McConnell On Democrats Blocking COVID Relief: They Want ‘No Help For American Families Before The Election’

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US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attends a meeting to discuss a potential economic bill in response to the coronavirus, COVID-19, in Washington, DC, on March 20, 2019. - McConnell unveiled on March 19, an economic rescue plan to send $1,200 direct checks to taxpayers, $300 billion for small businesses to keep idled workers on payroll and $208 billion in loans to airlines and other industries.
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blasted Senate Democrats on Thursday after they blocked COVID-19 relief funds, saying that their goal was to withhold help for American families until after the election.

“Every Senate Democrat just voted against hundreds of billions of dollars of COVID-19 relief,” McConnell wrote on Twitter. “They blocked money for schools, testing, vaccines, unemployment insurance, and the Paycheck Protection Program. Their goal is clear: No help for American families before the election.”

McConnell later appeared on Fox News with host Dana Perino where he said that Democrats will not pass things that they themselves are in favor of unless they receive trillions in additional funds for their leftist agenda.

“What part of this bill are they opposed to?” McConnell asked. “What we tried to do, Dana, was to craft a package that underscored the things that we supposedly agree on — kids in school, replenishing the popular small business loan program, which is out of money, more money for hospitals and covering unemployment insurance for another six months. What’s to not like about that?”

“What they’re saying is, we won’t pass things that we are even in favor of, unless you give us trillions more. The national debt is already the size of our economy for the first time since World War II,” McConnell continued. “We’re not going to squander funds here. We want to narrowly target the needs of the American people. That’s what this vote is about.”

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Let’s bring in Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell.

Senator McConnell, thanks so much for joining us.

You went–

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Glad to be with you.

PERINO: — forward with this vote today knowing that the Democrats were not going to give you enough votes to get to 60 for it to move forward.

A lot of Americans are hurting, a lot of small businesses still need help, the schools absolutely need help in order to get opened. So if this bill doesn’t pass now, what’s the next step?

MCCONNELL: Well it’s a good question to ask the Democrats. What part of this bill are they opposed to?

What we tried to do, Dana, was to craft a package that underscored the things that we supposedly agree on — kids in school, replenishing the popular small business loan program, which is out of money, more money for hospitals and covering unemployment insurance for another six months. What’s to not like about that?

What they’re saying is, we won’t pass things that we are even in favor of, unless you give us trillions more. The national debt is already the size of our economy for the first time since World War II.

We’re not going to squander funds here. We want to narrowly target the needs of the American people. That’s what this vote is about.

PERINO: Would it be helpful to you if President Trump sort of put his shoulder behind this and pushed a little bit to make the Democrats realize that they could be on the losing end of the politics if they don’t do something like this skinnier bill?

MCCONNELL: Well the president supports what we’re trying to do. He’s behind us. He would like to tackle these challenges that are clearly necessary to be challenged, tackled, and should be done on a bipartisan basis — and needs to be done right now.

It makes you believe they really don’t want to do another proposal. They want to wait until after the election and play games with this.

What they passed in the House months ago was a $3 trillion wish list of liberal items, including tax cuts for rich people in New York and California. Really, that has nothing to do with COVID-19.

PERINO: Right. Yes.

I think one of the things that of course the White House is dealing with today is the fallout from this Woodward book.

One of the questions being, did the president downplay the issue of COVID? He says it’s because he didn’t want to panic people.

To you, sir, did you know how dangerous coronavirus was back in February?

MCCONNELL: Well, I haven’t read the Woodward book, but we all knew it was dangerous. The president knew it was dangerous, and I think took positive steps very early on, for which he should be applauded, not criticized.

PERINO: Want to play for you some sound from President Trump, because we are also in the middle of a presidential election. He had some strong words for one of your Senate colleagues, the vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.: Biden has now formed an unholy alliance with the most extreme and dangerous elements of the radical left, you know that, with crazy Bernie and everyone.

And by the way, you know who’s further left than crazy Bernie? Kamala. Kamala.

(END VIDEOCLIP)

PERINO: Kamala Harris has been described as — by the Trump campaign — as the most liberal senator.

You’ve had an up close look at her voting, her career there in the Senate. Do you think that matches her description?

MCCONNELL: Yes, I think it’s accurate to say, and I’m sure she’d be proud to claim the mantel as the most liberal or one of the most liberal members of the Senate.

She’s been consistently in that place since she arrived and I doubt if she would dispute the president’s calling her the most liberal member of the Senate.

PERINO: We’ll see what she says out there on the campaign trail.

I also want to ask you about the state of the race. There’s a presidential race, but there’s a lot of Senate races out there too. And the majority for the Republicans it certainly hangs in the balance.

Josh Kraushaar of National Journal had a piece in which he said that things were tightening up, looking better for Republicans. Let me read to you from his piece and get your reaction.

Of the 15 competitive Senate races only two are contested in states that Hilary Clinton carried. Red-state senators like Joni Ernst of Iowa and Steve Daines of Montana took a big hit as the president’s fortunes declined. But as soft Republican voters are returning to the partisan fold, they’ve seen their numbers improve.

I know that you like to play things cautious. You always have. But are you feeling a little bit better about the Republicans being able to keep the majority this session?

MCCONNELL: Look, Dana, I feel the same way I did at the beginning of the cycle. We have a lot of exposure. This is the big, big class that took the majority back in 2014. I’ve got 23 members up. Democrats only have 12. We knew this was going to be a struggle.

I think it’s a 50/50 proposition. The outcome of the Senate could go either way. We have air tight races in Montana, Colorado, Arizona, Iowa, North Carolina, Maine and Georgia. It’s like a knife fight in an alley in every one of these places.

I feel good about where we are, but look none of these races are either lost or won at this point.

PERINO: Michigan looks better for you. Do you think — John James of course is an exciting candidate the Republicans have been excited about against the incumbent Gary Peters?

MCCONNELL: Yes, he’s a fabulous candidate. The Michigan race is the surprise race, the one to keep an eye on.

James is running a terrific campaign against the incumbent. He’s outraced him a number of quarters, which is quite unusual against an incumbent senator, for a challenger to do that. I’m very optimistic about our chances in Michigan.

PERINO: Then my last question for you is, if you could take a bigger picture look, what do you think the country would look like in two years if the Republicans were to lose the majority this November?

MCCONNELL: Well this is not your father’s Democratic Party. They’ve all gone hard left. They will get rid of the filibuster in the Senate, thereby eliminating the potential for any serious opposition.

They’ll admit the District of Columbia is a state and Puerto Rico is a state, giving them four new Democratic senators in perpetuity. They’ll pack the Supreme Court, the circuit courts, the district courts.

And then they’ll turn to the economy, they’ll over regulate and overtax, like they always do, and America won’t look two years later like it does today.

That’s what the Democrats have in mind. They need to be stopped. The Senate is the firewall against that sort of thing. And that’s what’s at stake for the American people if they choose to go in the other direction and give the Democrats the entire government.

PERINO: All right. Senator Mitch McConnell we appreciate your time. Thank you.

MCCONNELL: Thank you, Dana.

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