Democrats’ Endless Objections, Deflections, And Rejections Have Delayed Further COVID Relief For Half A Year

Going Back To July, Democrats Have Rejected More Than 10 Republican Proposals To Get COVID Relief And Economic Assistance To Struggling Americans

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Senate Republicans have made one offer… after another… after another to try and make law on all the significant areas where nobody even disagrees. We have spent July, August, September, October, and November trying different ways to create common ground. But the Speaker of the House and the Senate Democratic Leader have been just as consistent. At every turn, they have delayed, deflected, moved the goalposts, and made the huge number of places where Congress agrees into a hostage of the few places we do not.… I count no fewer than 10 separate times that top Democrats rejected or blocked various Republican efforts to jump-start this process…. Last week, after speaking with the Administration, I made yet another overture. The Democratic Leader said no thanks. And just yesterday, the Speaker and the Democratic Leader brushed off two different overtures in the space of about two hours! … More deflection, more delay, and more suffering for innocent Americans.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 12/09/2020)

  • LEADER McCONNELL: “Can anyone point to a single sign, from April through now, that Democratic leaders have seriously wanted another bipartisan deal to become law? Can anybody name one way — just one — the Democratic leaders would have behaved differently if their singular goal was to kill any compromise? … Are struggling Americans saying ‘thank goodness the Democrats are bravely blocking help for me and my family unless my state politicians get some cash’? I’d say not. Our people need more help. There’s a huge list of helpful policies that both sides agree on. This need not be rocket science. But we can’t do a thing unless the Democrats decide they want to make law.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 12/09/2020)


YESTERDAY: Sen. Schumer Immediately Opposed A Proposal From Leader McConnell To Set Aside Debate On Liability Protections And Extra Money For States

LEADER McCONNELL: “It remains my view that we ought to pass what we can agree on, and I think that's a pretty broad area that includes PPP, vaccine delivery, additional assistance to healthcare providers, and a variety of other things that are not controversial.… What I recommend is we set aside liability and set aside state and local impasse … knowing full well we will be back at this after the first of the year. … [W]hy don't we set aside the two obviously most contentious issues we know we're going to be confronted with another request after the first of the year? We'll live to fight those another day and pass the things that we agree on.” (Sen. McConnell, Press Conference, 12/08/2020)

SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “I want to address first what Senator McConnell has just said….  Leader McConnell has refused to be part of the negotiations--Leader McConnell has refused to be part of the bipartisan negotiations, and now he is sabotaging good-faith bipartisan negotiations because his partisan ideological effort is not getting a good reception. Senator McConnell is trying to pull the rug out from beneath the Gang of Eight. We believe they have been making good progress, and they ought to be allowed to move forward because they are the best hope for a bipartisan solution.” (Sen. Schumer, Press Conference, 12/08/2020)


ALSO YESTERDAY: Speaker Pelosi And Sen. Schumer Rejected A New Compromise On COVID Relief Proposed By Secretary Mnuchin

“Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement posted to Twitter on Tuesday that he had spoken to Speaker Nancy Pelosi this evening and made a $916 billion offer for a coronavirus relief bill, slightly more than the package brought forward by a bipartisan group of lawmakers last week.” (“Mnuchin Makes $916 Billion Offer To Pelosi For COVID Relief Bill,” CBS News, 12/09/2020)

HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA) AND SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “[T]he President’s proposal must not be allowed to obstruct the bipartisan Congressional talks that are underway.” (Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Schumer, Press Release, 12/08/2020)


FIRST WEEK OF DECEMBER: Sen. Schumer Again Immediately Opposed An Updated Targeted Relief Bill Introduced By Leader McConnell

LEADER McCONNELL: “[A]fter several conversations with the Secretary of the Treasury and the White House Chief of Staff, I put forward yesterday another proposal reflecting what the President is ready to sign into law. What we’ve proposed would give universities and nonprofits the legal certainty they need. It would create a second draw of the job-saving Paycheck Protection Program to prevent more layoffs. And it would extend two important emergency unemployment benefit programs that were created by the CARES Act and which will expire in December without action. These programs have been championed by our Democratic colleagues, particularly the senior Senator for Virginia, and we made sure they were included in this framework. I hope our Democratic colleagues will finally let Congress pass a bipartisan bill that the President will sign into law — and do so soon.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 12/02/2020)

