Mitch McConnell may have been born in Alabama, but he’s a long-time Kentucky resident that has represented the state for many years. After serving as a judge in the state, McConnell won the election in 1984 to serve as a Senator in Washington D.C.
McConnell has remained in the position ever since and has twice been the Senate Minority Leader, and from 2015 to 2021 was the Senator Majority Leader. Along the way, McConnell has had some controversial policies, with these five being at the forefront of his beliefs.
Criminal Justice Reform
Those that have been incarcerated in the United States end up getting out of jail or prison with a huge disadvantage in life. Many are not able to vote, own guns, and can be blocked from getting a wide range of jobs. Because of this, there have been many bills that have been brought up over the years regarding criminal justice reform, allowing former convicts to get back on their feet once they’ve been released.
One of the bills was called the First Step Act, which was a bipartisan bill that was even supported by then-President Donald Trump. For a while, McConnell was seemingly the only one that wasn’t on board with the bill. McConnell felt that criminals shouldn’t be released back into the public early, but eventually was talked into signing off on the bill even if he wasn’t truly in favor of it.
9/11 First Responders
September 11, 2001 marked the largest terrorist attack in United States history and many of those that responded to the scene either ended up losing their lives or contracted a chronic or terminal illness. In 2010, the Zadroga Act was introduced that would help make sure that the first responders from 9/11 would receive all of the medical care that they needed.
However, McConnell voted against the bill, saying that he wanted the tax cuts proposed by George W. Bush to be passed first. There were multiple instances afterward in which McConnell blocked the support of first responders, and it wasn’t until former “Daily Show” host John Stewart addressed Congress in 2019 that the bill was finally passed, with many saying that it took mainstream media pressure for McConnell to change his tune.
There have been countless scientists who have said that climate change is real and needs to be addressed before it becomes a problem that has catastrophic results. Much of the movement toward preventing climate change happened in the early 1990s, and McConnell was one of the first to deny climate change, saying that the evidence was not conclusive.
While there were some that weren’t early adopters of the belief in climate change that ended up coming around on the issue, McConnell wasn’t one of them. McConnell said that climate change was a hoax that was made up to create more expensive sources of renewable energy. This has led to a lot of controversies, especially amongst scientists, as McConnell has attempted to convince his constituents that fossil fuels aren’t harming the environment.
Prior to 2022, members of the Republican Party weren’t quite against the country of Russia as they once were during the Cold War. After Russia invaded Ukraine, however, there were many Republicans that jumped ship on supporting Russia, even if they didn’t put their full support behind Ukraine. McConnell was not only in support of Ukraine years before the invasion, but he has been tough on Russia altogether.
McConnell has been in favor of just about every proposed sanction against Russia, and he spoke directly to the Republicans after the 2022 invasion. “The Ukrainians need help,” McConnell said. “They need it now. Particularly do they need the kinds of weapon systems that go after not only helicopters but higher-flying planes.” He added that Republicans supporting Russia were “lonely voices.”
As the leader of the Republican Party in the Senate, Mitch McConnell has served as the mouthpiece for a lot of issues, and many arguments either for or against higher taxes are directed toward him. McConnell has consistently been against higher taxes for the wealthiest tax bracket and helped reduce the rate from 39.6 to 35 percent for this bracket.
When a proposal was brought up by fellow Senator Rick Scott that would raise taxes and around 40 percent of Americans, McConnell was opposed. “We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years,” McConnell said. When Democrats brought up a bill that would increase tax rates on the richest people, McConnell was against that as well.