When Mitch McConnell wants to destroy you, you’ll know it.
The Senate minority leader has declared war against the Senate Conservatives Fund, an outside group supporting his Republican primary opponent, Matt Bevin. But rather than moving on and focusing on his Democratic opponent, McConnell and his allies have trained their attacks on SCF and its allies — with no apparent endgame in sight.
The latest salvo came Monday, when National Review published a story that detailed the Kentucky senator’s deep displeasure with Nebraska GOP candidate Ben Sasse for being endorsed by the conservative group. McConnell let him know about it during a one-on-one meeting earlier this month.
“As he walked out of the room, Sasse turned to [McConnell adviser Josh] Holmes — ‘That didn’t go well!’ ” wrote NR‘s Jonathan Strong.
The report also revealed that pressure from “McConnell allies” forced SCF’s bookkeeper into leaving the group last week.
Right now, McConnell is fighting a three-front war: Bevin, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, and the outside conservative group. At times, his campaign seems most focused on the latter:
““ In early November, the National Republican Senatorial Committee announced it would not issue contracts to Jamestown Associates because of the work the conservative consulting group did with SCF. This moment, according to Republicans on both sides of the feud, was the spark that lit the fuse of the ongoing battle.
““ The no-holds-barred approach to outside critics was best described by Holmes, in the same New York Times story. “SCF has been wandering around the country destroying the Republican Party like a drunk who tears up every bar they walk into,” Holmes said. “The difference this cycle is that they strolled into Mitch McConnell’s bar and he doesn’t throw you out, he locks the door.”
““ An NRSC spokesman criticized SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins by name in a National Journal story about the Michigan Senate race.
““ Last month, McConnell said in a conference call with GOP donors that SCF needed to be punched in the face like a schoolyard bully, according to the Washington Examiner.
““ A spokeswoman for McConnell’s reelection campaign called criticism from SCF blaming McConnell for fallout over the nuclear option “profoundly stupid.”
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"Despite pressure from the White House, House GOP leaders determined Thursday night that they didn’t have the votes to pass a rewrite of the Affordable Care Act and would not seek to put their proposal on the floor on Friday. A late push to act on health care had threatened the bipartisan deal to keep the government open for one week while lawmakers crafted a longer-term spending deal. Now, members are likely to approve the short-term spending bill when it comes to the floor and keep the government open past midnight on Friday."
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.
Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.