Mitch McConnell Sends the Senate Home, Delays Vote on Coronavirus Relief Bill
McConnell is partying with Brett Kavanaugh while the world burns.
In the midst of the largest health crisis in decades, when fast action is critical to the country’s health, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is packing up his toys and going home. The Kentucky senator declined to keep the Senate in chambers and joined Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh at an oath ceremony for U.S. District Judge Justin Walker in Louisville.
McConnell left on Thursday, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin finalized plans for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which ensures free coronavirus testing, gives workers 14 days of paid sick leave, and up to three months of paid family and medical leave. The bill also provides $1 billion in food assistance for food-insecure people.
Just walked off the House floor.
Now the Senate needs to pass this package immediately.
☎️⏰ (202) 224-3121
The American people are counting on us. This can’t wait.
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) March 14, 2020
After a tense week of negotiations, the bipartisan bill passed in the House just after midnight this morning, with a vote of 363-40. 40 Republicans voted against the bill, and they are listed here. Might be a good time to donate to their opponents, just saying. The bill received a boost when Trump tweeted his support of it and his intention to sign the bill into law.
Pelosi released a statement saying, “[W]e thought it would be important to show the American people, assure the American people, that we are willing and able to work together to get a job done for them, … So we thank our Republicans — those who will be supporting the bill. We appreciate the president joining us with his tweet.”
The only holdup for the bill now is the Senate, which McConnell sent home for the weekend. It is a galling abdication of responsibility during a national emergency, when literally every hour counts. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released a statement saying, “It was remarkably irresponsible and out of touch for Senator McConnell to send senators out of town for the weekend in the middle of this public health crisis and before the House passed this vital people-focused legislation. Senator McConnell and Republicans should pass this legislation as is immediately so it can get to the president’s desk so he can sign it right away.”
The Senate was scheduled to have a week-long recess next week, which McConnell canceled. But this is hardly the time to take the weekend off. And most people agree, as the hashtag #WheresMitch is currently trending on social media.
Pelosi kept the House working late, passing a coronavirus relief bill after midnight 363-40.
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) March 14, 2020
We need to pass this life-saving bill now. Mitch, just pretend it’s an unqualified white man seeking a lifetime judicial appointment. https://t.co/RhQhm5oqzy
— Rep. John Yarmuth (@RepJohnYarmuth) March 12, 2020
We have a bipartisan package that passed the House tonight & has been agreed to by the White House.
McConnell needs to bring the Senate back now and call a vote. I don’t care if it’s a Saturday. COVID doubling rate means every 24 hours represents a critical window. #WheresMitch?
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 14, 2020
These are shelves in Louisville KY. Instead of working on solutions to the pandemic, our senator is AWOL from Washington #WheresMitch He is up for re-election in November. Let's make sure we never have to wonder where is or isn't again. pic.twitter.com/J0KH34dahw
— Crystal Beck (@Lost_In_Anarchy) March 14, 2020
It's 8:20am Saturday.
For the Senate to take a vote on the House sick leave bill this weekend (and we must), McConnell needs to call us back into session right now. Senators need to get on flights back to DC today.
The clock is ticking. Lives are at stake.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) March 14, 2020
It’s Saturday morning. There is a bill that will provide relief for people with COVID 19 that the House passed and the POTUS will sign. But Leader McConnell has us out of session from Thursday evening until Monday evening. Time is of the essence. Let’s get this done now.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) March 14, 2020
Here’s what McConnell said two days ago about a House Democratic bill that provided paid sick leave, food aid, free #coronavirus testing and enhanced unemployment/Medicaid benefits
— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) March 14, 2020
It is absolutely bonkers that one manturtle can suspend billions of dollars worth of aid during an international crisis, but power is a hell of a drug. McConnell’s democratic challengers just got the biggest gift to their campaign thanks to this dereliction of duty. Democratic hopefuls Amy McGrath and Charles Booker both tweeted about McConnell’s failure:
I'm calling on Mitch to cancel his long weekend, get back to work and mitigate the damage of this public health crisis — which would save lives. pic.twitter.com/zLNid791Is
— Amy McGrath (@AmyMcGrathKY) March 13, 2020
Whenever a proposal helps those struggling the most, you find a way to stop it.
Helping Americans stay alive and financially secure is not off base.
We know you don’t see us. We know you don’t care if we die.
That’s exactly why you need to go. https://t.co/19MgOXfEAw
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) March 12, 2020
Mitch McConnell has been a damaging force in our democracy for far too long. Now would be a good time to donate to his challengers, or to funds like Get Mitch or Die Trying, which puts money towards vulnerable senate campaigns.
(via Washington Post, image: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
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