National Correspondent Neil McCabe Weighs in on the Mental State of the U.S. House and Senate in Washington

Apr 8, 2021


Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil McCabe to the newsmakers line to breakdown what he see’s going on in Washington as House and Senate members and leaders show signs of wear and tear.

Leahy: We are joined as we almost always are every Wednesday at 7:15 by our Washington correspondent, Neil McCabe, the best Washington correspondent in the country in my view. Neil, good morning.

McCabe: Yeah, almost always, Mike. (Leahy laughs) That’s pretty good.

Leahy: Well, Washington is crazy. (McCabe chuckles) And the House of Representatives and Senate, they’re crazy. When last we talked here last week, you said there’s a possibility that the very narrow margin by which the Democrats control the House of Representatives is perhaps fraying a bit. There are four special elections going on right now. One in Louisiana, one in New Mexico, one in Texas, one in Ohio. One of those seats was occupied by a Republican, three by a Democrat. Do you see any of those outcomes having an impact that could change the narrow majority Democrats have in the House?

McCabe: I don’t see much changing in those because the people who control the appointments for the Biden administration were very careful to pick people from very safe districts. And that’s one of the reasons why you didn’t see a lot of senators joining the Biden administration. But what I think you’re going to start seeing as you already saw with that the way that Pelosi was challenging the election in Iowa, you saw that there were House Democrats who are like, going, whoa, that’s a step too far.

We already know that after the 2020 election there was that conference call with the House Democrats where you had a number of House Democrats who barely won their seats saying that this socialism and defunding the police almost put me out of business. We’ve got to stop. And so the fissures are there. It’s just, can it be exploited? And the biggest thing that Nancy Pelosi has going for her is that Kevin McCarthy is being more reactive.

He’s waiting for Pelosi to do something and then he’s criticizing it. He’s not coming forward with his own sort of agenda. And remember, there was a rebellion with Liz Cheney and others voting to impeach President Trump, and Kevin McCarthy has done nothing to punish them. And you must feel it, Mike.

I’m sure people listening feel it. The Republican House leadership as a press conference and Liz Cheney is the one giving statements on behalf. Mccarthy still continues to put Liz Cheney out front as a spokeswoman for the party, and it just confuses people. So it’s really McCarthy’s game to lose and he could lose it. But having said that, five seats are very tight. And there’s a lot of people who don’t want to go down with the Pelosi ship.

Leahy: Shifting gears to the United States Senate for a moment, so the Corrupt Politicians Act, which would codify the ability of Democrats to cheat in elections and would attempt unconstitutionally, in my view, to nationalize elections, where does that stand? Is it likely to pass? What’s the status of that?

McCabe: Well, I think it’s interesting that Joe Manchin has said that it’s a problem for him. I think that you’re going to see a Sinema from Arizona, she’s a Democrat, but she’s kind of wavering a little bit. And I think you’re going to see Mark Kelly get a little crazy. Mark Kelly won his race was with barely 50 percent of the vote. And he was running against maybe the worst Senate candidate in American history.

Leahy: Martha McSally, a nice person, but a bad candidate.

McCabe: She’s so bad. I think she might be the only senator to lose two senate races in less than two years. (Leahy chuckles) She was appointed twice and lost twice, which is incredible in confidence.

Carmichael: Are there some good candidates in Arizona running for the opportunity to run against Mark Kelly in ’22?

McCabe: I haven’t seen anything really emerge yet. But I mean, that’s right for the picking, because this midterm the institutionalized cycle, is that this midterm is going to be bad for whoever the president’s party is. And so I think people are sort of licking their chops. I think Rick Scott as head of the National Senate Republican Committee was a very good choice. He’s a very, very solid guy.

He doesn’t get along with the DeSantis very well, but he raises money and he is tough. And people who thought that they could take him down in Florida learned very quickly in two tough governor races and a tough, tough Senate race. Rick Scott is tough. And he visited Trump and kissed the ring. And so I think that the Republicans are in good shape on the Senate side.

And as I said before, there are five of those Senate Democrats who won with less than 52 percent of the vote. I think that there’s a very good chance that Governor Chris Sununu the governor of New Hampshire, he runs. And that’s a pickup that nobody was really counting on. And again, the Senate Democrats are going to get a little squeamish. Remember that the Biden administration opted for what’s called in marketing a soft opening.

The grand opening of your administration is your first address to Congress. The guy never launched his first address to Congress. There’s a ton of cabinet positions whereas four years ago, Trump had problems getting people confirmed. He hasn’t even nominated a lot of people. We still don’t have branch secretaries. We still haven’t nominated one director. I said, like three weeks ago, the wheels were falling off.

Leahy: Neil McCabe, look into your Neil McCabe Crystal ball and tell us in the next 30 days, what is the likelihood the Senate, which is 50/50 right now with Kamala Harris, VP, the tiebreaker, what is the likelihood they jam through in some form this Corrupt Politicians Act that would codify the cheating that Democrats do and nationalize elections unconstitutionally?

McCabe: I think they chicken out. They’re going to be cowards, and they’re not going to do it.

Carmichael: Neil, and what about the infrastructure and the pro bill?

McCabe: Oh, that goes through. That goes through. And remember, everybody was looking at the filibuster. They don’t need the filibuster, because the Parliamentarian is going to give them they’re going to be able to do reconciliation forever instead of one budget bill a year that basically the Parliamentarian said they could do budget bills whenever they want. So the filibuster is no longer even an issue anymore for spending bill.

Leahy: On spending bills. Neil, That’s a very good point. I saw that decision by the Parliamentarian, and I said, uh oh, they’re going to jam all this stuff through using the reconciliation process, which is an obscure process in the United States Senate. Neil McCabe, thank you so much for joining us today, and you’ll come back next Wednesday with more.

McCabe: Be good guys. Take care.

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio