Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is the latest legislator to criticize Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), saying McConnell is responsible for delays on a coronavirus relief package for families affected by the pandemic, which has claimed at least 97 lives across the United States.
“Mitch McConnell has wasted four days in the middle of a pandemic. Now Republican Senators are using procedure to cover for him,” Brown said in a tweet, concluding that the Senate “should do its job.”
Mitch McConnell has wasted four days in the middle of a pandemic. Now Republican Senators are using procedure to cover for him. @SenatorDurbin is right – enough with the excuses. The Senate should do its job.
Watch this exchange. pic.twitter.com/kT4w0lbZJk
— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) March 17, 2020
Brown included footage of a Monday Senate session during which he lambasted the Senate Majority Leader for shuffling his feet on a response to the growing crisis.
“I asked Senator McConnell on this floor, I opened this door… I pointed down the hall and I said ‘Senator McConnell should come back here and let’s work on this bill.’ Whether they are actually finished in the house, down the hall, doing it or not, we should be working on this,” he said at the time.
He added: “Senator McConnell had to go back to Kentucky. I don’t really know what he went back for. We asked him to stay and finish this and negotiate and do it, to take care of stopping this virus, to take care of all the people in my state…to take care of all these people that are losing their jobs and don’t know what to do.
“Senator McConnell went back to Kentucky, wasted three days—make that four days. It’s three more days of people worrying, it’s three more days of people self-quarantining, it’s three more days of businesses…shutting down. It’s the anguish that you feel if you think one of your loved ones is sick, all of that…and we are just wasting another day.”
McConnell, for his part, has tweeted assurances that “Senators on both sides are eager to act quickly” to support those adversely affected by the pandemic.
The Senate is still waiting for the House to finish processing their coronavirus legislation and transmit their final version to us.
Senators on both sides are eager to act quickly to support American workers, families, and small businesses.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) March 16, 2020
Other lawmakers have had harsh words for McConnell, who has said he doesn’t expect a vote on a relief package until later this week but promises “bold and bipartisan action.”
Earlier this week, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) accused McConnell of being “remarkably irresponsible” and “out of touch” for calling a recess as the crisis mounts.
It was remarkably irresponsible & out of touch for Sen. Mitch McConnell to send senators out of town in the middle of a public health crisis before the House passed the #FamiliesFirst Coronavirus Response Act.
Sen. McConnell & Republicans should pass this bill as is IMMEDIATELY.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) March 14, 2020
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) also criticized the decision, saying that every instance that “Fed action is delayed puts lives at risk.”
Every minute, hour, & day that Fed action is delayed on Coronavirus puts lives at risk.
The House has been hammering away at a coronavirus relief package. We just called in every member to vote on & pass a deal at almost 1am.#WheresMitch McConnell?
Taking the weekend off.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 14, 2020
McConnell has not issued a direct response to criticisms, though earlier this morning, he said Senators “are crafting the major legislation that the American people deserve in the face of this major challenge,” adding that the Senate “will not adjourn until we have passed significant and bold new steps, above and beyond what the House passed, to help our strong nation and our strong underlying economy weather this storm.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.