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 2:32 PM
Updated: Jun 13, 2018 2:32 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."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 766351

Reported Deaths: 13965
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1052671804
Lake568691028
Allen42858698
St. Joseph37286568
Hamilton37260426
Elkhart29729470
Tippecanoe23441230
Vanderburgh23153404
Porter19568327
Johnson18807391
Hendricks18059321
Madison13518345
Clark13502198
Vigo12817255
LaPorte12558224
Monroe12529178
Delaware11124198
Howard10654237
Kosciusko9751123
Hancock8734149
Bartholomew8256157
Warrick8053157
Floyd8005181
Grant7349181
Wayne7234201
Boone7173105
Morgan6904142
Marshall6329116
Dubois6270118
Cass6085111
Dearborn600078
Noble597890
Henry5944111
Jackson515677
Shelby509897
Lawrence4914127
Gibson461596
Montgomery457592
Clinton454555
DeKalb453685
Harrison452476
Whitley415345
Huntington414081
Steuben410260
Miami405073
Jasper400455
Knox388091
Putnam384662
Wabash368783
Adams352256
Ripley351071
Jefferson341586
White339354
Daviess3089100
Wells302781
Greene292985
Decatur291693
Fayette285864
Posey280935
Scott278758
LaGrange277172
Clay273148
Washington253537
Randolph247583
Jennings238649
Spencer237931
Fountain234850
Starke229959
Owen222259
Sullivan219543
Fulton207845
Jay202832
Carroll197122
Orange190956
Perry189739
Vermillion180044
Rush177327
Tipton172347
Franklin171935
Parke154816
Pike141434
Blackford137832
Pulaski123648
Newton123036
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Brown105943
Crawford105516
Martin92515
Warren87715
Switzerland8328
Union73510
Ohio58311
Unassigned0428

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1122647

Reported Deaths: 20467
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1302911493
Cuyahoga1171502259
Hamilton823481259
Montgomery534491059
Summit488581014
Lucas43734832
Butler39936614
Stark33800937
Lorain25996509
Warren24896312
Mahoning22685612
Lake21457396
Clermont20368260
Delaware19120138
Licking16842227
Trumbull16786491
Fairfield16762207
Medina15832276
Greene15499254
Clark14339308
Portage13417218
Wood13338201
Allen12043245
Richland11726213
Miami10998228
Wayne9251227
Columbiana9196236
Muskingum9119137
Pickaway8738123
Tuscarawas8714254
Marion8703140
Erie8126166
Ashtabula7272179
Hancock7044134
Ross7012165
Geauga6948153
Scioto6679108
Belmont6210179
Lawrence5917104
Union590449
Jefferson5723162
Huron5630122
Sandusky5482130
Darke5436130
Seneca5376128
Washington5362111
Athens526560
Auglaize507087
Mercer490685
Shelby481297
Knox4609112
Madison447266
Ashland443198
Defiance438499
Fulton435775
Putnam4351104
Crawford4110111
Brown409662
Preble3946107
Logan391679
Clinton389266
Ottawa375581
Highland365068
Williams356478
Champaign348360
Guernsey330254
Jackson321254
Perry298350
Morrow294643
Fayette288250
Hardin279165
Henry276967
Coshocton272561
Holmes2725102
Van Wert251665
Adams249258
Gallia249250
Pike244637
Wyandot235257
Hocking222663
Carroll201249
Paulding179442
Meigs151040
Noble137739
Monroe137545
Harrison115238
Morgan111524
Vinton87217
Unassigned03
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