What Took So Long? Democrats Putting Politics Above COVID Relief

Democrats Refused To Make Law Where The Parties Agreed, Instead Insisting On An All-Or-Nothing Policy Until After The November Election

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “So why did it take all this time? We know why. We have heard Democrats say openly that they were not willing to deal all summer and fall, but are willing now, because they now have a President-elect of their own political party. That’s not my accusation — that’s their admission. So, look, I’m glad we’ve gotten this done…. But I really regret that some on the Democratic side decided that partisan presidential politics were more important than getting urgent and noncontroversial relief out the door much, much sooner — to families who have needed this help badly. The progress of this past week could have happened in July, or in August, or in September, or in October. Senate Republicans were advocating for a package just like this one, all along, in real time. I just wish our partners on the other side had put political calculations aside and worked with us to make this happen a long time ago.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 12/20/2020)


AFTER THE ELECTION: Speaker Pelosi And Sen. Durbin Admitted That The Only Thing That Changed For Democrats Was The Presidential Election

Q: “But what shifted, in your opinion, from when the Problem Solvers Caucus had a much larger bill a few months ago, you did not like that piece of legislation … What has shifted now, when they’re on board with this piece that’s come out of the Senate?”
HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): “Perhaps you missed what I said earlier.  Joe Biden, committed to ending and crushing the virus and having a Build Back Better America initiative, Build Back Better…. That makes--that is a total game changer, a new president and a vaccine. So there’s nothing to--these are different--what was then before was not more of this. This is--has simplicity. It’s what we’ve had in our bills. It’s for a shorter period of time. But that’s okay now because we have a new president, a president who recognizes that we need to depend on science to stop the virus, a president who understands that America’s working families need to have money in their pockets in a way that takes them into the future without any of the contractions of any of the other bills that the administration was associating itself within before.” (Speaker Pelosi, Press Conference, 12/04/2020)

CNN’s JAKE TAPPER: “Senator Bernie Sanders said that Democrats turned down a deal from the White House for $1.8 trillion because Schumer and Pelosi wanted $2.2 trillion. Now you’re looking at a compromise deal of about half of the White House offered, $908 billion. We don’t even know if we’re going to be able to see that passed. Looking back, was it a mistake for Pelosi and Schumer to turn down 1.8 trillion?”
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL), Senate Democratic Whip: “There was some exuberance involved because an election was coming, and they were both bidding one another and trying to find common ground. They didn’t reach that point. But to return to those pre-election days and sentiments -- political sentiments is very difficult. We are looking at the reality now of a new president coming on board in just a few weeks.” (CNN, 12/08/2020)


BEFORE THE ELECTION: Speaker Pelosi Lays Out Her All-Or-Nothing Policy: ‘Don’t Be Misled By Thinking, Oh, Well, A Little Bit Is Better Than Nothing. No, It Isn’t’

MSNBC’s ANDREA MITCHELL: “Well, is it better to go forward with some...”
HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): “No, it isn’t. Now, let me -- thank you so much for that question, because I hear it a lot. And, clearly, it springs from all the good intentions we all have to help people as soon as we can. … So, don’t be misled by thinking, oh, well, a little bit is better than nothing. No, it isn’t.” (MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” 9/09/2020)

SPEAKER PELOSI: “Don’t be a cheap date.” (“Democrats, Republicans Point Fingers Over Lack of Coronavirus Aid Bill,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/14/2020)
BLOOMBERG’s DAVID WESTIN: “You mentioned negotiating with the Administration.  The Administration has sent signals, they weren’t very subtle, saying they’re interested in something like $1.5 trillion compromise, which would have, as I understand it, $450 a week – not $600, but $450 a week for people for at least eight weeks, and would have $500 billion for the states.  Not the $900 [billion] you asked for, but not the $100 [billion] the Republicans have said. Isn’t something better than nothing?”

SPEAKER PELOSI: “No.” (Bloomberg, 9/18/2020)

SPEAKER PELOSI: “And so, when people say, as some of you do, ‘Isn’t something better than nothing?’ No.” (Bloomberg, 10/01/2020)

SPEAKER PELOSI: “And some of you have asked, isn’t something better than nothing? No.” (Speaker Pelosi, Press Conference, 10/01/2020)

SPEAKER PELOSI: “But again, we’re not just taking the path of least resistance because everybody says, ‘Just take something, something is better than nothing.’ No…” (MSNBC, 10/02/2020)

PELOSI: ‘I’m So Proud That All Of The Senate Democrats Voted Against’ Targeted Republican Proposals On COVID Relief

SPEAKER PELOSI: “But again, what they – we have a massive problem in our country, we have a massive problem and they put forth not only a skinny bill, as Mr. Schumer says, an emaciated bill. That’s why I’m so proud that all of the Senate Democrats voted against that.” (Speaker Pelosi, Press Conference, 9/17/2020)

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)



Related Issues: Appropriations, COVID-19, Senate Democrats