Mitch McConnell makes Senate history as longest-serving Republican leader

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reached a key Senate milestone Tuesday, surpassing former Sen. Robert Dole of ...

Posted: Jun 13, 2018 1:32 PM
Updated: Jun 13, 2018 1:32 PM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reached a key Senate milestone Tuesday, surpassing former Sen. Robert Dole of Kansas to become the longest-serving Republican leader in the chamber's history.

Lawmakers from both praised McConnell's leadership since 2007, including Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, the second-ranking GOP member in the chamber.

"We all know he's whip smart. He is an impressive strategist. He understands the Senate better than anyone else here," said Cornyn, who praised McConnell for not seeking out the spotlight and working behind the scenes for the betterment of his party and country.

"That takes a remarkable sense of self-confidence and team spirit that not everybody has," said Cornyn, who would like to replace him as GOP leader when McConnell eventually gives up the post, on the Senate floor Tuesday.

The milestone elicited kind words even from his Democratic counterpart.

"It's no secret we disagree on a whole lot of issues, both political and philosophical, but that doesn't mean we can't or don't work together or that I don't admire the qualities that have helped make him the longest serving Republican leader," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said on the chamber floor.

"He understands his caucus and represents them well," Schumer said. "He know how to fight and he knows how to cooperate. The job is not an easy one. So it's a testament to his qualities that he has done it longer that anyone in the history of the Senate."

McConnell, who is 76, has been determined and willing to take tough steps to achieve his political and legislative goals. He did that when he boldly blocked Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's choice for the Supreme Court, and worked to install Trump's pick Neil Gorsuch instead.

He's also patient and willing to doing the plodding groundwork needed for legislative victories, like the ones he's trying to set up this summer when he canceled the August recess, a step he believes will give voters reasons to keep Republicans in control of the Senate. They include clearing a backlog of nominations and passing several lower-profile bills that McConnell says are evidence of good governing.

"He's a terrific leader," said Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, an ally of McConnell's, last week. "He's very intelligent. He pays attention to the rules. He's very good at the rules."

McConnell said last week he wants Cornyn, to stay in the Republican leadership ranks once term limits force the Texan to give up the No. 2 job at the end of the year. Cornyn said Thursday he will stay and use that position to launch an eventual run for GOP leader once McConnell leaves the post.

McConnell certainly has his critics even from within his own party. Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson has been one of the few members of the GOP conference to publicly challenge him.

"I've primarily been a critic of this place," Johnson told CNN. "I don't envy the (House speaker) or any leader around here. You are literally trying to herd cats."

But Johnson said there is a "real level of disgust" with some conservatives across the country because the GOP-led Senate hasn't carried out its promises.

"In general, what I hear from the conservative base in Wisconsin is, why aren't you guys supporting Trump? Where's the funding for the wall? But specifically, why didn't you fix Obamacare," Johnson said. "The problem we had -- and this wasn't the leader's fault -- we had Republican senators who didn't honor their promise to repeal it."

Freshman Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy expressed frustration that McConnell hasn't made it possible for there to be more votes on amendments in the Senate. But he also praised McConnell for doing a tough job well.

"McConnell tries to make the mules plow," Kennedy said, adding that the Kentucky Republican is "tougher than a two-dollar steak."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844594

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1160612006
Mobile741651379
Madison53255732
Shelby38313368
Baldwin38061589
Tuscaloosa35996641
Montgomery34473781
Lee25541263
Calhoun22582518
Morgan22441406
Etowah20009517
Marshall18771316
Houston17723425
St. Clair16863358
Limestone16123218
Cullman16032303
Elmore15902294
Lauderdale14945306
Talladega14186299
DeKalb12957269
Walker12011380
Blount10700192
Autauga10512157
Jackson10151194
Coffee9412192
Colbert9325208
Dale9013191
Tallapoosa7248201
Russell707465
Chilton7015170
Escambia6951143
Covington6926195
Franklin6337108
Chambers5778142
Marion5400130
Dallas5283209
Pike5114109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4777110
Geneva4640136
Bibb434094
Barbour369180
Butler3433100
Marengo342393
Monroe336666
Randolph334067
Pickens333188
Fayette329885
Henry320566
Hale317989
Cherokee316963
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254360
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184647
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139041
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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