Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr. (born February 20, 1942) is an American politician who has served as the senior United States Senator from Kentucky since 1985. A member of the Republican Party, he has additionally served as the Senate Majority Leader since January 3, 2015. He previously served as Minority Leader from 2007 to 2015. He is the second Kentuckian to lead his party in the Senate. McConnell is the longest-serving U.S. Senator in Kentucky history.
During the administration of President Barack Obama, McConnell was characterized by opponents as being an obstructionist, while opinion on the right was sharply divided. Some on the right praised him for tenacity and courage, while others criticized him for being part of the political establishment and not keeping his promises to conservatives. McConnell has gained a reputation as a skilled political strategist and tactician. However, this reputation dimmed after Republicans failed to pass a replacement for the Affordable Care Act in 2017.
From early 2016, McConnell refused to schedule Senate hearings for Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, to replace Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016. Garland's nomination remained before the Senate for 294 days, from March 16, 2016, until it expired on January 3, 2017, more than double the time of any other Supreme Court nomination. Later, McConnell used the so-called "nuclear option" to lower the threshold for overriding filibusters for Supreme Court nominees to a simple majority, with the aim of confirming Neil Gorsuch to the Court.