Dick Durbin: Democrats Stalled On COVID Relief ‘Because An Election Was Coming’

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Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin suggested on Tuesday that Democrats likely stalled on another COVID-relief package “because an election was coming.”

After months of stalled negotiations, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday expressed willingness to agree to around $900 billion, a significantly smaller coronavirus stimulus package than she had turned down earlier this year.

During a Tuesday afternoon appearance on CNN’s “The Lead,” anchor Jake Tapper asked Durbin about whether it was a “mistake” to turn down President Donald Trump’s initial, much larger offer.


“Senator Bernie Sanders said that Democrats turned down a deal from the White House for $1.8 trillion because Schumer and Pelosi wanted $2.2 trillion,” Tapper said. “Now you’re looking at a compromise deal of about a half of what the White House offered, $908 billion. We don’t even know if we’re going to be able to see that passed. Looking back, was it a mistake for Pelosi and Schumer to turn down $1.8 trillion?”

“There was some exuberance involved because an election was coming, and they were both bidding one another and trying to find some common ground,” Durbin told Tapper. “They didn’t reach that point. But to return to those pre-election days and sentiments, political sentiments, is very difficult.”

Pelosi last week made a similar admission, calling the fact that a “new president” was taking office “a total game-changer.” (RELATED: Trey Gowdy Blasts Pelosi For COVID-19 Relief Comment: ‘What She Just Said Makes Me Madder Than Hell’)

“It’s for a shorter period of time, but that’s OK now, because we have a new president,” she said.