Alabama Republican leaders on Monday condemned U.S. Sen. Doug Jones’ procedural vote to prevent the coronavirus stimulus bill from coming to a vote.
On Sunday, Democrats blocked action on the comprehensive stimulus package — the third of the legislative response to the coronavirus outbreak. The bill is still being negotiated and the vote was not a vote on whether to pass a final version of the stimulus package.
“I voted against it yesterday because I wanted to make a point,” Jones said. “We had lost the negotiating and bipartisan progress for about 24 hours. And I felt very strongly that we need to get that progress back. So I voted no on a procedural motion to proceed, and guess what happened, they got down to negotiating, and in the last 24 hours, more progress has been made in the last 24 hours and than there was in the 24 hours before that.”
We've made a lot of progress in the last 24 hours and so today I voted to move the process forward—but make no mistake this bill needs major changes before it would earn my full support, including:
✔️ $$$ for our cities/counties
✔️ ️full transparency for the $500B relief fund pic.twitter.com/3ZWqwVP8ko
— Archived: Senator Doug Jones (@SenDougJones) March 23, 2020
By Monday, Jones decided to vote yes another similar procedural vote, a vote to move forward with the legislative process but said that does not mean he will vote for the final product if changes aren’t made.
“We need to get the clock ticking,” Jones said. “We have got to get this thing moving. I felt it very important to tell my leader as well as leader McConnell that we need to get it together.”
But Republicans in the state are not happy with Jones’s procedural vote. Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said, “This is not the time for politics.”
“Senator Doug Jones needs to follow the example of Democrat New York Governor Andrew Cuomo – who has put his political differences aside and is working across the aisle with President Trump during this crisis – instead of being Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s partisan puppet,” Lathan said in a statement. “His NO vote Sunday night has had serious ramifications on the people of Alabama and our country. The Democrats helped craft this emergency unprecedented legislation and then, like Charlie Brown and the football, yanked away desperately needed help for America.”
The deal was originally negotiated by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Speaker Pelosi. Democrats had agreed, but the deal had been held up last week by conservative Republicans balking at the price tag – all of this will be paid for with deficit spending and no plan to pay any of it back in the foreseeable future.
The Republican position in the Senate was weakened further when Republican Senator Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, announced he was infected with the novel strain of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, though he is showing no symptoms of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.
46,148 Americans have been confirmed as having the virus. The virus has killed 582 Americans, 140 of them on Monday alone.
“Doug Jones has let the majority of our state down in an uncertain time,” Lathan said. “We needed him – and he ignored us AGAIN. “
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, voted in favor of ending debate and bringing the stimulus bill to a vote.
“Thank you to President Trump and Senator Richard Shelby for putting America and Alabama first,” Lathan concluded. “We continue to lift our leaders up in prayer as their burdens and decisions weigh heavy.”
Republican Senate candidate Jeff Sessions said, “I’ve seen this play before too many times. Just as the Senate was ready to pass a bi-partisan bill providing support for American workers… Senator Chuck Schumer & House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blew it up at the last minute, trying to add unrelated spending to a bill with already too much spending. Amazingly, Pelosi wants to use this time of crisis to breath new life into the Green New Deal!”
Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville said, “America is at war with an enemy we can’t see, and we currently have no weapon that can kill it. To win this war against the Coronavirus, salvage the U.S. economy, and provide needed financial help to millions of Americans, Doug Jones and other Senate Democrats are going to have to put their partisanship and hatred of President Trump aside and support a bipartisan stimulus package. Now is the time to work together as Americans first and save the partisan political battles for when this crisis is resolved.”
The president, with bipartisan support from Congress and the governors, issued recommendations that led states to shut down their schools and most businesses beginning a week and a half ago.
The question for most business owners now is will they make payroll or just lay off their workers. Mnuchin’s deal included loans that small businesses would not have to pay back if they used it to make payroll and pay overhead. It also included cash payments for Americans. The average family of four would receive about $3,000 under the plan.
“We need to get the money into the economy now. If we do that, we think we can stabilize the economy,” Mnuchin said on Sunday. “I think the president has every expectation that this is going to look a lot better four or eight weeks from now.”
“This isn’t the financial crisis that’s going to go on for years,” Mnuchin added. “We’re going to do whatever we need to do to win this war.”
Former State Representative and Member of the National Trump/Victory Finance Committee Perry Hooper said that he is confident the Coronavirus Stimulus Legislation will pass.
“One of the most important parts of the Bill is addressing the needs of Small Business and the employees,” Hooper told the Alabama Political Reporter. “Small Business is the backbone of America. Any Republican or any Democrat would be insane voting against the Trump Stimulus Legislation.”