Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, made his case Thursday that voters should return the House and Senate to Republican control in next year’s midterm elections, insisting that such an outcome “doesn’t mean nothing happens.”
“What I want you to know,” the Kentucky Republican told a Chamber of Commerce luncheon in his home state, “is if I become the majority leader again it’s not for stopping everything. It’s for stopping the worst. It’s for stopping things that fundamentally push the country into a direction that at least my party feels is not a good idea for the country.”
McConnell added that if he becomes majority leader again, “I can make sure [President] Biden keeps his promise [he made] in ’20 to be a moderate.”
The Senate is currently split 50-50, with Democrats holding the advantage thanks to the ability of Vice President Kamala Harris to break tie votes as president of the Senate. Democrats also hold a nine-seat majority in the House of Representatives.
Republicans are confident of retaking the House next November based on history. Since 1946, the sitting president’s party has lost an average of 25 House seats in midterm elections.
The Senate is a trickier prospect. Republicans are defending 20 of the 34 seats up for grabs in 2022. Though the GOP is hopeful of picking up seats in Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire and Nevada, they must also hold seats being vacated by retiring members in North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
In Wisconsin, GOP Sen. Ron Johnson has yet to confirm whether he will seek a third term, while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) must see off a well-funded challenge from Democratic Rep. Val Demings.
“The American people right now, I think, have given us a 50-50 government,” McConnell said Thursday. “It could go either way … He’s [Biden has], in my view, misread the mandate from last year. I don’t think the American people voted for all of this.”
Despite the sharp partisan message, McConnell insisted that Republicans and Democrats can and do still work together in the Senate, citing ongoing negotiations over police reform and the recently unveiled $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.
“The notion that we have no collegiality, that we’re all at each other’s throats all the time is simply not true,” he said. “But there are big differences between the parties.”