On the Senate floor, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, asked for unanimous consent that Senators be allowed to discuss the proposed $1.8 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer objected, which led the typically quiet Maine Senator to blast Schumer and Democrats for playing partisan games, inevitably delaying a necessary stimulus bill as the economy tanks.
“I asked unanimous consent that proceedings under the quorum be dispensed with,” Collins said.
“I object,” Schumer said.
Collins and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., called Schumer’s actions disgraceful.
“We don’t have another day. We don’t have another hour. We don’t have another minute to delay acting,” Collins said.
Senator Collins: "I ask unanimous consent that proceedings under the quorum be dispensed with."
Senator Schumer: "I object."@senatemajldr: "Oh, come on."
Senator Collins: "This is unbelievable."
Democrats continue to play their political games…
— Students For Trump (@TrumpStudents) March 23, 2020
On Sunday night, Democrats attempted to kill the proposed stimulus bill in a 47-47 vote. Republicans are struggling as five Republican senators remain in quarantine, including Sen. Rand Paul who tested positive for coronavirus on Monday.
Democrats argue that President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are using the stimulus funds to put corporations before individuals. Yet, they continue to delay action in the Senate.
Republicans argue that Democrats are using coronavirus legislation to push broader liberal legislation. For example, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s proposed bill prioritizes corporate board diversity, lowering greenhouse gas emissions of flights, and requiring state’s implement same-day voter registration.
Because if I'm an American who just got furloughed, my biggest priorities are corporate board diversity, bailing out the post office, the greenhouse gas emissions of flights I can no longer afford to book, and requiring same-day voter registration.
These are all in Pelosi's bill pic.twitter.com/YULqp5rTLf
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 23, 2020
After Collins’s speech, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., called for the Senate to enact remote voting.
“We should not be physically on this floor at this moment. We know better,” Durbin said. “Let’s think of this in human terms.”
Across the aisle, @DickDurbin tells everyone to "take a deep breath" & calls for remote voting. Five senators in quarantine; one, Rand Paul is infected.
“We should not be physically on this floor at this moment. We know better….Lets think of this in human terms"
— Sheryl Gay Stolberg (@SherylNYT) March 23, 2020
There was continued in-fighting on the Senate floor between Democrats and Republicans over the timeline of the proposed bill in the House of Representatives. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said McConnell made the Senate leave town on Thursday night after the House passed a stimulus bill. Brown placed the blame on McConnell for delay on the stimulus bill.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., accurately pointed out the House bill had yet to be written.
Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., pointed out the ridiculousness of such partisan bickering during a pandemic.
“You know what the American people are thinking right now Mr. President? They’re thinking that this country was founded by geniuses, but is being run by a bunch of idiots,” Kennedy said.