The simmering feud between President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could put a dent in Republican legislative efforts.
Brain Gardner, an analyst on KBW’s Washington research team, said that the conflict between McConnell and Trump has decreased the possibility that Trump and the Republican Party will be able to get their agenda passed anytime soon.
“There’s a precedent for this and it’s not a good precedent for the administration and Republicans in general,” Gardner said.
McConnell and Trump were at odds last week after the majority leader said the president had “excessive expectations” for Congress and that that likely contributed to his frustration with the failure of the Senate healthcare bill and the pace of progress in passing the GOP agenda.
Trump took to Twitter and the media in response, attacking McConnell for not getting the healthcare bill done and even leaving open the possibility that he would ask the Kentucky senator to step down as leader if he did not deliver on Republican legislative priorities.
Gardner pointed to a similar intraparty feud during former President Jimmy Carter’s administration that prevented him from implementing large parts of his agenda.
“Jimmy Carter had poor relationships with the Democratic leadership,” Gardner told Business Insider. “He was an outsider who had come in during a tumultuous time of post-Watergate, and wanted to pursue a reform agenda in which the Democratic leadership in Congress had not signed onto and didn’t back. I think the poor relationships Carter had on the Hill led to him being unable to implement a lot of his agenda.”
Interestingly enough, Carter is the last president to have the government shut down while his party also controlled both chambers of Congress. However, these shutdowns were short-lived and did not result in the furlough of federal employees.
If Republicans do not pass a funding bill by the end of September, the government will shut down.
The lack of a strong, unified party leadership makes it harder to bring lawmakers together that are holding out against pieces of legislation.
This was proven during the Senate healthcare debate, in which senators and congressional staffers said Trump was ineffective at best in winning over recalcitrant members.
“We’ve seen this before and it doesn’t play out well when there’s intraparty squabbles,” concluded Gardner. “It concerns me regarding Republicans being able to get their agenda through and I think they should be concerned.”
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