Dick Durbin Roasts Mitch McConnell Over COVID-19 Stimulus Stalemate: ‘He Wouldn’t Sit Down at the Table’

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) on Thursday torched Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for not even bothering to participate in recent negotiations to pass an additional COVID-19 stimulus package while the coronavirus continues to explode uncontrollably and the economy remains paralyzed.

Photo by Susan Walsh – Pool/Getty Images

Things got heated on MSNBC when anchor Kasie Hunt tried to blame Democrats for the legislative impasse.

“My question for you is, if you’re willing to do this now, $908 billion, why weren’t you willing to do this before the election? Democrats held out to spend closer to $2.2 trillion. This relief was just as badly needed before the election. what’s changed?” Hunt asked Durbin.

Durbin threw a wet blanket on the idea that Democrats have refused to negotiate, instead pointing out that McConnell has been the biggest roadblock:

Kasie, you know, if you go back six months… six months ago, [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) passed a major relief bill in the House. Then she reduced the amount and passed a second bill. She has been bargaining in good faith and was unable to reach an agreement between the White House and of course the Democrats. But also remember that Senator McConnell never once attended any negotiations. Not one.

He wouldn’t sit down at the table. Well, we decided we couldn’t wait any longer. Yes, I want a lot more money than $908 billion, and we’re going to need it for basic things like the administering the vaccines, but take what we can get at this moment, $908 billion is a bare minimum. But let’s do it together on a bipartisan basis and actually help the people of this country.

Hunt’s co-host, Willie Geist, pressed Durbin how he intends on convincing McConnell to deliver aid to the American people, of whom one-in-six are unable to buy enough food to feed themselves or their families.

“The majority leader already said that he is not interested in this new bipartisan effort. So if he’s not interested and he can’t rally Republicans around it, how do you change that dynamic? How do you get this through?” asked Geist.

Durbin responded:

We’re hopeful that some of the Republican members that have told us privately they’re upset with the decision by McConnell will step up when the time comes for a vote. If they tell him it’s not business as usual, we’re not going to spend Christmas Day here in Washington because Senator McConnell doesn’t want a matter even debated on the floor of the United States Senate. If enough Democrats and Republicans say that, I think we can force the issue.

Geist also asked Durbin why GOP Senators are refusing to acknowledge Joe Biden as the president-elect more than a month after the 2020 election, and despite the results having been certified in all of the battleground states, of which Trump only won one – North Carolina.

“Most Republicans in the Senate won’t call Joe Biden the president-elect. What do they say to you privately about this when you ask them?” Geist asked.

Durbin replied:

They’re afraid of the Trump voters, the backlash in their states and districts, that they’ll lose the next primary. That’s it. That’s the bottom line. I think they’re embarrassed by the circumstances that they face. Listen, General Flynn is calling for martial law. Some of these other folks in the Republican party are calling for the mobs in the streets. I mean, this is a situation which is, it’s comic in a way, I understand that, but it’s serious in a way, too. We’ve got at stake the stability of the United States and the American republic. It’s time for both political parties to get serious. Let’s move on this COVID-19 relief and let’s hope with a new president we can turn the page.

Watch below, courtesy of Crooks and Liars:

Forty-eight days until the inauguration.

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