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Dem. Senator Breaks with Party on Coronavirus Stimulus, ‘Embarrassed’ by Partisan Negotiations

Senator Doug Jones on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., July 16, 2019. (Erin Scott/Reuters)

Senator Doug Jones (D., Ala.) on Monday afternoon broke with fellow Democrats to vote in favor of a fast-tracking an economic stimulus bill aimed at offsetting the effects of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

Jones had voted against cloture on Sunday, and was the only Democratic senator to break rank in Monday’s cloture vote. Senate Democrats on Monday succeeded a second time in stifling the procedural vote to debate the stimulus with a 49-46 vote.

Jones was “embarrased” by both sides’ partisan negotiation tactics, the senator told CNN. He faulted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) for trying to force a vote on cloture while the Trump administration was still negotiating the details of the stimulus with Democrats, but also blamed Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) for engaging in partisan debates.

“It was just an embarrassing the bickering, the back-and-forth, the pointing fingers,” Jones said. Jones is the first Democratic senator from Alabama since 1997, and is up for election this fall.

Negotiations between congressional Republicans and Democrats have stalled as Democrats introduced several demands for additions to any coronavirus aid package. Those demands reportedly included “increased fuel emissions standards for airlines” as well as an “expansion of wind and solar tax credits.”

The legislative demands came after House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.) told House Democrats on Thursday that the coronavirus stimulus represented “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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