SEN. SCHUMER: “From early reports in the press, the latest Republican offer will be even more insufficient than the previous two attempts … The Republican Leader should not waste the Senate’s time on another inadequate, partisan proposal, and instead should sit down with Democrats to begin a true, bipartisan effort to quickly meet the needs of the country.” (Sen. Schumer, Remarks, 12/02/2020)


LATE OCTOBER: Senate Democrats Reject An Extension To Paycheck Protection Program Aid To Small Businesses

LEADER McCONNELL: “I would submit, that even for a Congress this divided, even in the year 2020, re-opening the PPP ought to be a no-brainer…. But there’s a problem. The PPP has been taken hostage…. The Democratic leaders have spent months holding out for a long far-left wish list of non-COVID-related priorities and obstructing any additional aid until they get it…. There is no reason the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program should wait another day. So we’re going to vote on this legislation today. One clear vote on one clear program that everyone in this chamber says they want to pass…. It’s no counterargument to complain that the PPP legislation does not also contain 100 other things. The entire point is to agree where we can and make law while we keep arguing over the rest. If my Democratic colleagues oppose the job-saving PPP, they should come to the floor and say why. Otherwise, this afternoon should bring another unanimous vote.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 10/20/2020)

SEN. SCHUMER: “Today, the Republican majority will try to force a stunt--not even a real vote on a bill--but it leaves almost the entire country out of the picture…. For months, Democrats have been pushing for the Heroes Act … So today Democrats will move to have the Senate take a vote on the Heroes Act, a comprehensive bill that does so much, that doesn't leave all the people behind that this proposal does.” (Sen. Schumer, Congressional Record, S.6305, 10/20/2020)

42 Democrats voted against Senate action on extending the Paycheck Protection Program. (S.Amdt. 2680 to S.Amdt. 2652 to S. 178, Roll Call Vote #203: Motion rejected 40-57: R 0-52; D 38-5; I 2-0, 10/20/2020)

  • SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): “[S]hortly, we will be voting on whether or not to extend the Paycheck Protection Program, which has been hugely successful in helping our small businesses keep their employees…. The amendment that we are about to vote on would provide approximately $258 billion in funding to allow eligibility for a second PPP loan for the hardest hit small businesses and non-profits, while also expanding and improving the program in some common-sense ways.” (Sen. Collins, Congressional Record, S. 6318, 10/20/2020)


EARLY OCTOBER: Speaker Pelosi Rejected A New COVID Relief Proposal Offered By Secretary Mnuchin

“Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made an over $1.8 trillion offer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Friday in a renewed search for an economic relief deal, but agreement remained elusive as Pelosi said her terms still weren’t met.” (“Trump Makes $1.8 Trillion Economic Relief Offer, But Deal With Pelosi Remains Elusive,” The Washington Post, 10/09/2020)

SPEAKER PELOSI: “Subsequently, Secretary Mnuchin came back to the negotiating table, and this weekend, the Administration issued a proposal that amounted to one step forward, two steps back. In fact, in some instances, it makes matters worse. … Tragically, the Trump proposal falls significantly short of what this pandemic and deep recession demand.” (Speaker Pelosi, Dear Colleague Letter, 10/13/2020)


SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER: Senate Democrats Twice Filibustered Targeted COVID Relief

In September, Every Present Senate Democrat Voted To Block Moving Forward On A Targeted COVID Relief Bill

46 Democrats voted to block Senate action on the relief bill. (S.178, Roll Call Vote #168: Motion Rejected: R: 52-1; D: 0-44; I: 0-2, 9/10/2020)

The Hill: “Senate Democrats block GOP relief bill” (“Senate Democrats Block GOP Relief Bill,” The Hill, 9/10/2020)

And Again In October, Senate Democrats Voted To Block Moving Forward On A Targeted COVID Relief Bill

44 Senate Democrats voted to block the targeted COVID relief bill. (S. 178, Roll Call Vote #207: 51-44, R 51-0, D 0-42, I 0-2, 10/21/2020)

