"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," the senator said.
December 3, 2020

Kasie Hunt wants to know why Democrats didn't compromise sooner for the pandemic relief package.

"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?" she demanded.

(Gee, I don't know, Kasie. Maybe because now they know there's an incoming Democratic administration and they can get more money later, they'll deal with immediate needs now?)

Durbin explained that not only did the White House not want to negotiate, Mitch McConnell couldn't even be bothered to talk about it.

"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," he said.

Willie Geist asked how he could change the dynamic with McConnell.

"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. 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," Durbin said.

"Still, 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?"

"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," he said.

"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."

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