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Mitch McConnell Sends the Senate Home, Delays Vote on Coronavirus Relief Bill

McConnell is partying with Brett Kavanaugh while the world burns.

Mitch McConnell looking especially turtle-like in a close-up.

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.

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.

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:

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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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband and two poorly behaved rescue dogs. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.