From working over Christmas break, signing an unprecedented farm bill that would legalize hemp to announcing plans to take up President Donald Trump’s criminal justice reform bill and vowing to fund certain border security measures, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appears to be on a roll.
His roll to legislative success began Monday when he symbolically signed the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill using a pen made from hemp, a non-psychoactive derivative of cannabis that’s useful as a raw material in various industries, including textiles, biodegradable plastics, and construction.
If signed into law by the president, the farm bill would remove hemp from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s controlled substance list and allow it to be used legally.
“Making it official with my hemp pen! Proud to have served as conferee on #FarmBill & to fight for #Kentucky priorities,” McConnell proudly tweeted Monday.
“With today’s signature, my provision to legalize industrial #hemp is 1 step closer to reality. Looking forward to voting YES on this bill & sending to @POTUS.”
Making it official with my hemp pen!?️ Proud to have served as conferee on #FarmBill & to fight for #Kentucky priorities. With today’s signature, my provision to legalize industrial #hemp is 1 step closer to reality. Looking forward to voting YES on this bill & sending to @POTUS pic.twitter.com/8ypwBebXy7
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) December 10, 2018
Less than 24 hours later the Senate majority leader pushed even further ahead with Trump’s agenda by announcing that he intends to take up the president’s criminal justice reform bill.
But even more notable is the warning he issued to his fellow congressmen — that they should “be prepared to work between Christmas and New Year’s if necessary in order to complete our work.”
The Senate had been prepared to adjourn for vacation on Dec. 14, but it doesn’t appear that’ll be happening.
JUST IN: Senate Majority Leader McConnell says that “at the request of the president and following improvements to the legislation that have been secured by several members, the Senate will take up the recently revised criminal justice bill” – @frankthorp
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) December 11, 2018
Sen. McConnell adds that with the criminal justice bill being added to the agenda, “members should now be prepared to work between Christmas and New Year’s if necessary in order to complete our work.”
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) December 11, 2018
But there’s more. In a tweet posted Tuesday morning, he personally announced that he’s begun working with the president and the Department of Homeland Security to muster up billions for border security.
Senate Republicans are working with the President and his Homeland Security team on $5.02 billion of targeted funding to bolster security measures at the US-Mexico border.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) December 11, 2018
These announcements represent a turnabout for McConnell, who, despite his lauded performance during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings earlier this year, seemingly let the Senate fall back into disarray again afterward.
His vow to take up the president’s criminal justice reform is particularly important because he’d initially reportedly planned to just let the bill die.
“McConnell has told Republicans there’s almost no window to take up the bill and debate it on the floor this year, according to multiple GOP sources,” Politico reported in early December.
Had the Senate majority leader let the bill fail — and especially after all the work that had gone into it — it would have been a letdown to many, as well as a gigantic legislative blunder for the president.
What remains unclear is whether the Senate majority leader will also perhaps take up Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s WALL Act, a bill that would entirely fund the president’s proposed southern border wall.
In response to McConnell’s tweet Tuesday, many took to Twitter to remind him that far more than just $5.02 billion is needed to get the job done.
Screw Hemp BUILD THE WALL.
— (@FracasIntent) December 11, 2018
Build the wall
— carole Lewgood (@carolecattan) December 11, 2018
3,000 illegals caught in one day: https://t.co/p0UaNSlmCk via @washtimes Stop the https://t.co/7EBMXsLAMD the wall&infrastructure needed to secure our nation @House Dems @Nancy Pelosi @SenateDems @SenSchumer @TheDemocrats @GOP @HouseGOP @SenateGOP @SpeakerRyan @SenateMajLdr
— nauthizjane (@nauthizjane) December 11, 2018
How about you take up the wall funding, and repeal and replace issue
— Brian T (@btbocp88) December 11, 2018
It ain’t rocket science Mitch. Just build the damn wall like we voted for.
— Karen (@KarenCFL23) December 11, 2018
Sign a wall bill too please
— Gone Fishing (@Texas_Eric1) December 11, 2018
get wall funding FIRST
— Jane Garza (@JaneGar10859503) December 11, 2018
Fully fund and APPROPRIATE the wall construction. We save more than the cost just by the huge reduction in illegal immigration and flow of illicit drugs. Do it now, get the house to pass in lame duck and use the nuke option in the Senate
— Steve W Keeling (@SteveWKeeling1) December 11, 2018
Granted, for every detractor there was at least one supporter thrilled beyond words that the Senate leader was finally taking up the president’s criminal justice reform bill.
Thank you @senatemajldr for bringing the bill to a vote. #WeTheStates support smart criminal-justice reforms that promote public safety and fairness for lower-level, non-violent offenders. #FirstStepAct https://t.co/QvGCiz436m
— NGA (@NatlGovsAssoc) December 11, 2018
Thank you @senatemajldr !!!
Really amazing to see such an amazing effort from @TheDemocrats & @GOP reaching across the spectrum of faiths and ideology to fix terrible flaws in our Criminal Justice system, to do what’s right. https://t.co/tq94elPcUl
— Johnnie Moore ن (@JohnnieM) December 11, 2018
— Jon Evans (@ijonevans) December 11, 2018
Thank you Senator McConnell. Farm bill yesterday, now this! Those of us who are blessed and privileged enough to be informed on the issues see your hard work. Criminal justice reform is long overdue.
— Dream2130 (@dream2130) December 11, 2018
Thank you for discussing prison reforms ,2nd chances in people getting out of prison, I pray whether we are in or out, that we decide to make Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior,and know Jesus Christ wants us to trust Him in every day life and know He won’t leave nor forsake us.
— mary trammell (@marytrammell10) December 11, 2018
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