Sen. Collins blasts Democrats over delay: ‘This is unbelievable’

The unexpected negative press must be getting to Democrats. As Ed pointed out both last night and this morning, Democrats are suddenly finding themselves on the defensive from a media that is usually eager to spin things their way. This morning that apparently led to another own goal when Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer objected to allowing Sen. Susan Collins to speak.

PBS reporter Lisa Desjardins says she has never seen this happen before and describes the angry confrontation on the floor:

Here’s a slightly more detailed version. In the clip below you’ll hear Sen. Collins ask to speak and Sen. Schumer’s objection. She says, “This is unbelievable” but then it seems some of the microphones are cut off. I think I hear Collins saying “This is appaling,” but it’s hard to make out. The Hill describes what happened next:

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) then tried to speak, but Schumer similarly objected.

The tactics sparked vocal pushback from Republican senators who were on be floor.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who was standing at the front of the chamber, could be overheard calling the maneuvers “bullshit.”

Schumer then tried to consent to speak, and Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), who was in his seat at the back of the chamber, yelled that he also objected.

When Schumer tried to argue that he still has control of the floor, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who was presiding over the floor drama, replied: “No, you do not.”

You may have to turn the volume up to here some of the off-mic comments.

Eventually, Sen. Collins did get her chance to speak and she used the opportunity to bash Democrats for delaying the bill over a wish list of progressive priorities. Collins said she had never seen Democrats and Republicans fail to come together in a crisis but then tore into Sen. Schumer. “Unbelievably, the Democratic leader objected to my even being able to speak this morning. Is that what we’ve come to?” she said. She concluded by saying of the Democratic delaying tactics, “This is disgraceful. We do not have time. Time is not on our side. Let’s get the job done for the American people.”

Just last night, Sen. Schumer told CNN, “to my delight and surprise there has been a great deal of bipartisan cooperation.” What happened to this guy?

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Democrats may have created a real problem for themselves. The talking point already being widely used by the left online is that the Senate bill is a “slush fund” and a corporate bailout. In short, the well has already been poisoned. Can Democrats retreat and vote for this bill now? At a minimum they are going to need some face saving changes to claim this delay was worthwhile or risk really irritating their own base. But further delay could be costly if the media continues to hold Democrats responsible.

Master legislator Nancy Pelosi may have overreached here and Schumer, by going along with it, is taking a big risk with the biggest issue Dems are facing in an election year. But never discount the ability of the media to turn bad behavior by Democrats into a story about Republicans seizing on their self-inflicted misfortune.

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