Axios: “Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell’s targeted COVID relief bill” (“Senate Democrats Block Vote On Mcconnell’s Targeted COVID Relief Bill,” Axios, 10/21/2020)

Washington Examiner: “Senate Democrats block $500B coronavirus aid package a second time” (“Senate Democrats Block $500B Coronavirus Aid Package A Second Time,” Washington Examiner, 10/21/2020)


JULY & AUGUST: Senate Democrats Blocked Four Basic Requests To Extend Unemployment Assistance, Deriding Them As A ‘Stunt’ Or ‘Snake Oil’

JULY 30th: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) asked unanimous consent that the Senate pass his Coronavirus Relief Fair Unemployment Compensation Act, a bill that extended additional federal unemployment benefits through the end of the year. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) objected.

  • SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): “We have a problem. We have two problems. We can't do a deal because I don't believe our friends on the other side of the aisle are serious about doing a deal. But we have unemployment expiring … The COVID recession is not ending any time soon. Rather than having to come back and do this over and over again and increase the anxiety on Americans who are unemployed, let's extend this to the end of December…. I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of my bill at the desk. I further ask that the bill be considered read a third time and passed …” (Sen. Johnson, Congressional Record, S.4607-4608, 7/30/2020)
  • SEN. SCHUMER: “This proposal, amazingly enough, is even stingier than the one the Republicans introduced a few days ago…. So I am going to offer a unanimous consent request in a few minutes to pass the Heroes Act … I object.” (Sen. Schumer, Congressional Record, S.4609, 7/30/2020)

JULY 30th: Later the same day, Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) asked unanimous consent that the Senate pass the bill she introduced to extend the expanded unemployment insurance benefit for just one more week. Again, Sen. Schumer objected.

  • SEN. MARTHA McSALLY (R-AZ): “[T]oday I am calling on my Senate colleagues to be pragmatic, to meet in the middle on what we should agree on. I am asking Senators to simply extend expanded unemployment benefits for 7 days while Congress comes up with a solution. Who could be against that? … I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of my bill at the desk. I further ask that the bill be considered read a third time and passed …” (Sen. McSally, Congressional Record, S.4618-4619, 7/30/2020)

AUGUST 4th: Five days later, Sen. McSally again asked unanimous consent that the Senate pass the bill she introduced to extend the expanded unemployment insurance benefit for one week. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) objected.

  • SEN. McSALLY: “5 days ago, I stood before you and this body and urged our fellow Senators to reach across the aisle and find agreement … I made a simple request for Senators to be pragmatic, to meet in the middle, and to expand the unemployment benefits through Friday--for 7 days--while Congress continues to work through our differences and comes up with a solution. I asked: Who could possibly be against this? Well, it turns out the minority leader came to the floor personally in order to object…. I am here again to offer a simple, commonsense solution--to extend the expanded [benefits] for unemployed Americans through the week while we continue to work through our differences here to provide economic support, relief, and economic recovery for America…. Therefore, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of my bill at the desk. I further ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered and read a third time and passed …” (Sen. McSally, Congressional Record, S.4699-4700, 8/04/2020)
  • SEN. RON WYDEN (D-OR): “A short-term extension isn't enough for the hard-working Americans relying on this lifeline who don't have jobs to go back to. What about next week and the week after that? … Our country needs a long-term solution … I object.” (Sen. Wyden, Congressional Record, S.4700, 8/04/2020)

AUGUST 6th: Two days later, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) tried one more time and asked unanimous consent that the Senate pass the McSally bill to extend the expanded unemployment insurance benefit for one week. Again, Sen. Wyden objected.

  • SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): “I think we are all a little frustrated right now because the negotiations on the next COVID-19 package seem to be at a standstill…. So 6 days ago [expanded unemployment insurance] expired, and … 7 days ago, Martha McSally, a Senator from Arizona, came to this floor and offered this same unanimous consent request, saying: Let's just [extend it] for another week. Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Leader, objected--instead, offering the $3.5 trillion package from the House. But he didn't respond to why we wouldn't at least give the negotiators a week to come up with something. So I am going to offer that same thing today … We are not talking about a negotiation here. We are talking about a weeklong extension of the existing [benefit], so we could enable people to have some certainty and predictability … I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of the bill at the desk; I further ask that the bill be considered read a third time and passed …” (Sen. Portman, Congressional Record, S.5245-5247, 8/06/2020)
  • SEN. WYDEN: “In my view, the only thing worse than what the Republicans have done … would be to allow a bill to pass that promises money without actually delivering it. That is snake oil … A short-term extension isn't enough for the hard-working Americans relying on this lifeline who don't have jobs to go back to…. I object.” (Sen. Wyden, Congressional Record, S.5247-5248, 8/06/2020)


JULY: Sen. Schumer Rejected Senate Republicans’ HEALS Act Proposal

LEADER McCONNELL: “The American people need more help. They need it to be comprehensive. And they need it to be carefully tailored to this crossroads. That is what this Senate majority has assembled…. [T]he HEALS Act -- Health; Economic Assistance; Liability protection; and Schools. Just like in March, with the CARES Act, Senate Republicans have authored another bold framework to help our nation. So now, we need our Democratic colleagues to reprise their part as well. They need to put aside the partisan stonewalling we saw on police reform, rediscover the spirit of urgency that got the CARES Act across the finish line, and quickly join us around the negotiating table. It will take bipartisan cooperation to make the HEALS Act into law for the American people.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 7/27/2020)

SEN. SCHUMER: “It also appears that the Republican proposal will not be an actual, coherent bill, but rather a series of small, piecemeal ideas. … Worse still, based on reports and Leader McConnell’s speech just now, the Republican legislative response to COVID-19 is totally inadequate. … The Republican ‘proposal’ will ignore not one or two or three, but scores of major crises in America right now. In addition, based on what the Leader has said, the Republican proposal won’t go nearly far enough … Here’s what we should do: Republicans should scrap their approach…. They should use the Heroes Act, comprehensive, strong, and bold, for negotiations, and start talking with Democrats in a serious way about the real problems our country is facing.” (Sen. Schumer, Remarks, 7/27/2020)


Speaker Pelosi Is Even Making Up Reasons To Oppose Republican Offers, Falsely Suggesting That Republican Proposals Don’t Include Funding For States To Distribute Vaccines

SPEAKER PELOSI: “Leader McConnell's efforts to undermine good-faith, bipartisan negotiations are appalling. …. With vaccine distribution being administered by the states, state and local funding is central to our efforts to crush the virus. The bipartisan negotiations involving Senators and Members of the House have made good progress and must be allowed to proceed without Leader McConnell's obstruction.” (Speaker Pelosi, Press Release, 12/08/2020)

In Fact, The Legislation Put Forward By Leader McConnell That Senate Democrats Filibustered In September And October Included $6 Billion For Distributing Vaccines Through The States

McCONNELL AMENDMENT 2652: “For an additional amount for ‘Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund’, $31,000,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2024, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, including the development of necessary countermeasures and vaccines, prioritizing platform-based technologies with U.S.-based manufacturing capabilities, the purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, necessary medical supplies, as well as medical surge capacity, addressing blood supply chain, workforce modernization, telehealth access and infrastructure, initial advanced manufacturing, novel dispensing, enhancements to the U.S. Commissioned Corps, and other preparedness and response activities… Provided further, That of the amount appropriated under this paragraph in this Act, $6,000,000,000 shall be for activities to plan, prepare for, promote, distribute, administer, monitor, and track coronavirus vaccines to ensure broad-based distribution, access, and vaccine coverage:  …  Provided further, That the Secretary [of Health and Human Services], through the Director of CDC, shall report to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate within 60 days of enactment of this Act on a comprehensive coronavirus vaccine distribution strategy and spend plan that includes how existing infrastructure will be leveraged, enhancements or new infrastructure that may be built, considerations for moving and storing vaccines, guidance for how States and health care providers should prepare for, store, and administer vaccines, nationwide vaccination targets, funding that will be distributed to States, how an informational campaign to both the public and health care providers will be executed, and how the vaccine distribution plan will focus efforts on high risk, underserved, and minority populations…” (Senate Amendment 2652, Congressional Record, S.5472, 09/08/2020)



Related Issues: Jobs, Senate Democrats, Appropriations, Small Business, COVID-19