Earlier we heard McConnell rip into Democrats for trying to exploit this coronavirus crisis to push their agenda. Well here’s an MSNBC reporter from this afternoon essentially confirming what exactly McConnell was saying:
When MSNBC doesn't even spin the political games Democrats are playing with coronavirus relief legislation.
"Do [Democrats] press too far and risk being blamed by the public for slowing down a bill that is widely agreed to be urgently needed out in the rest of the country." pic.twitter.com/rqIxqOWogj
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) March 23, 2020
Here’s a transcription of the MSNBC reporter’s comments:
I think what you’re seeing here is that Democrats believe they have leverage here. Republicans don’t even have 50 votes in the Senate where they are in the majority now because some of their members are quarantined. They are trying to find their way to a solution and Democrats believe they have some political leverage here to control the response in the way they would like to see it performed and to get some of their priorities across the finish line.
There is a political danger of overreaching here. I think that’s what you’re seeing play out on the Senate floor where Democrats are being criticized for things like including cancellation of student debt, which you could argue is not a part of the coronavirus crisis. Things like you heard the speaker there talk about election security and vote by mail which is a very interesting issue for all of us covering the connection between the virus and electoral politics, but arguably not an urgent crisis in March.
I think the line that Democrats are going to be walking here is do they press their political advantage as they see it to get the most favorable terms possible out of the Senate bill or do they press too far and risked being blamed by the public for slowing down a bill that’s widely agreed to be urgently needed out in the rest of the country?
That’s quite like what McConnell said about Democrats a few hours ago, just a lot more diplomatically fashioned because it’s Democrats. If it had been Republicans doing this, you can believe there would have been more emphasis put on how urgent this bill is and how unnecessary their proposals are.
Here’s a truncated version of CNN’s Phil Mattingly also saying Democrats are trying to use this as leverage: