Enemy of the people, amply be-chinned #MoscowMitch’s Senate is at the top of Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) email thingie, because: d’uh:
THE THINKING among Republican and Democratic senators we’ve spoken to over the weekend is that the Senate needs to be in session to move this urgent coronavirus legislation. While many senators have shuttered their D.C. offices, there will still be many staffers onsite to help assist leadership and members as well as the Capitol press corps covering every twist and turn of the story.
SO HERE’S WHAT TO EXPECT: Tonight at 5:30 p.m., the Senate will have a procedural vote on a bill to renew the FISA laws. The chamber will finish that bill. If any senator wants to bring up the coronavirus bill before they finish FISA, it would require unanimous consent. Sen. DICK DURBIN (D-Ill.) called on Senate Majority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL to pass the bill by UC in a pretty extraordinary statement.
LEADERSHIP AIDES BELIEVE there are GOP senators who are against the House’s coronavirus package, so unanimous consent seems unlikely. Combine that with the fact that the House has to make technical corrections to its bill, and it seems likely that the Senate will not get around to the coronavirus bill until MID-to LATE WEEK. Is that sustainable? Who knows. It’s just the reality at this point.
It’s incredible (to me) that #MoscowMitch has already wasted Friday—Monday, and that the betting is that it will take till the end of the week, and thinking that FISA is more important just shows us all how little We the People matter to Republicans.
“Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) are playing hardball as they try to torpedo a House-passed surveillance deal,” writes The Hill’s Jordain Carney. “The two GOP senators, and their allies on both sides of the aisle, have already netted one victory: They will have successfully forced a days-long expiration of three surveillance programs, including the controversial Section 215, when the intelligence authorities lapse Sunday night.
Ah. Schrödinger’s Senator Rand Paul. That explains a lot.
Tiger Beat’s other email thingie (Pay attention to the RoJo passage, I did a spit take I was so startled) continues:
Then, after FISA is finished, the Senate will turn to the corrected coronavirus bill (unless senators get an agreement to address it earlier, though that seems unlikely.) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement Sunday evening that they are eyeing additional congressional action to mitigate the economic impacts of the global pandemic. “Senate Republicans feel strongly that this bill must only be the beginning of Congress’s efforts to support our nation’s economy and stand with American families,” McConnell said. “Discussions are already underway on these key pillars. The Senate is eager to work with the Administration and the House to deliver the solutions our nation deserves.”
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) has signaled discontent with the House bill, saying in a statement that he hopes “the Senate will approach this with a level head and pass a bill that does more good than harm- or, if it won’t, pass nothing at all,” while the conservative Club for Growth issued a key vote against it. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), however, urged the Senate to prioritize the coronavirus bill over FISA. “FISA needs to be carefully reviewed. That takes time. That can wait,” he tweeted. “The emergency response to #coronavirus should be the first order of business in the Senate tomorrow. There is no reason for this to take days & days.”
Senate Democrats, meanwhile, are calling for immediate passage of the House bill and are criticizing McConnell for sending the Senate home Thursday. “It was remarkably irresponsible and out of touch for Senator McConnell to send senators out of town for the weekend in the middle of this public health crisis and before the House passed this vital people-focused legislation,” Schumer said in a statement Friday following the House reaching a deal. “Senator McConnell and Republicans should pass this legislation as is immediately so it can get to the president’s desk so he can sign it right away.”
And of course there was the usual eff-ery with the Republicans inserting Forced Birth amendments into the House Bill, which had to be stripped out. Never let a good crisis go to waste, boys.