Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday called on top Republicans to come to the table on the next phase of coronavirus aid after President Donald Trump signed executive actions over the weekend aimed at economic relief that his critics called insufficient.
“I hope saner voices in the Republican Party will prevail and say, ‘Sit down with Pelosi and sit down with Schumer,’” the New York Democrat told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We are not going to settle for some skimpy thing that doesn’t work.”
He added, “They have to meet us in the middle. They just can’t come to the table and say, ‘It’s my way or the highway.”
Schumer said his hope is that there are enough Republicans in the Senate — namely those running for re-election — to push for a deal. He said Republicans have largely been hanging their hats on Trump taking executive action, but now that the details have been released they will hopefully come to the table.
The president signed four executive actions Saturday for coronavirus economic relief, upending negotiations with Congress after lawmakers failed to reach a deal on Friday. The actions, which were criticized as unconstitutional, defer payroll taxes through the end of the year for those earning less than $100,000 a year; defer student loan payments through the end of the year; discourage evictions; and extend enhanced unemployment benefits that expired last week, but at a reduced level of $400 instead of the prior $600.
Democrats pounced on the executive actions, questioning their legality and arguing they don’t help small businesses, cheat taxpayers who are hurting economically, and put pressure on cash-strapped states.
Schumer said Monday the orders are “unworkable, weak and far too narrow.” He said the president has not been actively involved in negotiations with Democrats for a new relief bill, despite Trump saying over the weekend he has been in talks with Democrats.
“Fables from Donald Trump,” he said. “No, we didn’t call him, he makes these things up.”
“I have seen zero evidence he’s involved,” he added.
Schumer said the administration and top Republicans “have no respect for the American people” for letting the boosted unemployment benefits lapse and leaving struggling Americans hanging in the balance without a workable plan.
Trump tweeted on Monday, shortly after Schumer appeared on “Morning Joe,” signaling he is interested in making a deal with Democratic lawmakers.
“So now Schumer and Pelosi want to meet to make a deal,” Trump tweeted. “Amazing how it all works, isn’t it. Where have they been for the last 4 weeks when they were ‘hardliners’, and only wanted BAILOUT MONEY for Democrat run states and cities that are failing badly? They know my phone number!”