For US Sen. John McCain, reinforcements are on the way.
The Arizona Republican is poised to seize the Senate Armed Services Committee gavel, and he is ready to pursue a sweeping pro-military agenda.
In the Congress of the tea party era, that would have been an uphill battle. But the beginning of that era’s end might have started on Nov. 4, and McCain clearly sees an opportunity for the chamber’s Republican “internationalist” caucus.
McCain, appearing Wednesday evening on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” said the midterm elections delivered “good news, from my standpoint.”
“And that is the McCain-Graham wing had some real victories, Joni Ernst [in Iowa], [Dan] Sullivan in Alaska, Tom Cotton in Arkansas, and some others like in North Carolina and Georgia,” McCain said, referring to Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and GOP candidates who won senate races in those states.
“So there are much more — I hate to use the word — the word is ‘internationalists’ [rather] than ‘isolationists’,” McCain said.
Cotton, Ernst and Sullivan are military veterans. McCain and Graham campaigned in the midterm election’s final days with the Republican senator-elect in North Carolina, Thom Tillis.
Should the kind of measure needed to achieve McCain’s goal of addressing the Pentagon’s portion of pending sequestration cuts hit the Senate floor, the incoming SASC chairman is calculating those five new GOP senators would vote in favor.
And with Republicans controlling only 53 votes come January, McCain and other hawks would need every GOP vote they could get to pass such a bill, especially because they might lose some conservative budget hawks.