McCain: ‘Regular Order’ Can Counter ‘Poorly Informed,’ ‘Impulsive’ Trump

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Friday argued for a return to “regular order” in Congress, describing it as an antidote to a President “who has no experience of public office, is often poorly informed and can be impulsive in his speech and conduct.”

“[W]e are not his subordinates,” McCain wrote in a Washington Post op-ed, referring to Donald Trump. “We don’t answer to him. We answer to the American people. We must be diligent in discharging our responsibility to serve as a check on his power. And we should value our identity as members of Congress more than our partisan affiliation.”

Arizona’s senior senator will return to Washington, D.C. next week, having completed chemotherapy and radiation treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer.

McCain was the deciding Republican vote against a hastily and often covertly orchestrated effort to repeal Obamacare. Rather than object to the bill’s contents, however, McCain complained in July that it hadn’t followed the proper procedure.

“The Congress must now return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties, and heed the recommendations of our nation’s governors so that we can produce a bill that finally provides Americans with access to quality and affordable health care,” he wrote on July 17, 11 days before his party-defying “no” vote.

On Friday, McCain again called for “regular order,” describing it as “letting committees of jurisdiction do the principal work of crafting legislation and letting the full Senate debate and amend their efforts.”

That, McCain said, would heal a Congress that he described as mired in self-interest: “Our national political campaigns never stop,” he wrote. “We seem convinced that majorities exist to impose their will with few concessions and that minorities exist to prevent the party in power from doing anything important.”

However, McCain’s own policy priorities are far from universally-supported. Concluding the op-ed, he outlined them.

“[S]pending levels for defense and other urgent priorities have been woefully inadequate for years,” he said. “The president has promised greater border security. We can agree to that.”

“Let’s try it on tax reform and infrastructure improvement and all the other urgent priorities confronting us,” he added, referring to two issues on which Republicans’ insistence on huge corporate tax cuts and “public private partnerships,” respectively, have met fierce Democratic resistance in the past.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

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