Some Democrats growing antsy as Senate talks drag on

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 SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell launches ad touting role in passing coronavirus relief Joe Biden can't lead the charge from his home in Delaware Texas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill MORE (D-N.Y.) promised Monday morning that he and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Infrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens | Trump officials detail new small-business loan program | Outbreak poses threat to mortgage industry Democrats press Mnuchin to defend T coronavirus stimulus IG McConnell launches ad touting role in passing coronavirus relief 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.

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“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 KaineBiden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much Students with disabilities could lose with COVID-19 stimulus package Coronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner MORE (D-Va.).

Sen. Gary PetersGary Charles PetersCoronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner Poll: Biden has small lead over Trump in Michigan Some Democrats growing antsy as Senate talks drag on MORE (D-Mich.), another incumbent on the ballot in November, said that “everybody feels a sense of urgency.”

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“I think we all know it’s got to be done quickly,” he said.

Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSome Democrats growing antsy as Senate talks drag on Democrats fume over GOP coronavirus bill: 'Totally inadequate' Hillicon Valley: Twitter targets coronavirus misinformation | Facebook bans sanitizer, virus test ads to prevent price gouging | DHS defines critical jobs during outbreak | Remote working apps surge 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 McConnellOvernight Health Care: White House projects grim death toll from coronavirus | Trump warns of 'painful' weeks ahead | US surpasses China in official virus deaths | CDC says 25 percent of cases never show symptoms 14 things to know for today about coronavirus Trump says he wouldn't have acted differently on coronavirus without impeachment 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 ScaliaAmerica's governors should fix unemployment insurance Trump floats restoring full corporate tax deduction for meals as coronavirus derails restaurants Some Democrats growing antsy as Senate talks drag on 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 CollinsGOP presses for swift Ratcliffe confirmation to intel post Campaigns pivot toward health awareness as races sidelined by coronavirus Senate eyes quick exit after vote on coronavirus stimulus package 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 PortmanGOP senator to donate 2 months of salary in coronavirus fight Senators pen op-ed calling for remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Some Democrats growing antsy as Senate talks drag on 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.”

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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 MurphyDemocratic senators call on domestic airlines to issue cash refunds for travelers Maxine Waters unleashes over Trump COVID-19 response: 'Stop congratulating yourself! You're a failure' Coronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner 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.  

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Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinPressure mounts for national parks closure amid coronavirus White House, Senate reach deal on trillion stimulus package Some Democrats growing antsy as Senate talks drag on 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.