On Monday afternoon, moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins (ME) ripped into Democratic leadership for delaying a bipartisan coronavirus stimulus package directed to ease the pain of Americans affected by nationwide precautions taken against the virus.
Collins called the delay “disgraceful,” outlining conversations she’s had with “mom and pop” small business owners from Maine who’ve conveyed that the relief is urgent.
“Unbelievably, the Democratic leader objected to my even being able to speak this morning,” Collins started in, directing her fury at Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “Is that what we’ve come to? The Democratic leader objected to our convening at nine o’clock this morning so that we could being working in earnest? Is that what we’ve come to?”
According to CNN reporter Kristin Wilson, Collins, at one point, walked across the aisle to Schumer’s seat, “pointed her finger at his face and said ‘You are objecting to my speaking? This is appalling!!'”
“Frayed nerves and tension on the senate floor. Sen. Tom Cotton at one point yelled ‘this is bulls***’ twice. Sen. Collins got in Sen. Schumer’s face. And they figured on those voice votes on the fly,” Wilson reported Monday, adding that “Collins stood up, walked thru her row, across aisle to his seat, stood w/in one foot (maybe less, being conservative) pointed her finger at his face repeatedly and said ‘You are objecting to my speaking? This is appalling!!’ (Still pointing, leaning in as she pointed.)”
Collins stood up, walked thru her row, across aisle to his seat, stood w/in one foot (maybe less, being conservative) pointed her finger at his face repeatedly and said “You are objecting to my speaking? This is appalling!!” (Still pointing, leaning in as she pointed.) https://t.co/kOcoEW2b8S
— Kristin Wilson (@kristin__wilson) March 23, 2020
“The fact is we’ve been working on a bipartisan effort through task force, with both Republican and Democrats, making very good progress, and putting together a comprehensive package,” Collins continued her speech. “This one is to address and prevent the economic devastation that is being caused by this virus.”
“We don’t have another day,” the GOP senator said. “We don’t have another hour! We don’t have another minute to delay acting.”
Collins, working with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and others, helped craft small business relief starting with a $300 billion price tag.
As noted by The Daily Wire, the relief, which offers loans that effectively turn into grants for small businesses that keep their employees on payroll until June 30, is a lifeline for employers struggling to keep their heads above water, at no fault of their own.
“I have talked to businesses all over my state,” Collins continued, noting that a small third-generation diner owner told her this was the first time she’s ever had to close her doors.
“We are unemployed, our son is unemployed, our friends who’ve worked with us for years are unemployed,” the diner owner told Collins, the Republican said.
“How can any of us wanna see millions of Americans lose their paychecks, their health insurance, their contributions to their retirement plans?” concluded Collins.
On Sunday, Sen. Mitch McConnell unloaded on Democratic leadership for delaying the coronavirus stimulus package, as well.
“So I want to explain what just happened,” McConnell said, as reported by The Daily Wire. “Our good friends on the other side would not have been disadvantaged one bit if this vote had succeeded because it would have required potentially 30 more hours of discussion, during which these seemingly endless negotiations could go on as long as they would like.”
“Now the build up to this, so everybody fully understands, is that we had a high level of bipartisanship in five different working groups over the last 48 hours where members who were participating were reaching agreement,” the senator continued. “And then all of a sudden the Democratic leader and the Speaker of the House shows up, and we’re back to square one. So, we’re fiddling here, fiddling with the emotions of the American people, fiddling with the markets, fiddling with our health care. The American people expect us to act tomorrow. And 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 this problem.”
Sen. Susan Collins: The Democratic leader objected to my even being able to speak this morning? Is that what we’ve come to?
We've been working on a bipartisan effort…to address and prevent the economic devastation that is being caused by this virus. pic.twitter.com/i4yR9oCOGc
— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) March 23, 2020