GOP senators feel party’s fury
‘You are the swamp,’ says letter from irate conservatives
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.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says President Donald Trump and GOP Sen. Bob Corker should “sit down and just talk through their issues.”