- The Washington Times
Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Wednesday touted a number of concessions Democrats won in the $2 trillion economic rescue package by holding out, including more unemployment insurance, more money for hospitals and additional oversight of where loans for corporations would go.

Mr. Schumer said in a letter to his Democratic colleagues that their unity “strengthened their hand” and that the public is benefiting “from Senate Democrats’ resolve in fighting to put workers first.”

Not so fast, according to Republicans, who say Mr. Schumer is taking credit for provisions that were GOP ideas or received little opposition.

“To sum up, Senator Schumer delayed lifesaving aid to medical professionals and significant relief for families and small businesses in order to claim credit for wins that are either bipartisan or Republican ideas,” said a senior GOP aide.

The aide said Senate Republicans never objected to additional oversight of a $500 billion “stabilization fund” to help prop up distressed corporations that Democrats had likened to a slush fund, but rather Democrats wanted to go further and get additional powers to oversee the Trump administration’s response to COVID-19.

Mr. Schumer also touted a $150 billion “Marshall Plan” for the country’s health system, which included a $55 billion boost, but the aide said there was never opposition to increasing funds for hospitals.

The senator has also touted securing unemployment insurance “on steroids,” but the aide said Senate Republicans had included three months of benefits in their package and didn’t oppose including a fourth.

Senate Democrats had blocked procedural action on a legislative package, saying the GOP vision was tilted too heavily toward boosting corporations.

But Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, said the $2 trillion deal is similar to what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell laid out a few days ago, with some additional funds for unemployment benefits, hospitals, and medical equipment.

“So the bill will be very similar to what we proposed a few days ago, but with some more money that is regrettably going to be necessary to respond to this crisis and help keep our people safe and ultimately get our economy back on its feet,” Mr. Cotton said on “Fox & Friends.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that Democrats would have to take a closer look at the final agreement and that it fell short of their own $2.5 trillion ante.

“House Democrats will now review the final provisions and legislative text of the agreement to determine a course of action,” said Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat.

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