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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who led the effort to ink a comprehensive, bipartisan coronavirus relief package, erupted in anger Monday morning, excoriating Democrats who pulled an eleventh hour political stunt, calling time on the stimulus as they pursued a separate relief packaged, authored by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and packed with handouts to unions, and Green New Deal demands.
McConnell, clearly incensed, took to the Senate floor to voice his concerns, shredding the Democrats’ proposals.
“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. Are you kidding me?,” McConnell raved.
“This is not a juicy political opportunity. This is a national emergency,” he continued. “They ought to be embarassed.”
“I’d like to see Senate Democrats tell NYC doctors they’re filibustering hospital funding and more masks because they want to argue with the airlines over their carbon footprint,” McConnell added, jabbing at Democrats over their proposed conditions to coronavirus relief, including a cap on airline emissions and a handout for “alternative” energy companies that peddle solar panels and wind turbines.
The normally reserved McConnell even lashed out at Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) who, as recently as Sunday, was a supporter of the bipartisan coronavirus relief bill.
“And it looks like we’re worried more about the economy than we are the health care and the wellbeing of the people of America,” Manchin groaned, referencing a so-called “slush fund” for corporations, which Republicans say is merely a provision that will dole out interest-free loans to businesses still affected by the coronavirus lockdown in six months, provided that they don’t spend the money on C-suite salaries and stock buybacks.
McConnell fired back: “The American people are waiting for us to act today! We don’t have time for this! We don’t have time for it!”
“Answer my question!” McConnell demanded of Manchin. “In what way would the Democratic Party be disadvantaged?”
Manchin eventually trailed off on health care, clearly forgetting that the negotiated bill — which was up for debate and not passage when it was sidelined — contains money for hospitals and healthcare workers handling the coronavirus response.
Pelosi, reportedly the force behind the Democrats’ decision to abandon a bipartisan relief effort, unveiled her bill at 2 p.m. EST on Monday. It is expected to total more than $1.6 trillion in spending and include provisions bailing out the post office, mandating same-day voter registration, pushing diversity quotas on corporate boards, and, potentially, funding abortion providers with money unhindered by the Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayers from directly funding abortion services — something Pelosi tried desperately to sneak into an earlier draft of a coronavirus response bill.
The Democrats may still have to come to the bargaining table on McConnell’s proposals, however. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), perhaps sensing pushback from his constituencies, said there was still room for movement Monday morning, but would not specify what the Democrats’ were looking to do with the current, bipartisan bill.
Without assent or debate, a coronavirus relief package likely will not pass Congress until at least Friday.