Senator Martha McSally(R-Ariz.) on Tuesday introduced a bill that would withhold pay from all senators until they pass the emergency COVID-19 relief package.
“If Americans aren’t getting paid, then neither should the Senators failing to support the workers and families who need help making ends meet,” Ms. McSally said in a statement. “It is despicable that millions of Americans are without a paycheck in this time of crisis, while the Senate wastes precious time playing political games. The Senate must pass this relief package now in order to get cash straight to the people.”
Senate Democrats on Monday blocked the $2 trillion coronavirus rescue bill for the second day in a row after trying to clog the legislation with a laundry list of liberal proposals that have nothing to do with the crisis.
Their wish-list included collective bargaining powers for unions, increased fuel emissions standards for airlines, an expansion of wind and solar tax credits, student loan debt relief, a $15 minimum-wage requirement, election-security funding, abortion funding and even a return of the infamous “Obamaphone” program.
The Senate bill blocked by Democrat leaders includes direct payments to the American people ($1.2K/person, $2.4K/couple, $500/child), $350 billion for small businesses, $250 billion for unemployment insurance, $100 billion for hospitals, and more.
“All of that. That’s what the Democrats blocked on Sunday and again on Monday,” McSally lamented on the Senate floor, Tuesday. “And for what?! So they could throw money at liberal pet projects that have absolutely nothing to do with treating the health and economic fallout of the coronavirus!”
She continued: “Relief was on the way. It was all but a done deal, and then Nancy Pelosi landed in D.C. and she and Chuck Schumer decided to blow it all up for their unrelated ideological wish list.”
McSally expressed disgust and disbelief that Democrats would politicize a public health crisis this way.
“People are dying! And the Democrat leaders think it’s a great opportunity to score political points and grab power?!” the senator exclaimed.
“It’s despicable, it’s infuriating, it’s immoral, and it must stop,” she declared.
Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday evening that most of the items on the Democrats’ “wish list” were out, but there were still a number of liberal special interest groups trying to influence what goes into the bill.
“Here is what I say. If we don’t have a bill in the next 48 hours, every member and every staff person up here should lose their pay and their benefits until we pass a bill,” Graham told Fox News’ Martha McCallum.
“Martha McSally has legislation to do that. If we don’t have a bill in the next 48 hours, I’m going to go to the Senate and make a unanimous consent request to cut our pay and benefits off until we pass one,” he added.
.@LindseyGrahamSC: "Here is what I say. If we don't have a bill in the next 48 hours, every member and every staff person up here should lose their pay and their benefits until we pass a bill." pic.twitter.com/kxyKkZYGzB
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) March 24, 2020
A senator may request unanimous consent on the floor so they can speed up what they believe to be uncontroversial business that would otherwise be delayed by holding a vote or going through the rules.
Although, McSally’s legislation is unlikely to pass, it would be instructive for the American people to watch Democrats quash a bill designed to hold them accountable while the country suffers.
A Republican in the House also attempted to light a fire under Democrats by vowing to decline his salary until the coronavirus relief package is passed and urging other lawmakers to follow suit.
“Struggling Americans don’t need the political tactics and radical agenda-setting of the DC political class while they face a crisis,” said Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina. “Until they can get over their bickering, I urge my colleagues to join me in forgoing pay until they can choose people over politics and get a relief bill to President Trump’s desk.”
Graham told McCallum he was hopeful that the Senate would be able to come to an agreement Tuesday night.