McConnell as 'Angry' as the Press Has Ever Seen Him on the Senate Floor

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Posted: Mar 22, 2020 8:30 PM
McConnell as 'Angry' as the Press Has Ever Seen Him on the Senate Floor

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

As you've already heard, the Senate failed to invoke cloture for procedural motion on the CARES Act on Sunday, the next phase of Congress's coronavirus emergency relief effort. The final tally was 47-47, far short of the 60-vote threshold. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke for the Democrats by claiming that the GOP measure "includes huge bailouts without protections for people and workers and without accountability, and because it shortchanges our hospitals and healthcare workers who need our help." Republican senators immediately chewed out their Democratic colleagues for another "unbelievable" round of partisan playmaking.

But the fiercest response came from the Senate Majority Leader himself. Despite his own serious qualms about Phase Two of Congress's coronavirus response last week, Mitch McConnell and his GOP colleagues gagged and voted for it anyway (his words). Why, he wondered, couldn't Pelosi do the same courtesy for Part Three?

"It was just a few days ago when this Republican Senate majority moved expeditiously to pass the House Democrats’ 'phase two' legislation, even though many of my colleagues on this side of the aisle and I had serious reservations and would have written it differently," McConnell said. "Nevertheless, I pushed the Speaker’s legislation through the Senate. Because urgency and results matter during a national crisis. Because, imperfections notwithstanding, it was the right thing to do for our country. So I hope and anticipate that a similar degree of bipartisanship and urgency will be reciprocated now."

When McConnell reacted on the Senate floor, some veteran reporters said that it was the angriest they've ever seen him. 

You can see for yourself. Either I'm imagining it or his cheeks got really red.

"This obstruction achieves nothing!" McConnell fumed. "Nothing whatsoever." 

Voting "yes" on the bill would not have disadvantaged Democrats in any way, McConnell reasoned, because it would have allowed them another 30 hours of debate. Instead, he said the Democrats "continue to dicker." 

McConnell said he's scheduling another vote on the measure at a time of his choosing, and he "hopes that some adults show up on the side of the room."

Trump was asked to respond to the stalled vote during Sunday's White House press briefing.

"To me, it's not that complicated," he said. "We have the help the worker. We have to save the companies."