Is Mitch McConnell Losing His Grip on Senate Republicans?

Is Mitch McConnell Losing His Grip on Senate Republicans?

( – In January, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell excoriated former President Trump after voting to not convict him for the insurrection that arose on January 6 on Capitol Hill. McConnell is a competent politician who rose through the ranks by learning how to play both sides of the fence. On the one hand, he votes reliably conservative. On the other hand, he shields his conservative peers from explaining politically difficult votes.

His speech torching Trump may have left a damaging scar on his relationship with some of his conservative peers. For one, it ignited a firestorm with the former president, who shot back at McConnell. Many in the GOP feel that Trump is their ticket to taking back both the House and Senate in 2022. They feel McConnell could have set that back with his fiery rhetoric that all but blamed the former president for some of his followers’ acts on January 6. In the wake of a recent vote of a far-Left candidate, some wonder if McConnell could be losing his grip on the Senate GOP?

McConnell Vowed to Fight Against EPA Candidate

When President Biden nominated North Carolina environmental regulator Michael Regan as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), McConnell vowed to fight against the nomination. He warned that Regan would support the administration’s expensive and controversial Clean Power Plan and Green New Deal. Both agendas threaten jobs in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky.

In a prepared speech, McConnell warned that Regan would increase gas taxes on struggling workers and families, increase heating bills for seniors who live on a fixed income and make life generally more difficult than it needs to be.

Normally, Senate Republicans follow McConnell’s lead. However, that might be changing in the wake of his feud with Trump.

Some Republicans Vote Against McConnell

In a 66-34 vote, the Senate voted to confirm Regan on Thursday, March 11, with 16 Senate Republicans joining all 50 Democrats to push the nomination through despite their concerns about Regan’s destructive agenda. During the nomination hearing, Regan promised to listen to every side and pledged to visit red states to learn more about their issues and challenges. That led Environment and Public Works ranking member Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) to say that the nominee “might be visiting the entire country.”

Perhaps the vote by the 16 Republicans doesn’t reflect on McConnell. Instead, it’s a possible reflection of Regan’s nomination performance and the influence of GOP Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Thom Tillis (R-NC). Both hail from Regan’s home state and strongly influenced his nomination by speaking glowingly about Regan’s outreach efforts in their home state.

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