- The Washington Times - Monday, March 23, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed Democrats for delaying the “phase three” coronavirus aid package Monday, accusing them of pursuing partisan priorities over the public good.

The nearly $2 trillion stimulus package is struggling to pass procedural hurdles in the Senate after Democrats introduced demands to address climate change.

“Tax credits for solar energy and wind energy. Provisions to force employers to give special new treatment to Big Labor. And listen to this — new emissions standards for the airlines. Are you kidding me?” Mr. McConnell said in a heated speech on the Senate floor.

The Kentucky Republican warned that Democrats will end up meeting their green initiatives if the majority of American workers end up getting laid off during the economic crisis.

He directed much of his frustration at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose chamber was out on recess last week and is introducing her own bill later Monday afternoon.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, in turn, accused Mr. McConnell of taking time away from the ongoing negotiations by giving “partisan speeches” on the Senate floor.

He downplayed the delay, saying he was confident a deal could be reached Monday.

“Mr. McConnell continues to set arbitrary vote deadlines when the matter of real importance is the status of the bipartisan negotiations,” the New York Democrat said.

“The bill still includes something that most Americans don’t want to see: large corporate bailouts with almost no strings attached,” he added.

Mr. Schumer didn’t specifically mention the green initiatives that Democrats are pursuing, but rather focused on their top asks for a massive surge of funds for unemployment insurance and healthcare systems.

Mr. McConnell argued that they’ve addressed those priorities in their bill.

Senate Democrats on Sunday evening blocked a motion to advance the GOP’s framework for the coronavirus aid bill that senators had been negotiating throughout the weekend.

The Senate is set to attempt to advance their version on the phase three package Monday, starting with a series of procedural votes Monday afternoon.

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