With Senate Democrats and the White House about to forge an agreement on a coronavirus package, it's worth revisiting how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has wasted 10 critical days of Senate time—in the middle of a pandemic—playing a toxic, partisan game.
Let’s start on March 14, when the House passed the first coronavirus stimulus package. The Senate wasn't there to receive the bill, because McConnell had decided he'd rather be in Kentucky, celebrating his achievement of getting an unqualified federal judge onto the bench, alongside unqualified and tainted Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
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He ended up delaying the vote for several days, giving Republicans like Rep. Louie Gohmert time to force the House into making "technical corrections" on the bill, which actually ended up being a pare-back of the emergency leave provisions in it for American workers. This was all on the supposition that some Senate Republicans wanted to vote against the bill and wouldn't pass it if that wasn't fixed.
Finally goaded into action, McConnell put the bill on the floor on Wednesday, March 18, where it passed. McConnell then announced he was unilaterally taking over the next phase of stimulus, shutting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democrats out of the process.
For the past five days, McConnell has been pursuing that fruitless plan, at one point actually soliciting Democratic input—which he then tossed. He put a Republican bill on the floor and tried to bully Democrats into supporting it by claiming how "urgent" it was that the Senate act, bringing the vote over the weekend. That failed last Sunday. When he tried it again on Monday, it failed again. As he knew it would, because he had refused to make any of the Democrats' necessary changes.
Then he had the gall to feign outrage, yelling, "This body can't get its act together, and the only reason it can't get its act together is right over here on the other side of the aisle" and actually claiming that Republicans and Democrats had negotiated "furiously" on this bill. He left out the part that most of the furious negotiating on the part of the Democrats had been jettisoned from the final package—and that Pelosi had been entirely sidelined.
Precious time was lost in the past 10 days. It’s time that McConnell spent trying to structure another massive corporate giveaway, with his no-strings-attached $500 billion slush fund, at the expense of the actual people of America. Nothing Mitch McConnell has done in the past decade is going to make history look upon him kindly. But what he's done in the past 10 days will seal his place in history as the most destructive Senate leader ever.