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Dem Rep. Told Colleagues Coronavirus Bill Is ‘Tremendous Opportunity to Restructure Things to Fit Our Vision’

Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) talks to reporters ahead of a vote in the House of Representatives on a coronavirus economic aid package on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 13, 2020. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) worked to scupper the phase-three coronavirus relief package on Sunday after Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.) told caucus members last week that the bill was “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”

Clyburn’s comments came on a Thursday call featuring more than 200 House Democrats, during which caucus members laid out a list of provisions they wanted to be included in the Senate’s trillion-dollar package.

Republicans have said that Democrats have reportedly demanded increased bargaining powers for unions, as well as environmental regulations for airlines and more wind and solar tax credits.

Pelosi flew into Washington, D.C. over the weekend to add demands to negotiations, a move that Senate Republicans have cited as the reason why the procedural vote to fast-track the legislation fell by a party-line vote on Sunday night.

Speaking after the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) slammed Democrats for playing politics in a time of crisis.

“All of a sudden, the Democratic leader and the speaker of the House shows up and we’re back to square one,” McConnell said, saying the shift amounted to “obstruction.”

“We’re fiddling here, fiddling with the emotions of the American people, fiddling with the markets, fiddling with our health care. The American people expect us to act tomorrow,” McConnell said. “And I want everybody to fully understand if we aren’t able to act, it’ll be because of our colleagues on the other side continuing to dicker when the country expects us to come together and address this problem.”

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