-year-old health-care law. The quest had the backing of the Senate Conservatives Fund and other outside groups that raised millions during the process — and spent a good chunk of it to boost GOP challengers such as Bevin and Chris McDaniel, who is running against Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran.

Learning from the negative impact of the shutdown on their support, Republicans are intent on avoiding the drama of market-rattling fiscal fights, especially in an election year in which the party sees a legitimate shot at adding Senate control to their majority in the House. But Cruz is unwilling to step back from the fight, even if it undercuts his party’s strategy.

“Today was a classic victory for Washington establishment interests, and the people who lost today are the American people,” Cruz said after the vote.

But Republican Sens. Bob Corker and John McCain praised the courage of McConnell and Cornyn, who avoided days of uncertainty over whether the nation might default.

“People will see McConnell and Cornyn voted in a responsible way,” Corker said.

Indeed they did.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • Positive trend

    For those adults who have a low opinion of American teenagers, Uncle Sam’s latest study of worrisome behavior among teens provides some good news: Teens are smoking less, drinking less and fighting less. Most forms of drug use, weapons use and risky sex also are declining — and have been since 1991, the year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first started surveying teens about  their behavior.

    July 24, 2014

  • Research's value

    In pushing for a higher education reform bill in the late 1990s, former Gov. Paul Patton set an ambitious goal of having the University of Kentucky become a Top 20 research university by 2020. UK has yet to accomplish that goal, but UK and the University of Louisville both have made great advances in research in recent years.

    July 24, 2014

  • Deadline is near

    People with Kentucky driver’s licenses may soon be required to show a passport or some other accepted form of federal identification to enter “restricted” or “semi-restricted” areas of federal facilities, including federal courthouses, military bases, federal prisons and a wide range of other federal offices.

    July 23, 2014

  • Issue is safety

    The Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s Board of Control has recommended softball  “players at first base, third base and pitcher utilize the permissive requirement in the playing rules and wear face/head protection.”

    July 23, 2014

  • More difficult

    In a state like Kentucky with the number of adults who have not graduated from high school is much higher than the national average, undereducated adults have been encouraged to earn high-school equivalency degrees by studying for, taking and passing the General Educational Development (GED) test.

    May 22, 2014

  • Primary election sends messages

    The voters — or at least the minority who took the time to go to the polls Tuesday — have spoken, with Boyd County voters sending mixed messages in the county-wide races that gathered the most attention.

    May 21, 2014

  • Click it or Ticket

    "Click it or Ticket” is a phrase used so often in recent years most of us hardly give it a thought.

    May 21, 2014

  • Top trooper

    Thumbs up to Trooper First Class Shane Goodall of Flatwoods for being named 2013 Trooper of the Year for Kentucky.

    May 20, 2014

  • 05/18/2014 — This Week in the Tri-State

    Local news

    May 18, 2014

  • 0518greene.jpeg Greene-Lounsberry

    John and Eva Greene of Greenup are proud to announce the engagement of their daughter, Stacey Nicole Greene, to Jonathan Wesley Lounsberry.

    May 18, 2014 1 Photo