Mitch McConnell snubs Rand Paul
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is again on the wrong side of conservatives and tea party activists.
In case you don’t remember, there recent was a grassroots push to have Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) on the Senate Finance Committee. But McConnell chose to put Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), who intially did not want the appointment, on the committee over DeMint. According to McConnell, the decision was based on seniority.
That point seemed to be understood by most, including DeMint. However, another seat left vacant by Ensign’s resignation - this one on the Senate Budget Committee - has gone to Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) over Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who has seniority and had expressed interest in the seat:
A Senate GOP aide familiar with Paul’s ambitions said Paul asked for the Budget seat that was to become vacant after Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) announced his resignation last month.
Paul’s spokeswoman Moira Bagley said her boss asked for a seat on the Budget Committee at the beginning of the year. She declined, however, to comment about whether he reiterated his interest after Ensign revealed his plans to step down.
The Senate aide familiar with the behind the scenes jockeying said Paul did indeed make that request.
A second Senate aide questioned the decision: “I don’t know why he’d skip Rand Paul, I don’t know anyone better to have on the Budget Committee than Rand Paul.”
Paul has introduced the only budget plan in Congress that would balance the budget in five years, the span set forth by the Senate GOP’s proposed balanced budget amendment.
Until the recent proposal by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Sen. Paul was the only Republican in the Senate to present a substantive budget plan, and more recently push a plan to bring Social Security back to solvency. It would seem Sen. Paul is one of the few in Washington taking the serious fiscal problems we face seriously. Why deny him a seat on the Budget Committee?
I understand the seniority argument in the case of DeMint, though it’s odd consider the reports that Burr didn’t want the seat. But the snubbing of Paul seems certainly does make it seem that McConnell is holding the fiscal conservatives in the Senate back from playing a significant role in the process.