If wasn’t clear already, Senate Republicans on Monday showed everyone what they truly care about.

Without one vote from Democrats, the Senate pushed through the rushed Supreme Court confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, cementing a 6-3 conservative majority days before a presidential election.

Then, with the economic recovery stalling and COVID-19 surging nearly everywhere, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell adjourned the Senate until after Election Day without seriously considering a much-needed stimulus package.

Now, as we head into winter with a bleak forecast, it’s anybody’s guess when more help will be available for American families and businesses now staring long-term trouble in the face.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Steve Mnuchin, the secretary of the Treasury, have been negotiating a package for weeks now, reportedly coming as close as a few hundred billion dollars on a total of somewhere around $2 trillion.

But there has been doubt all along about whether the Senate, with at least some Republican members apparently opposed to any more spending at all, would be able to pass a bill of the necessary size.


McConnell did put forward a $500 billion proposal, but Senate Democrats blocked it — the plan was simply inadequate given the size of the problems presented by COVID-19.

The $2.2 trillion CARES Act, passed with bipartisan support in March, got money quickly into the hands of individuals and businesses. As a result, consumer spending stayed up, and the country largely avoided the devastation that should have come from shutting down whole parts of the economy to slow the spread of the virus.

But that money is now gone, and the record growth of the last three months has stalled with the economy still not yet back to pre-pandemic levels. Unemployment remains higher than at any point during the Great Recession, income is low, demand is suppressed. Businesses continue to struggle. State and local governments of all political stripes are hurting.

And the virus is coming on strong. After more than 74,300 cases were recorded Monday, the U.S. has averaged at least 71,000 new cases a day for a week, the most in any seven-day stretch. The outbreaks are found throughout the country, and more than 20 states are at or near record levels.

The increase in cases is not just the result of additional testing, either — illnesses themselves are on the rise, as are hospitalizations and deaths.

Nine months after the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in the U.S., there simply is a fundamental difference in how the two major parties are approaching the response. Democrats are offering substantial aid of the kind proven to support families and businesses through this uncertain, unprecedented crisis.


Republicans, for the most part, have given up trying to do anything. President Trump looks at the coronavirus numbers, all trending in the wrong direction, and says we’re “rounding the turn” — that is, when he’s not calling the virus that has infected more than 8.7 million Americans and killed more than 225,000 a “Fake News Media Conspiracy.

Rather than deny reality, Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows inadvertently told the damning truth about this feckless administration, telling CNN, “We’re not going to control the pandemic.”

Maine Sen. Susan Collins has called for the parties to reach a compromise on relief, but she has been unable to sway her colleagues to make anything more than a token offer.

Instead, while millions of Americans we’re holding out hope that help was on its way, the Senate rammed through Barrett’s confirmation — and went home.

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