Cocaine Mitch giveth, and Cocaine Mitch taketh away. The need to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court ahead of the election forced Mitch McConnell to put on a national show, one in which Senate Democrats can pitch their main 2020 electoral message of health care. Thus far, McConnell’s opponents across the aisle have managed to remain fairly disciplined on that message, or at the very least have not yet blown that strategy with personal attacks on Barrett. Fears (or desires) of Kavanaugh II: Religion Boogaloo seem to have been misplaced — on both sides.
Senate Democrats may well end up owning this week on health care. Next week, however, they will end up back on defense as McConnell forces a vote on new funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, in order to forestall layoffs ahead of the election. McConnell threw down the gauntlet this morning, daring Chuck Schumer to filibuster relief spending again:
“Last month, 52 Senate Republicans voted to pass hundreds of billions more dollars for priorities like testing, healthcare, safe schools, unemployment benefits, and economic support. That included legislation from Chairman Rubio and Senator Collins that would provide a second round of the PPP for the hardest-hit small businesses while streamlining the program and strengthening oversight.
“Republicans had the votes to pass all this relief. But Senate Democrats chose to filibuster it dead.
“Democrats have spent months blocking policies they do not even oppose. They say anything short of their multi-trillion-dollar wish list, jammed with non-COVID-related demands, is “piecemeal” and not worth doing. Speaker Pelosi frequently says she feels “nothing” is better than “something.” And she has worked hard to ensure that nothing is what American families get.
“When the full Senate returns on October 19th, our first order of business will be voting again on targeted relief for American workers, including new funding for the PPP. Unless Democrats block this aid for workers, we will have time to pass it before we proceed as planned to the pending Supreme Court nomination as soon as it is reported by the Judiciary Committee.