- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Tuesday helped kick off what will likely be painstaking negotiations over the next coronavirus relief package by insulting congressional Republicans and blaming President Trump for the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Republicans don’t even seem to have their own act together,” Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat, said on CNN’s “New Day.”

“It’s hard to negotiate when the president says one thing, Senate Republicans say another, and many of them are divided,” Mr. Schumer continued. “So we hope they’re going to be unified and present something to us.”

Senate Republicans have been cool on Mr. Trump’s push to include a payroll tax holiday in the next package, and some have advocated for more money for testing and tracing efforts than the White House might want.

Mr. Schumer said Republicans have been “dithering” and that Mr. Trump is “probably number one to blame for this crisis being a lot worse than it is.”

“We need more help on testing — he’s fighting even with his own Republicans on this,” Mr. Schumer said.

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows are expected to be on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to speak with congressional leaders in both parties about the next round of funding.

The Democratic-controlled House passed a $3 trillion-plus package in May on top of the nearly $3 trillion

Congress had authorized to respond to the pandemic. But Senate Republicans had said that package, which also included items tied to election administration and immigration, was dead on arrival.

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