Some Democrats are growing antsy over striking a deal on the economic stimulus after two votes to advance the fiscal rescue package failed, sending stock markets deeper into their decline.
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSchumer mourns death of 'amazing' father Feehery: The honest contrarian Biden administration to release oil from strategic reserve: reports MORE (D-N.Y.) promised Monday morning that he and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinMajor Russian hacking group linked to ransomware attack on Sinclair: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks Former Treasury secretaries tried to resolve debt limit impasse in talks with McConnell, Yellen: report MORE were “very close” to a deal, but by the evening, they still had not announced an agreement.
With the stock market in turmoil and predictions of double-digit unemployment gaining steam, some Democrats are getting anxious to pass a bill as Republicans hammer them by the hour for holding up the process.
“I want to see this clock ticking. I want both sides to be under the gun and under pressure,” Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) said after voting with Republicans on Monday to proceed to the bill. Every other Democrat voted against moving forward.
Jones, who is up for reelection, said he was “absolutely” sick of the political games and wanted to see a deal later in the day.
“My vote now is to say let’s get it done,” he said.
Other Democrats said they hoped to see an agreement announced by the end of Monday.
“I hope and expect we’ll have a handshake deal today,” said Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocrats plow ahead as Manchin yo-yos Senate advances defense bill after delay Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Senators to take up defense bill Wednesday MORE (D-Va.).
Sen. Gary PetersGary PetersFive ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — US mulls Afghan evacuees' future Senators look to defense bill to move cybersecurity measures MORE (D-Mich.), another incumbent on the ballot in November, said that “everybody feels a sense of urgency.”
“I think we all know it’s got to be done quickly,” he said.
Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterFive ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan Five Senate Democrats reportedly opposed to Biden banking nominee Dark money group spent 0M on voter turnout in 2020 MORE (D-Mont.) said the talks “need to be urgent” but “need to be done right.”
He joked that at the current pace, the House, which just got back to Washington after a weeklong recess, might wind up passing a phase three stimulus bill before the Senate finally wraps up its negotiations.
“If we don’t hurry up, they’ll get it done before we get ours done,” he said. “So it would be good if we got ours done.”
Republicans, sensing strong public support for passing a stimulus bill quickly, are pummeling their Democratic colleagues for holding out for additional protections for workers and restrictions on how a $500 billion corporate loan program would be managed.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season MORE (R-Ky.) on Monday hammered Democrats for pushing what he called a “wish list” of liberal priorities such as tax deductions for solar and wind energy, provisions to “force employers to give special new treatment to big labor,” and emissions standards for the airlines.
“The markets are tanking once again because this body can’t get its act together,” he said.
A Senate GOP aide familiar with the talks said Democrats wanted Secretary of Labor Eugene ScaliaEugene ScaliaBiden should keep the new commonsense independent contractor rule Demolition at the Labor Department, too AFL-CIO calls on Trump to resign or be removed from office 'at once' MORE to draft a new Occupational Safety and Health Administration standard for hospital workers in an extremely compressed period of time.
Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGraham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks On The Money — Biden sticks with Powell despite pressure Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (R-Maine) warned that “we don’t have another day.”
“We don’t have another hour. We don’t have another minute to delay acting,” she said.
Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanBipartisan success in the Senate signals room for more compromise Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — US mulls Afghan evacuees' future Hillicon Valley — Presented by Ericsson — DOJ unveils new election hacking charges MORE (R-Ohio) pointed out that the Senate bill already includes a massive expansion of unemployment benefits.
“It’s the most generous unemployment insurance plus-up by far ever in the history of our country,” he said. “It adds eight times more funding into the unemployment system for the rest of this year than is currently being spent.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) on Monday afternoon pounced on the stalled negotiations to attack Democrats for “playing games while people’s lives are at stake.”
“For the second time in less than 24 hours, Senate Democrats held the U.S. economy hostage and threatened the health and safety of millions of Americans because they see this national crisis as a golden political opportunity they are incapable of letting go to waste,” said NRSC spokesman Jesse Hunt.
Democrats also faced criticism from less partisan sources.
Steven Rattner, a contributing writer to The New York Times and the former head of President Obama’s automobile industry rescue effort, accused Congress of “fiddling” and praised the Fed for taking decisive action.
That prompted Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyRepublicans struggle to save funding for Trump's border wall Senate Democrats call on Biden to push for COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers at WTO Israel signals confidence in its relationship with Biden MORE (D-Conn.) to defend his leadership’s tactics by tweeting shortly before 9 a.m. Monday that “spending 18 extra hours to get $2 [trillion] is worth it.”
Now it looks like the talks will extend well past 18 hours as the two sides haggle over funding for hospitals and community health centers, paying down federal student loans, and GOP-favored language that would exclude Planned Parenthood from receiving federal aid.
Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden faces new pressure from climate groups after Powell pick Five ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan With extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one MORE (D-W.Va.), a prominent centrist who voted twice with Democrats to block the GOP-drafted stimulus bill, said Democrats would act quickly to move legislation once there is agreement.
“If we get an agreement, I’ll tell you every Democrat will vote to suspend the rules and move,” he said.
At the same time, Manchin expressed impatience with last-minute Democratic demands to provide tax credits for wind and solar companies and carbon-emission restrictions on the airlines.
“I’m not for that,” he said of items that are being “thrown in” to the talks.
“I’m not for the Green New Deal. I think you all know that,” he told GOP colleagues on the floor.
“Forget about the Republicans. Forget about the Democrats. Let’s get this place working,” he exhorted colleagues.