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Is bipartisanship over in the last season of the Chuck and Mitch show?

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The surprising bipartisanship between Senate and House leaders on the foreign aid bill, spending deals and FISA reauthorization is now in the rearview mirror, and a lot of rank-and-file members say that era of legislating is done for. Chuck Schumer isn’t letting it go quietly, though.

By now, you’re familiar with his list: The Senate majority leader name-checked cannabis banking, rail safety, $35 insulin and the House-passed tax bill during an interview this week. That’s on top of the soon-to-expire FAA bill and the September farm bill and spending package deadlines.

“The closer you get to the election, the harder it is, but I’m going to keep trying to get some bipartisan things done,” Schumer said. “Bipartisanship still is not dead.”

All of this is unlikely to happen without buy-in from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is increasingly going to prioritize leaving his GOP successor with a Senate majority now that Ukraine is funded. What does McConnell think of the prospect of future election-year bipartisanship?

You’ll be shocked to find out McConnell is being circumspect. “We’ll see,” he said when asked about Schumer’s to-do list.

“We have cats and dogs that are important, like the FAA reauthorization, that sort of thing. Every time I think surely that it’s for this year, something pops up. So, who knows?” McConnell said in a separate interview.

Not a no, but definitely not a yes.

Schumer and the GOP: The Senate majority leader has kept up some relationships with the GOP rank and file since the big bipartisan bills of 2021 and 2022 — for instance, with Sens. Mike Rounds and Todd Young on AI. Whether something even modest happens in 2024 might depend on folks like them.

“Well, I have to talk to my Republican colleagues. You know, I have different Republicans in here all the time on different bills,” Schumer explained, gesturing to his office.

He’s not at the point where he wants to jam the Senate GOP with the tax bill, though some Democrats think the bill’s prospects improve if Schumer schedules an uncertain floor vote. Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho, the top Finance Committee Republican, said this week he still has issues with the bill.

“I’d love to get tax done. That’s a problem with Crapo. But maybe we can get it done,” Schumer said. “We could still do it. You might be able to come up with a compromise. You might have some new element that goes in there.”

McConnell the gatekeeper: Schumer attributed some of the last years of success to working with McConnell, even when he wasn’t always supportive. He recalled “conversations with McConnell when I said, ‘Maybe you can’t be for this, but don’t tell your people not to work with us.’”

When McConnell wants to stop something, he’s pretty good at it. That’s how he got the “Grim Reaper” nickname from Democrats — many of whom now praise him for his work on Ukraine and other bipartisan bills. He did some deals, particularly on the debt ceiling, in part to head off any hint that moderate Democrats might gut the filibuster. He also didn’t see issues like infrastructure and microchip funding as particularly partisan.

Has McConnell mellowed? This was once the guy who shut down much of Democrats’ agenda in divided government and blocked a Supreme Court seat from being filled. He said “one of my great pet peeves” is an old quote about his priority of making Barack Obama a one-term president, which he said is often used without subsequent comments saying he would be willing to work with Obama.

“I think you can’t ignore the facts of each situation,” McConnell said of clinching bipartisan deals. “I always tried to find places where we can have an outcome if we can reach an agreement.”

“I read that one of my colleagues said my job was to be with whatever position was the majority position of my conference,” McConnell added. “I can tell you, if I had had a Hastert rule, we would have never raised the debt ceiling and never funded the government.”