Apparently, there’s not much of a working relationship between Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), although that’s not exactly surprising. During an appearance this week on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, which was conducted via videoconference, Schumer discussed his relationship with McConnell and revealed that, quite simply, there’s not much to discuss, because McConnell and his Republican allies have apparently worked to shut Dems out of the policymaking process. McConnell and the rest of the Senate GOP sound like fervent ideologues more committed to scoring political points than finding constructive common ground.
Schumer explained to Colbert, in reference to McConnell:
‘Look, I try to get along with everybody and — but he’s not very talkative. Let’s put it like that.’
One of the examples of McConnell working to shut Dems out of the policy development process unfolded when Congress was recently developing Coronavirus relief legislation. Ahead of the so-called “phase three” Coronavirus legislation, which turned into the hefty CARES Act, McConnell tasked Senate GOP chairmen with developing an initial proposal rather than convening bipartisan negotiations. The eventually enacted legislation, however, was largely the work of negotiations between Congressional Democrats and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The CDC has advised people older than 60 to avoid large crowds and to stay home as much as possible.
The average age in the Senate is 63. https://t.co/BUBGA5NjQ3
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) April 30, 2020
This week on The Late Show, Schumer also discussed his priorities as the Senate reconvenes this week, despite the health concerns that led the House to postpone their own return to D.C. Schumer explained:
‘I’m going back as Minority Leader but let me just say this, if we’re going to go back, let’s do something about COVID. We should have tough strong hearings. I’d like to call Dr. Birx and Fauci before us — without Trump hovering over them, correcting them and trying to keep them quiet — and ask them about the testing and why we’re not doing what we can do to make it happen. I’d like to bring the head of the Small Business Administration before a hearing and say, ‘Why are the big shots getting it, not the little businesses?’’
The Paycheck Protection Program, which is a forgivable loan program meant to support small businesses for the purposes of helping keep people on the payroll amidst the economic upheaval of the pandemic, has ended up supporting a slew of large, publicly traded companies, although many smaller businesses have ended up shut out of the program.
While you guys were watching Shake Shack and Ruth's Chris, a big Trump donor, Monty Bennett, was getting more money out of the PPP than all of them – and he hired a pair of Trump fundraisers, Jeff Miller and Roy Bailey, to do it … the deets: https://t.co/XxLZeC5vgs
— Tom LoBianco (@tomlobianco) April 23, 2020
Trump himself seems to have been watching The Late Show, because he whined on Twitter about Schumer on Friday morning. He petulantly complained that Schumer is supposedly a “totally overrated loser” and separately insisted that a call for more Coronavirus testing in the U.S. is a “false talking point.” In other words, in the name of his public image, Trump sounds like he’s trying to wish the basic public health need for more testing right out of existence.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says the U.S. should at least double coronavirus testing in the coming weeks before easing into reopening the economy https://t.co/9LrRsvl1qX
— POLITICO (@politico) April 25, 2020
But Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health suggested that the U.S. needs to double its Coronavirus testing capacity. Separately, he insisted:
‘We need to significantly ramp up not only the number of tests, but the capacity to perform them… I am not overly confident right now at all that we have what it takes to do that.’
That’s pretty clear!
NEW: Dr. Fauci to @TIME magazine on U.S. testing capabilities: "We need to significantly ramp up not only the number of tests, but the capacity to perform them. … I am not overly confident right now at all that we have what it takes to do that."
— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) April 23, 2020