Democrats blocked for the second time in 24 hours a bill that would have provided immediate economic relief to American workers and businesses suffering from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Senate blocked a motion to cloture to advance the coronavirus package for debate. The motion failed, with 49 senators in favor of the motion and 46 against the measure:
Not invoked, 49-46: Motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R.748, the legislative vehicle for Coronavirus Phase III, upon reconsideration.
— Senate Cloakroom (@SenateCloakroom) March 23, 2020
Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) previously voted against the motion but voted in favor of advancing the legislation.
Democrats blocked a procedural motion that would have advanced the Senate “phase three” package that would provide aids to small businesses and direct cash payments to Americans laid off during the coronavirus package.
Democrats and Republicans crafted the legislation after long negotiations. Then at the last minute, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) walked away from the negotiation table to craft her own bill.
David Popp, the communications director for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), noted that congressional leaders filled the bill with bipartisan provisions designed to pass through the Senate with 60 votes.
“There is no GOP bill,” Popp wrote. “There is one bill with a mountain of bipartisan stuff in it.”
Senate Majority Leader McConnell chastised Democrats on the Senate floor on Monday morning, noting that, in private, some Democrats told him that they were “embarrassed” by Pelosi’s decision to halt bipartisan negotiations on the coronavirus.
McConnell said Democrats “ought to be embarrassed.” He added, “In fact, I’ve heard from some who are embarrassed, talking like this is not some juicy political opportunity.”
“This is a national emergency,” he added.
McConnell asked rhetorically, “Why are Democrats filibustering the bipartisan bill they helped write?”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) noted on the Senate floor on Monday that she had worked closely with Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) on the $350 billion provisions to provide small businesses relief in the coronavirus package.
I will tell you, Mr. President, I’ve had the honor to serve in this body for many years, Never, never have I seen Republicans and Democrats fail to come together when confronted with a crisis. We did so after 9/11. We did so with the financial meltdown in 2008. Here we are facing an enemy that is invisible but equally devastating to the health of our people and to the health of our economy. And yet, unbelievably, the Democratic leader objected to my even being able to speak this morning. Is that what we’ve come to? The Democratic leader objected to our convening at 9 o’clock this morning so that we could begin working in earnest. Is that what we’ve come to?
Mr. President, I cannot believe the objections to proceeding to this package. Is this package perfect? No, but that’s why negotiations are still going on. But don’t we want to act quickly to provide relief to the American workers? This is disgraceful. We do not have time. Time is not on our side. Let’s get the job done for the American people:
“I’d like to see Senate Democrats tell seniors who have seen their hard-earned retirement savings literally melt away as the markets track toward their worst month since 1931,” McConnell said.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) remarked on the Senate floor, “Do you know what the American people are thinking right now? They’re thinking that the brain is an amazing organ. It starts working in a mother’s womb, and it doesn’t stop working until you get elected to Congress”:
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.