Tensions boil over on Senate floor amid coronavirus debate 

Tensions boiled over on the Senate floor Monday as senators debated a mammoth coronavirus stimulus package.

The normally clubby atmosphere was gone as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike Trump signs T coronavirus relief package Pelosi not invited by Trump to White House coronavirus relief bill's signing MORE (R-Ky.) opened the chamber with a blistering speech, Democrats temporary blocked Republicans from speaking and one senator was overheard calling the exchange “bullshit.”

McConnell eviscerated Democrats during his speech, at one point asking, "are you kidding me?"

ADVERTISEMENT

“It is time for Democrats to stop playing politics and step up to the plate,” McConnell added.

But the frustrations only escalated from there.

When Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCampaigns pivot toward health awareness as races sidelined by coronavirus Senate eyes quick exit after vote on coronavirus stimulus package The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - Trump, Dems close in on deal MORE (R-Maine) tried to get permission to speak, Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTexas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill Pelosi not invited by Trump to White House coronavirus relief bill's signing COVID-19, Bill Barr and the American authoritarian tradition MORE (D-N.Y.) objected.

“This is unbelievable,” Collins could be overheard saying on the floor, before going to consult with GOP leadership.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sen. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyTensions boil over on Senate floor amid coronavirus debate  Overnight Energy: Democratic lawmakers seek emissions reductions in airline bailout | House Dems warn Trump against oil industry bailout | GOP senators ask Saudis to stabilize oil market GOP senators ask Saudis to stabilize oil market MORE (R-La.) then tried to speak, but Schumer similarly objected.

The tactics sparked vocal pushback from Republican senators who were on be floor.

Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonWhite House, Senate reach deal on trillion stimulus package The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - Trump, Dems close in on deal Overnight Defense: Navy hospital ship heading to Los Angeles | Military field hospitals to deploy to New York, Seattle | Pompeo flies to Afghanistan to revive peace process MORE (R-Ark.), who was standing at the front of the chamber, could be overheard calling the maneuvers “bullshit.”

Schumer then tried to consent to speak, and Sen. Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischTensions boil over on Senate floor amid coronavirus debate  Overnight Defense: Pentagon confirms Iran behind recent rocket attack | Esper says 'all options on the table' | Military restricts service member travel over coronavirus Graham warns of 'aggressive' response to Iran-backed rocket attack that killed US troops MORE (R-Idaho), who was in his seat at the back of the chamber, yelled that he also objected.

When Schumer tried to argue that he still has control of the floor, Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseHouse Republican urges Pompeo to take steps to limit misinformation from China on coronavirus How much damage? The true cost of the Senate's coronavirus relief bill Senate rejects GOP attempt to change unemployment benefits in coronavirus stimulus bill MORE (R-Neb.), who was presiding over the floor drama, replied: “No, you do not.”

ADVERTISEMENT

McConnell and Schumer eventually reached an agreement to allow for senators to give speeches before a key procedural vote.

But the frustration continued to play out, as Collins used her speech to call Democrats blocking the bill, which they say was drafted only by Republicans, “disgraceful.”

Collins also walked over to directly confront Schumer while he was still on the floor, leaning toward him and pointing her finger at him.

“You are objecting to my speaking? This is appalling!” she said.

As Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinLegal immigrants at risk of losing status during coronavirus pandemic Senate rejects GOP attempt to change unemployment benefits in coronavirus stimulus bill Senators pen op-ed calling for remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic MORE (D-Ill.) was speaking, Risch tried at multiple points to ask a question.

“Time remains on the Republican side. They can use it as they wish,” Durbin replied. “I allowed the senator from South Dakota to finish his. I hope you’ll show that same respect.”