Four swing-state Senate Democrats up for reelection this year voted on Sunday against a bipartisan bill that would have provided immediate economic relief to Americans suffering from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. All four face tough reelection battles back home in their respective states.
Senate Democrats unanimously rejected the “phase three” coronavirus package, which Senate Republican and Democrat congressional leaders, including the White House, have spent days negotiating the final details over.
David Popp, the communications director for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), noted that congressional leaders filled the bill with bipartisan provisions designed to pass through the Senate with 60 votes.
“There is no GOP bill,” Popp wrote. “There is one bill with a mountain of bipartisan stuff in it.”
There is no GOP bill. There is one bill with a mountain of bipartisan stuff in it. https://t.co/E8yCy0x365
— David Popp (@davidpopp) March 22, 2020
The Senate bipartisan package would provide direct cash payments to Americans, loans to small businesses, and other provisions that would help industries and Americans weather the current epidemic.
Democrat support for the bill fell apart after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) ended bipartisan negotiations over the third phase of the coronavirus package. Instead, Pelosi announced that Democrats will move forward with their own bill.
Subsequently, during a Sunday night vote on the coronavirus package, every Senate Democrat voted against the measure, which includes swing-state senators. Four of these swing-state senators are up for reelection in 2020.
The four Democrat senators, who have touted their bipartisan credentials but voted against the emergency coronavirus package, include:
- Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI)
- Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
- Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN)
- Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL)
The Senate Democrats’ vote was widely condemned by lawmakers and other conservative groups.
“I want everybody to fully understand if we aren’t able to act tomorrow, it will be because of our colleagues on the other side continuing to dicker when the country expects us to come together and address the problem,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on Sunday.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) said on Sunday, “It’s unacceptable that my Dem colleagues are holding up immediate relief for workers, families, seniors, & businesses across US. This is a bipartisan package – many sections of the bill were written by/with Dems. This isn’t a time for politics; it’s a time for leadership & action.”
It’s unacceptable that my Dem colleagues are holding up immediate relief for workers, families, seniors, & businesses across US. This is a bipartisan package – many sections of the bill were written by/with Dems. This isn’t a time for politics; it’s a time for leadership & action
— Joni Ernst (@SenJoniErnst) March 23, 2020
National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Communications Director Jesse Hunt said on Sunday:
Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Senate Democrats allowed partisan fervor to thwart a critical coronavirus relief package while our country faces a crippling pandemic. DSCC-backed candidates last weekend had no problem throwing partisan barbs at the same Republican senators working day and night to find solutions to the complex problems facing their constituents at home. Those same candidates should prove they aren’t beholden to their chief benefactor Schumer and disavow Senate Democrats’ unthinkable decision to filibuster.
Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) Communications Director Calvin Moore said in a statement on Monday:
Even facing the worst economic and public health crisis of our day, Washington Democrats cannot stop themselves from playing politics with people’s lives. Democrats would rather put lives on the line, cause irreparable damage to the American economy, and force small businesses to go belly up than do the right thing. Americans should be appalled.
Retired general and New Hampshire Senate Republican candidate Don Bolduc said in a statement on Sunday that Shaheen’s vote against the coronavirus package was “shameful.”
“It finally seemed as if Washington was going to put politics aside to get something done, but Sen. Shaheen couldn’t set her partisanship aside. Now, American families and businesses will have to wait for the relief they need. The economy will suffer,” Bolduc said.
And Sen. Shaheen will stand with Pelosi instead of the American people.
This isn’t about the next election. This is a national crisis. We don’t have time for Jeanne Shaheen’s stunts. Tell her to get serious and do her job.
— Don Bolduc (@GenDonBolduc) March 23, 2020
Tori Sachs, the executive director for Michigan Rising Action, slammed Peters and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), saying, “Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters voted Sunday to delay a bill that would give critical financial resources to American workers and families impacted by the coronavirus crisis.”
“During one of her many national television appearances, Gov. Whitmer should ask Stabenow and Peters to support the bipartisan deal that will give much needed financial relief to Michiganders,” Sachs added.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.