TRANSCRIPT: On CNN’s New Day, Senator Schumer Lays Out Long List Of Critical Support For The American People Left Out Of Senator McConnell’s Emaciated COVID Response Bill

September 9, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today joined CNN’s New Day and laid out the long list of critical support for the American people that Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans’ emaciated COVID response bill leaves out. A transcript can be found below:

John Berman: So the Senate could vote by tomorrow on what is being called a skinny coronavirus relief bill. It has almost no chance of becoming law and it comes more than a month of negotiations over the next installment of economic aid stalled in Congress. Joining us now is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Senator Schumer, thanks so much for being with us. This is being put forward by Mitch McConnell and there will be a vote, presumably tomorrow. The bill includes an extension of the small business loan program, an extension of jobless benefits to $300 a week. It would forgive about $10 billion of a loan to the Postal Service, tax credit for private and home schooling, and liability protections for employers in coronavirus-related lawsuits. It would not offer any aid to states. What is this bill missing?

Sen. Schumer: Well, there's so much missing in the bill. I wouldn't call it skinny. Their old bill, which was about $1 trillion, was skinny. This one is emaciated. It’s about half that. The crisis and the pain of the American people in the pandemic greater and greater and Republicans keep thinking smaller and smaller. And the reason is very simple. There are 20 Republicans in the Senate who want no money, so McConnell had to—in a very cynical exercise—put together something that would check the box, but left out so much. At the top of the list, of course, is state and local. There are going to be hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of layoffs of people who work for our state and local governments. The people who drive the buses, pick up the garbage, fight the fires. They're not getting any money and they even, because of these hard-rightwing ideologues, they wouldn't even let them use the money they already got that we put in the previous bill against the resistance of Republicans for lost revenues. There's no money to feed children who can't get food. There's no money to help people who are evicted from their houses. There's no money for our restaurants, for our spaces, our public spaces that need help, for our travel industries, for our airlines. There's no money for broadband. Rural areas are clamoring for broadband; they can't teach the kids. And so there’s many things that are not in this bill that are missing. Our bill has money for the unemployed, has real money for education. Even their education provision is warped. More than half of the money forces schools to—they only get the money if they open. They don't leave the decision, like we did in previous bill, to the schools. There’s no money for our hospitals and nursing homes, which desperately need help—rural hospitals in particular. So the list is long. Our bill meets the needs of the American people. Their bill meets the needs of a few ideologues who don't want to vote for anything, but they’re feeling such pressure from the public they have to come to the floor. It is, John, by Mitch McConnell, who seems to be the head of the department of cynicism, a cynical act because he knows it won't pass. He knows it won't pass.

John Berman: Let me say this. So, yes, the Democrats in the House passed a much larger relief bill months ago, $3 trillion plus months ago. That was passed in the House, the Senate did not take that up. I will stipulate that. But what do you say to people who  say just on the extension of unemployment benefits, who will say that the $300 that Mitch McConnell is offering is $300 more than the zero that people are getting right now?

Sen. Schumer: And the bill we have, not only does more for the unemployed with a more robust bill, but deals with all these other issues. Why don't they do our bill or at least do what Speaker Pelosi and I said, meet us in the middle? They keep moving backwards and they know the bill can’t pass. In addition, if you want to ever guess what McConnell’s intentions are, he put poison pills in this bill that he knows Democrats will never go for.

John Berman: But the result of the conflict is people will get nothing. They'll get neither the Republican or the Democratic –

Sen. Schumer:  Well, I don’t believe that. Let’s look at the last three bills. McConnell engaged in the same cynical game. He put a very weak bill on the floor. He challenged Democrats, vote for our bill or you'll get nothing. We didn't vote for those three bills because they were so weak and public pressure on McConnell and all his Senators, particularly those running for re-election, forced them to come to the table and the bill, the big CARES bill, was three-quarters of what we wanted. The 3.5 bill changed the small business money –

John Berman: Do you really think—I want to get to two different subjects here. But do you think, as you sit here this morning, that there will be any bill at all that’s passed?

Sen. Schumer: Yes, there's a good chance that they feel the pressure. Once they see that Democrats are not going to fold to this emaciated bill which leaves so much out, the pressure will mount on them as it did. Just look at the last three bills. In all three, you had the same scenario. McConnell said, Democrats do this or there will be nothing. We didn't go along with a very weak bill that doesn’t meet the needs of the American people and they came around. There's a good chance they will again. Their members are going home and hearing from Republican mayors, Republican governors, Republican hotel owners, Republican restaurant owners, do something that helps us. Their bill doesn't.

John Berman: I want to ask you about a matter of local interest here and it's not totally unrelated because you want state and local funds here. The president has been talking about your home state of New York and your home city of New York City. He wrote, “New York City must stop the shutdown now. The governor and mayor are destroying the place.” And then he talked about the events happening in Rochester, New York, with the police there. “Police Chief and most of the police in Rochester resigned. The Democrat Mayor and, of course, Governor Cuomo, have no idea what to do. New York State is a mess. No money, high taxes and crime. Everyone fleeing. November 3rd. We can fix it!” As a senior Senator from the State of New York, how do you respond?

Sen. Schumer: I respond that the only thing Donald Trump knows is name calling and negativity. If he wants to help New York more than anything else, come out for state and local aid. The governor, the mayor, and others have said that's what we desperately need to help with all of the problems that we face. And you know, let me just say this. I think what we have learned in the last few weeks is that the Trump plan to divide us, to throw nasty slings at his enemies without coming up without any constructive solution, is failing. The American people know that Donald Trump and the Senate Republicans are one of the main reasons the COVID crisis is as large and long as it is. And they want real solutions, which we Democrats are offering here in the Senate, in the House, and throughout the country. And this idea of just blaming things and saying, oh, there's going to be this, there's going to be that isn’t working. And that's why there was no convention bump for Trump. That’s why the last two weeks, his calls saying—his ridiculous and irrational calls blaming Democrats for the violence and not even talking about the hard right people, and trying to pick sides rather than bring people together, is not working. And so I don't think this will work either. We in New York—the governor, the mayors—we're trying to be constructive in a difficult situation. We had the worst COVID crisis of just about any state and Donald Trump instead of helping us just calls names and then does nothing.

John Berman: Senator Chuck Schumer, we appreciate your time. Thank you for being with us.

Sen. Schumer: Nice to talk to you, John.

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