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Schumer urges Democrats to unify against GOP coronavirus bill

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats urge Biden to extend moratorium on student loan payments White House draws ire of progressives amid voting rights defeat Murkowski to vote 'no' on voting rights bill MORE (N.Y.) is urging his colleagues to unify against a coronavirus relief proposal that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCan Manchin answer his predecessor's call on voting rights? Biden at Sen. John Warner's funeral: He 'gave me confidence' Democrats' narrow chance to retain control after 2022 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 TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum 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.