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 SchumerTrump slams Sessions: 'You had no courage & ruined many lives' Senate Democrats call on Trump administration to let Planned Parenthood centers keep PPP loans States, companies set up their own COVID-19 legal shields MORE (D-N.Y.) promised Monday morning that he and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinFive questions about the next COVID-19 relief package Senate Republicans call on DOJ to investigate Planned Parenthood loans The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December 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 KaineBipartisan senators introduce bill to make changes to the Paycheck Protection Program Overnight Defense: National Guard chief negative in third coronavirus test | Pentagon IG probing Navy's coronavirus response | Democrats blast use of Russia deterrence funds on border wall Overnight Defense: Navy secretary nominee: Service in 'rough waters' after 'failure of leadership'| Senate fails to override Trump's Iran war powers veto| Top Armed Services Republican expects to address Pentagon border wall funds in defense policy bill MORE (D-Va.).

Sen. Gary PetersGary Charles PetersThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump threatens coronavirus funds for states easing voting Pelosi blasts Senate GOP subpoenas Senate Republicans issue first subpoena in Biden-Burisma probe 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) TesterSenate votes to reauthorize intel programs with added legal protections Senators request emergency funding for postal service in next coronavirus bill On The Money: Black workers may face disproportionate COVID-19 risk | Trump pick for pandemic response watchdog vows independence | Stocks inch higher as oil prices rise 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 McConnellPence: Next coronavirus relief bill would need legal shield for businesses GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill State Department scrutiny threatens Pompeo's political ambitions 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 ScaliaAFL-CIO sues OSHA to demand standard for worker protections Trump ordering halt to pension investments in Chinese equities OSHA inspectors conducting hundreds of coronavirus-related workplace investigations: report 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 faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill The other dangerous virus infecting our country The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December 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 PortmanCongress headed toward unemployment showdown McConnell gives two vulnerable senators a boost with vote on outdoor recreation bill Fight emerges over unemployment benefits in next relief bill 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 MurphySenators weigh traveling amid coronavirus ahead of Memorial Day Congress eyes changes to small business pandemic aid Top Democrat to introduce bill to limit Trump's ability to fire IGs 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) ManchinThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December Congress headed toward unemployment showdown The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Mnuchin sees 'strong likelihood' of another relief package; Warner says some businesses 'may not come back' at The Hill's Advancing America's Economy summit 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.