(CNSNews.com) – “Well, everyone knows the Senate’s supposed to be a coequal branch of government,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told a news conference on Thursday.
“We’re supposed to work together in a bipartisan way to get things done for the American people and put legislation on the president’s desk. But unfortunately…in those first hundred days of the Republican-controlled Senate, Leader McConnell has turned the Senate into a legislative graveyard for priorities the American people care about.”
Schumer then enumerated the “priorities the American people care about,” which are all Democrat priorities:
“The greatest challenges we face — healthcare, income inequality, voting rights, gun safety, the environment, paycheck fairness — McConnell and the Republicans refused to take any action,” Schumer complained.
He noted that the House of Representatives has passed “a whole lot of bills on these issues,” but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refuses to bring them to a vote.
Schumer complained that nothing is getting done, and he gave Senate Republicans an “F” grade, both on legislating and on “standing up to President Trump when he does harm.”
Later, in response to a question, Schumer admitted “there are some things” that Democrats and Republicans might be able to agree on. Again, immigration never came up.
“Maybe something on drug prices,” he said. “Privacy in terms of the Internet might come with some kind of bipartisan support. There are — there are some issues we might be able to get something done. The worry in every one of these is, when the White House tells the Republican leadership don’t do it, they just back off and they don’t try to do anything on their own.”
Schumer told reporters that he, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and President Trump plan to “meet on infrastructure in the next several weeks.”
“But, you know, again, the bottom line is this,” Schumer said. “If they are not going to put real money and have real labor and environmental protections, we’re not going to get anywhere.
“When they did and infrastructure bill last year, we put in a $1-trillion bill. House and Senate agreed on a $1-trillion bill. It would create 15 million jobs. The infrastructure bill the president proposed had about $200 billion in spending, although a lot of that was public-private partnerships, but then they took away the same amount of spending from existing programs…I think they even took money out of the Highway Trust Funds. So, that’s not going to be anywhere.
“So, we’re happy–the president calls people and says why don’t we do something, but then he’s unwilling to really do anything beyond his hard right base, and nothing gets done.”
Schumer said lowering the cost of prescription drug prices is high on the Democrat agenda. But here again, he indicated that if Republicans don’t go for the Democrat plan, forget about it:
“It’s a very, very serious issue. Different Democrats have different types of proposals,” Schumer said. “Whether we can reach agreements with Republicans–we’re not going to pass just a fig leaf that does nothing. It has to be real and it has to really reduce drug prices in a significant way. But we would like to do that, and if we can get it done in a bipartisan way, great.”
At his own news conference on Tuesday, McConnell said President Trump is legitimately concerned about the crisis at the border.
“We know that we have not handled immigration well,” McConnell admitted. “I would remind everyone, when our Democratic friends had total control of the government in 2009 and 2010, they didn’t bring up immigration.
“Yeah, we’ve got a problem. The only way to fix it is to finally put aside some of our differences and try to focus on it. And I think, you know, personnel is a part of the problem, but failure to act legislatively, failure to secure the border, failure to deal with the crisis that we obviously have at the border is all part of it. Yeah, it’s a big problem,” McConnell said.
McConnell convinced President Trump to wait until after the midterm election to press for funding for a border wall. With Democrats in control of the House, that funding is not forthcoming.