Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell smiled and laughed as his Democratic challenger Amy McGrath pointed out his refusal to act.
Sen. Mitch McConnell laughed Monday night when the Democratic challenger for his Kentucky Senate seat, Amy McGrath, pointed out that as majority leader of the Senate, he has not passed needed relief for the millions of workers who lost their jobs in the economic downturn resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
McGrath correctly pointed out that the Democratic-led House passed more relief for the millions of jobless back in May in a bill McConnell refused to put up for a vote in the Senate. Since then, McConnell has taken a back seat as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi negotiates with the White House, and he appears to be unable to bring together enough Senate Republicans to pass any kind of relief for those still out of work.
"Senator, it is a national crisis. You knew that the coronavirus wasn't going to end at the end of July. We knew this," McGrath said, as McConnell smiled and laughed. "If you want to call yourself a leader, you gotta get things done. Those of us who served in the Marines, we don't just point fingers at the other side, we get the job done."
McGrath, who has raised millions in her quest to unseat McConnell in the heavily Republican state, made this point a number of times during the debate. Currently 12.6 million people remain out of work, and they are no longer receiving an extra $600 per week in unemployment insurance after the Senate let the payments expire in July.
"His one job is to help America through this crisis right now in passing legislation to keep our economy afloat so that people can make ends meet," McGrath said. Instead of doing that, he is trying to ram through a Supreme Court nominee right now, instead of negotiating, which is what he should have been doing all summer long to make that happen."
McConnell literally laughed off the remark, blaming Pelosi for the lack of a coronavirus relief deal — even though the House has now passed numerous relief bills to extend jobless benefits and authorize new direct payments to Americans, while the Senate has passed none.
McConnell ultimately pivoted to denigrating McGrath's experience as both a United States Marine and a mother.
"I think her entire campaign is: She's a Marine, she's a mom, and I've been there too long," McConnell said, claiming that McGrath's purpose in going to Washington would be to make Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer the majority leader.
Polls show that McConnell has a comfortable lead in his bid for a seventh term, despite the money that has poured in to McGrath's campaign.
A Quinnipiac poll conducted in September showed McConnell leading by 12 points.
Inside Elections, a nonpartisan political handicapping outlet, rates the race as "solid Republican."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.