Addressing a Rotary Club meeting in his home state of Kentucky on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed back against those who believed members of Congress “haven't done anything” and took a swipe at Donald Trump in the process.
McConnell (R-KY) said he found it “extremely irritating” that Congress has been saddled with a do-nothing reputation. Part of the cause lies with President Trump, McConnell explained, and his “excessive expectations” regarding the legislative process.
“Part of the reason I think that the storyline is that we haven’t done much is because, in part, the president and others have set these early timelines about things need to be done by a certain point,” the state's senior senator said.
President Trump, for instance, had been pressing Congress for an Affordable Care Act repeal and replacement bill in March, but health care votes continued — and ultimately stalled — well into July.
We are making great progress with healthcare. ObamaCare is imploding and will only get worse. Republicans coming together to get job done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 11, 2017
“Our new president, of course, has not been in this line of work before. And I think he had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process,” McConnell noted. “So part of the reason I think people feel we’re underperforming is because too many artificial deadlines — unrelated to the reality of the complexity of legislating — may not have been fully understood.”
McConnell is well-versed in the legislative process, having been in the Senate since 1985. One of his first major government roles was a brief stint as the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legislative Affairs during the Ford administration.
McConnell suggested that Congress be judged “when it finishes” its two-year session in January 2019.