GOP se­na­tors feel party’s fury

‘You are the swamp,’ says let­ter from irate con­ser­va­tives

The Dallas Morning News - - Nation - Donna Cas­sata, The As­so­ci­ated Press

WASHINGTON — Repub­li­cans know whom to blame for in­ac­tion in Washington — Se­nate Repub­li­cans.

The White House, hard-right con­ser­va­tives and House GOP law­mak­ers all di­rected their ire at the Se­nate GOP this week amid the es­ca­lat­ing feud be­tween Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Repub­li­can Sen. Bob Corker.

The con­ser­va­tives, in a blis­ter­ing let­ter on Wednesday, called on Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell and his en­tire lead­er­ship team to step aside. Ohio Repub­li­can Rep. Steve Chabot warned that if the Se­nate fum­bles tax re­form after the fail­ure on health care, the GOP could lose its House ma­jor­ity.

The crit­i­cism comes with the Se­nate gone for a week­long break — and even that re­cess drew com­plaints.

“They’re on an­other va­ca­tion right now. I think that we would all be a lot bet­ter off if the Se­nate would stop tak­ing va­ca­tions, and start stay­ing here un­til we ac­tu­ally get some real things ac­com­plished,” White House spokes­woman Sarah Huck­abee San­ders said Tues­day.

The Se­nate re­turns next week with the in­ten­tion of pass­ing a bud­get that would clear the way for Con­gress to tackle a re­vamp of the tax code.

The Repub­li­cans’ in­ternecine strife has been on full dis­play as con­ser­va­tives are still an­gry about the col­lapse of health care and as GOP law­mak­ers fear fail­ure on taxes will cost them po­lit­i­cally in next year’s midterm elec­tions. Adding to Repub­li­can woes is for­mer White House ad­viser Steve Ban­non’s dec­la­ra­tion of war on the GOP es­tab­lish­ment and prom­ise of a pri­mary chal­lenge to ev­ery in­cum­bent fac­ing re-elec­tion next year with the ex­cep­tion of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

The Trump-Corker fight­ing, with the se­na­tor sug­gest­ing the pres­i­dent would lead the U.S. to World War III and with Trump be­lit­tling the law­maker, left House Speaker Paul Ryan ask­ing for de­tente.

“I think my ad­vice is for these two gen­tle­men to sit down and just talk through their is­sues,” he said Wednesday.

The con­ser­va­tives would have none of it.

In their let­ter, they slammed McCon­nell for Con­gress’ in­abil­ity to re­peal and re­place Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s Af­ford­able Care Act, the lack of progress in build­ing a bor­der wall, the de­lay on tax re­form and the in­abil­ity to stop fed­eral funds for Planned Par­ent­hood.

“Repub­li­cans were given full con­trol of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. They — you — have done noth­ing. Worse, it is painfully clear that you in­tend to do noth­ing. … You were not going to ‘drain the swamp.’ You are the swamp,” wrote con­ser­va­tives, in­clud­ing Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Pa­tri­ots and Ken Cuc­cunelli II, pres­i­dent of the Se­nate Con­ser­va­tives Fund.

McCon­nell’s of­fice had no im­me­di­ate com­ment on the let­ter.

J. Scott Applewhite/The As­so­ci­ated Press

House Speaker Paul Ryan says Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and GOP Sen. Bob Corker should “sit down and just talk through their is­sues.”

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