Rancor on Capitol Hill went from bad to worse Monday after Senate Democrats– once again– blocked a coronavirus emergency funding bill from advancing in the Senate.
Sen. John Kennedy, R- La., said the U.S. was founded by geniuses but is currently “being run by a bunch of idiots,” referring to his Democrat peers.
Kennedy was joined by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., who said flatly that the country is burning “and your side wants to play political games.”
Senate Democrats on Monday blocked a cloture vote that would have given the green light to the trillion-dollar stimulus package to advance to a full vote. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, needed 12 Democrats to cross party lines and vote with Republicans.
But that seems less and less likely and while small businesses go under and unemployment lines deepen, the Senate Democrats appear unwilling to bend.
“Are you kidding me?” McConnell asked. “This is not a juicy political opportunity, this is a national emergency.”
The National Review reported that Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., broke with his party and voted in favor of fast-tracking the $1.8 trillion stimulus package. The vote died on Monday 49-46. Republicans hold the majority in the Senate but five are currently in quarantine over coronavirus fears.
Jones told CNN that he was “embarrassed” by the partisan fighting.
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The New York Times reported that the key impasse is the $425 billion fund for distressed companies. Democrats say that the fund lack transparency and may allow companies to get richer while cutting employees. The Times reported that Democrats worry that the stimulus package gives Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin too much authority on what companies receive the funding.
Mnuchin told reporters Monday evening that things were “going well” after he left Schumer’s office, according to Politico. He said he still hopes that there will be a deal.
“We Democrats are trying to get things done, not making partisan speech after partisan speech,” Schumer said, according to the Times. “Our goal is to reach a deal today, and we are hopeful, even confident, that we will meet that goal.”
Republicans insist, however, that Democrats are hurting the American people in order to advance their goals.
“I cannot believe that the answer to this crisis as we move to address the economic consequences that are so severe for the people of this country that the answer from our friends on the other side of the aisle is delay, delay, delay,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said, according to Mediaite. “No sense of urgency. No hurry!”