WATCH: Senators Fume, McConnell and Manchin Throw Down in Rare Floor Argument on Coronavirus Bill
Things got particularly heated on the Senate floor today over the coronavirus stimulus bill making its way through Congress.
A number of Republican senators went off on their Democratic colleagues this afternoon, starting with an angry Susan Collins saying, “I cannot believe that the answer to this crisis as we move to address the economic consequences that are so severe for the people of this country that the answer from our friends on the other side of the aisle is delay, delay, delay. No sense of urgency. No hurry!”
“Do we agree on everything? Of course not! But surely — surely in this time of extreme crisis for our country, when people are getting sick, when people are dying from the Coronavirus, when we are facing unemployment rates which could go as high as 20%, according to the Treasury Secretary, surely we ought to be able to pull together and work quickly to respond to the needs of the American people,” she continued. “Mr. President, I cannot believe the objections to proceeding to this package. Is this package perfect? No, but that’s why negotiations are still going on. But don’t we want to act quickly to provide relief to the American workers? This is disgraceful.”
Other Republican senators went off on their Democratic colleagues, with Senator John Thune saying “the country is burning and your side wants to play political games” and Senator John Kennedy saying, “You know what the American people are thinking right now, Mr. President? They’re thinking that this country was founded by geniuses but it’s being run by a bunch of idiots.”
After Collins spoke, Senator Joe Manchin (D- WV) spoke up next and said he’s upset too, but argued, “The problem that we have in West Virginia right now — you can throw all the money at Wall Street you want to, you can continue to put trillions upon trillions, people are afraid to leave their home. They are afraid because they’re afraid of their health care. I have got workers who don’t have masks. I have got health care workers who don’t have gowns. I have got hospitals that won’t be open another 60 days because they have no cash flow. And it looks like we’re worried more about the economy than we are the health care and the well-being of the people of America.”
Manchin also raised issues on the procedural matters that resulted in a rare but remarkably fiery back-and-forth between the senator and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“Even if cloture were invoked, there is still 30 more hours,” McConnell said. “So in what way I would ask my friend from West Virginia would your side be disadvantaged by that? The American people are waiting for us to act today. The senator from Maine has laid it out very clearly, as she always does, we don’t have time for this. We don’t have time for it!”
“30 hours or 30 days, as long as you have the majority, 51 votes rule,” Manchin said. So the final vote is going to be on passage, whether you have to negotiate or not with us.”
“If my friend would yield, we would have to get cloture again once we got on the bill. In other words, this is cloture on the motion to proceed to the bill. Let me explain it to my good friend from West Virginia!” McConnell said.
You can watch the whole thing above, via C-SPAN 2.
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