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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: 605426

Reported Deaths: 9642
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion836221331
Lake45189680
Allen32646547
Hamilton29240315
St. Joseph27260380
Elkhart24354344
Vanderburgh19292248
Tippecanoe17905133
Johnson14974293
Porter14707168
Hendricks14295248
Madison10909220
Vigo10688179
Clark10581139
Monroe9338110
Delaware9089134
LaPorte9007162
Howard8177143
Kosciusko803182
Warrick668798
Hancock6639104
Bartholomew6443100
Floyd6377109
Wayne6106161
Grant5965115
Dubois554079
Boone549467
Morgan535595
Henry505564
Marshall502684
Cass482663
Dearborn476245
Noble471257
Jackson421947
Shelby413881
Lawrence389179
Clinton372043
Gibson369159
DeKalb345964
Harrison345644
Montgomery343354
Knox334339
Miami319844
Steuben313045
Whitley304526
Wabash301447
Adams299635
Ripley297545
Putnam294149
Huntington290659
Jasper288134
White272242
Daviess266774
Jefferson262538
Decatur246583
Fayette246348
Greene239262
Posey238128
Wells234050
LaGrange227662
Scott223439
Clay221832
Randolph212848
Jennings197736
Sullivan191133
Spencer190121
Washington183722
Fountain183127
Starke174843
Jay167022
Owen163637
Fulton163130
Orange157234
Carroll156415
Rush154418
Perry152727
Vermillion148634
Franklin147833
Tipton131832
Parke13038
Pike116226
Blackford110922
Pulaski96837
Newton90721
Brown87534
Benton86510
Crawford7929
Martin73013
Warren6777
Switzerland6575
Union6267
Ohio4867
Unassigned0375

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 853982

Reported Deaths: 10599
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin100550707
Cuyahoga849601082
Hamilton63509448
Montgomery42863417
Summit34586759
Lucas31151616
Butler30735231
Stark25598430
Warren19552140
Lorain18847223
Mahoning17215337
Lake15967154
Clermont15800111
Delaware1430578
Licking13130137
Trumbull12739313
Fairfield1269181
Greene11975136
Medina11504168
Clark10867265
Wood10289158
Allen9826126
Portage9213108
Miami911373
Richland9085117
Marion7437113
Tuscarawas7339181
Columbiana7286124
Pickaway721750
Wayne6987171
Muskingum693941
Erie6113127
Hancock549090
Ross546098
Scioto536364
Geauga503855
Darke467892
Ashtabula451073
Lawrence450154
Union447728
Sandusky434762
Mercer432488
Huron425441
Seneca424865
Auglaize421164
Shelby420522
Jefferson416769
Belmont412740
Washington385240
Athens37669
Putnam373575
Madison352129
Knox350222
Ashland342838
Fulton336543
Defiance328282
Crawford320573
Preble319137
Brown309121
Logan305532
Ottawa290143
Clinton287943
Williams277167
Highland273718
Jackson262445
Guernsey251325
Champaign249728
Fayette235130
Morrow23124
Perry228718
Holmes223874
Henry217349
Hardin211333
Coshocton204521
Van Wert201145
Gallia195426
Wyandot194651
Pike173917
Adams173015
Hocking171024
Carroll154216
Paulding143421
Noble120340
Meigs108024
Monroe100631
Harrison88421
Morgan82629
Vinton69513
Unassigned00
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