Schumer urges Democrats to unify against GOP coronavirus bill

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOcasio-Cortez's 2nd grade teacher tells her 'you've got this' ahead of DNC speech New poll shows Markey with wide lead over Kennedy in Massachusetts Lawmakers push Trump to restore full funding for National Guards responding to pandemic MORE (N.Y.) is urging his colleagues to unify against a coronavirus relief proposal that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate Democrats say White House isn't budging in coronavirus relief stalemate MORE (R-Ky.) is drafting with the Trump administration.

“This one-party approach to this legislation is the same approach that delayed the passage of the CARES Act and the subsequent interim emergency relief legislation, failed on policing reform, and it won’t work this time around either,” Schumer wrote, referencing the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package Congress passed in March after an initial partisan standoff.  

Schumer is balking at a five-year proposed litigation shield that McConnell wants to include in the next relief package that would limit the liability of businesses, schools and churches related to coronavirus infections.

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“From what we understand from press reports, Leader McConnell’s bill will prioritize corporate special interests over workers and main street businesses, and will fail to adequately address the worsening spread of the Coronavirus,” Schumer wrote to colleagues.

He warned the liability provision would “preempt the laws of all 50 states and grant legal immunity to negligent corporations, nursing homes and others that fail to take reasonable steps to avoid spreading the virus.”

The Democratic leader also criticized the emerging GOP coronavirus relief package for failing to extend unemployment benefits or funding for rental assistance or provide hazard pay for essential workers. He also pointed out the need for more investment in “communities of color being ravaged by the virus.”

“Democrats will need to fight hard for these important provisions,” Schumer wrote.

He reiterated his previous criticisms of President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' MORE for not doing more to implement a national testing strategy or implement the Defense Production Act to require U.S. industry to increase the production of personal protective equipment and medical supplies.

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“To make matters even worse, the president is reportedly now urging Republicans to block additional ... funding for testing — a cynical gambit that appears to be part of the president’s efforts to suppress data,” he wrote.

The Washington Post reported Sunday the administration is trying to block new money for testing, tracing and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the new relief bill.  

Schumer urged his colleagues to remain unified against the GOP bill until President Trump and McConnell agree to a variety of Democratic priorities, many of which were included in the $3 trillion HEROES Act, which the House passed in May.

“We will stand together again if we must,” Schumer wrote. “Our Democratic colleagues in the House are ready to work and we know that a bipartisan, bicameral process will result in a much better bill for the American people.”

Schumer has previously called for nearly $1 trillion in funding aid to state and local governments, which many Republicans oppose.