McConnell Challenges Dems to Explain Why They’re Holding Up Coronavirus Bill Over Special Interest ‘Wish List’

Tobias Hoonhout

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) slammed Democrats on Monday for continuing to hold up a trillion-dollar coronavirus economic relief package in order to secure a number of environmental and other concessions.

Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell urged for bipartisanship to get the deal done, and pointed to the passing of the House’s phase-two bill, which Republicans would have done “very differently,” as a model for emulation.

“Republicans understand that a national crisis calls for urgency, and it calls for bipartisanship. It’s time for that good faith to be reciprocated. It’s time for Democrats to stop playing politics and step up to the plate,” he added.

McConnell accused Democrats of “filibustering programs to keep people on the payroll,” in favor of “tax credits for solar energy and wind energy, provisions to force employers to give special new treatment to big labor, and listen to this — new emissions standards for the airlines”

“Democrats won’t let us fund hospitals or save small businesses unless they get to dust off the green New Deal,” McConnell said.

“Are you kidding me? This is the moment to debate new regulations that have nothing, whatsoever to do with this crisis,” he barked. “That is what they are up to over there. The American people need to know it!”

The majority leader also directed the blame at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), who flew into D.C. over the weekend to join negotiations and begin work on the House’s own bill.

“We were this close. We were this close. Then yesterday, the speaker of the House flew back from San Francisco,” McConnell quipped.

Senate Democrats blocked McConnell’s phase-three package from moving forward on Sunday evening, claiming that it favored corporations over working Americans.

But Republicans point to Pelosi’s entering the negotiations, after Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.) told House Democrats last week that the Republican bill was “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision,” as a partisan move aimed at including policy unrelated to coronavirus funding.

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