Schumer warns Dems of ‘long nights,’ potential August recess delay

0
30
Schumer warns Dems of 'long nights,' potential August recess delay

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) cautioned Democrats Friday to prepare for long nights, weekend work and a possible delay to next month’s scheduled recess as the chamber gears up to vote on several issues — including a bipartisan infrastructure plan and a budget resolution allowing Democrats to pass a larger spending package.

In a so-called “Dear Colleague” letter sent to members of his caucus, Schumer called on members to approach the upcoming work period with the “same unity and urgency that we have embraced all year.”

“As the country continues its rapid recovery from the COVID crisis thanks to the American Rescue Plan, our legislative focus will soon turn towards laying a strong foundation for the future,” the majority leader wrote. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, center, speaks to members of the media at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, June 24, 2021. President Biden celebrated his tentative deal with a group of Democratic and Republican senators on a $579 billion infrastructure plan, saying it would create millions of jobs while fulfilling a major piece of his economic agenda. Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for a possible delay to next month’s scheduled recess.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Schumer later added that, “My intention for this work period is for the Senate to consider both the bipartisan infrastructure legislation and a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions, which is the first step for passing legislation through the reconciliation process.” 

A bipartisan group of senators has hashed out the framework of a $1.2 trillion proposal to address hard infrastructure. The compromise plan — which is still being drafted into legislative text — includes $579 billion in new spending, with $300 billion allocated for transportation, and $250 billion for broadband, power and water infrastructure.

But top Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), have asserted that the bill needs to be passed in conjunction with a larger measure that would address nontraditional infrastructure. They hope to pass that bill using the reconciliation process, which allows them to bypass the Senate’s 60-vote legislative filibuster. 

As negotiators continue to work on the bipartisan proposal, Schumer noted that legislators’ work would extend into Congress’ annual August recess if necessary. 

“Please be advised that time is of the essence and we have a lot of work to do. Senators should be prepared for the possibility of working long nights, weekends, and remaining in Washington into the previously-scheduled August state work period,” he wrote.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, center, speaks to members of the media at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, June 24, 2021. President Biden celebrated his tentative deal with a group of Democratic and Republican senators on a $579 billion infrastructure plan, saying it would create millions of jobs while fulfilling a major piece of his economic agenda. Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The Senate is currently scheduled to begin a summer recess after the week of Monday Aug. 2.
Getty Images

Schumer also emphasized the necessity of confirming President Biden’s judicial nominees, writing: “Thanks to Senate Democrats, President Biden has seen more total circuit and district court nominees confirmed before July 4th of his first year than any other recent president. We will continue this critical work in the months to come.”

Schumer went on to say that he plans to move quickly to fill “potential vacancies on the Supreme Court should they arise,” a clear reference to calls by Democrats and progressives for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to step down. The majority leader also said he will continue to push for election reform in the wake of Senate Republicans blocking debate on the For The People Act

“Our fight to protect voting rights has also only just begun,” Schumer wrote. “Last month, all fifty Senate Democrats united for the first time this Congress to move forward on a strong and comprehensive voting rights bill. Shamefully, Republicans refused to even allow a debate on voting rights legislation.

“But I want to be very clear,” he continued, “last month’s vote represented the starting gun—not the finish line—in our fight to protect our democracy.

“Later this month, Senator [Amy] Klobuchar [D-Minn.] will hold a field hearing in Georgia to further examine the disgraceful tactics that Republican-led state legislatures are using across the country to keep people from voting.”

The Senate is currently scheduled to begin a summer recess after the week of Monday Aug. 2. Threats by congressional leaders to curtail recesses are common, but Schumer’s illustrates the pressure his party faces to move on what remains of Biden’s domestic agenda ahead of next year’s midterm elections.

With Post wires

Source link