Schumer: Fauci may testify before Senate next week

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Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) says top national health adviser Anthony Fauci may testify before the Senate next week after the White House blocked Fauci from testifying this week before a House subcommittee.

The key difference? Republicans control the Senate while Democrats control the House and it appears that new White House chief of staff Mark Meadows thinks Fauci will get fairer treatment in the upper chamber. 

The Trump administration on Monday issued new guidelines for coronavirus task force members barring them from accepting invitations to appear before congressional panels this month unless Meadows grants permission. 

Schumer, appearing on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” said there’s a chance Fauci will testify in the Senate next week after being prohibited from appearing in the House. But the Democratic leader cautioned it’s not a sure thing given the tight grip being put on President Trump’s scientific advisers.

“Now they say they may have Fauci next week but who can believe that given what Mark Meadows, given that they pulled him away from the House?” Schumer said in an interview Monday evening.

Schumer noted that Democrats have called on Fauci, as well as senior White House health adviser Deborah Birx, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to testify before Congress.

“By not telling the truth, by not hearing the truth, by not listening to the scientists, they are prolonging this crisis, they are prolonging how bad the economy will be,” he said. “Does it surprise me? No. Does it upset me? A lot.”

Schumer renewed his call for administration officials to testify before Congress in a tweet Monday evening.

“The Senate needs to hear from Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, Sec. Mnuchin. We need to know why so many small businesses have had trouble getting loans. We need to know why unemployment insurance checks are failing to get to workers. We need to know why we still don’t have enough tests!” he tweeted.

He also addressed the health concerns of senators who have been called back to Washington, even though members of the House are staying at home in their districts on the advice of Congress’s attending physician.

“Each colleague has made his or her own choice whether they can best serve their constituents by staying home or coming. And that choice I respect in every colleague,” he said. 

Schumer said he and other Democrats have come to Washington to put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to pass another major round of coronavirus relief legislation including hundreds of billions of dollars in aid to states.

“We haven’t heard a peep out of McConnell other than these lines in the stand for his ideological issues,” he added, referring to McConnell’s insistence that additional aid to state and local governments be paired with language exempting employers from coronavirus-related liability claims.

He said that could allow employers to ask workers to labor in close proximity to infected coworkers without protective equipment.

“That encourages bad bosses to do just that,” he said of the liability exemption. “So I’m here to force them as best I can to do real oversight … and to come up with things like money for state and local governments.”

Tags Anthony Fauci Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer Coronavirus Donald Trump Mark Meadows Mitch McConnell Rachel Maddow Steven Mnuchin
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