Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was discussing the coronavirus relief package legislation and noting the Republicans’ non-response. He then uttered this nice mashup of “against the clock” (a shortage of time being the main problem) and “fall off a cliff” (suddently become less successful). “Up against the wall” (in great difficulty) might also be in the mix, but given the context of time running out, “against the clock” is probably what the speaker had in mind. Also, “clock” and “cliff” sound similar. I think “cliffhanger” (situation where the outcome is suspenseful or uncertain) must have been on Schumer’s mind as well. Here is the context:
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, noting that he and Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged Republicans to come to the table three weeks ago but neverreceived a response.“Nothing, now we’re up against the cliff.”
Kudos to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and immediately reporting it to Malaphor Central.