Talks between McConnell and Schumer stalled over power-sharing agreement
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"Mitch McConnell will not dictate to the Senate what we should do and how we should proceed," Schumer said a Sunday press conference. "McConnell is no longer the majority leader, and in every Senate in the past, they have come to an agreement on an organizing resolution, Democrats and Republicans, to move forward. McConnell is standing in the way."
Talks between McConnell and Schumer are stalled over a power-sharing agreement on how the Senate will run with 50 senators in each caucus but Vice President Harris giving Democrats a slight edge.
"We will move forward and decide on the organizing resolution where Democrats make the decisions, not Mitch McConnell," Schumer said.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., stands with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as a joint session of the House and Senate convenes to confirm the Electoral College votes cast in November's election, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP)
"There were three essential items on our plate, the trial of President Trump, now that the Houses impeached him, bold, strong COVID relief and approving the president's cabinet," he continued. "The Senate must advance all three in the next few weeks."
Schumer reaffirmed his commitment to sending $2,000 checks to many Americans.
"There are many, many unemployed people, and people need checks in their pockets. ... We hope our Republican friends will see the need and work with us, but if not, we will get it done," he said.
Sparring over stimulus checks is nothing new for the two parties. McConnell blocked quick action on $2,000 coronavirus stimulus checks on the Senate floor in late December, prompting criticism from Schumer.
There was a 50-50 Senate at the beginning of the George W. Bush administration, and the two parties put together a deal, which McConnell, R-Ky., and Schumer, D-N.Y., are using as a template for their current talks.
The deal would govern the number of senators from each party on committees, likely would allow bills to get to the Senate floor even on evenly-split votes in committee and may even give McConnell some rights on the Senate floor that he wouldn't otherwise have if Democrats had 51 senators.
But the hangup is a request from McConnell for assurances that Democrats will not get rid of the legislative filibuster — the requirement that bills clear a 60-vote procedural hurdle before a final up-or-down vote — during the upcoming Congress.
"I’ve been heartened to hear my colleague say he wants the same rules from the 2000s to apply today. Because certainly 20 years ago there was no talk of tearing down long-standing minority rights on legislation," McConnell said in floor remarks Thursday. "The legislative filibuster is a crucial part of the Senate. Leading Democrats like President Biden himself have long defended it."
McConnell then accused Democrats of "liberally" using the filibuster to block GOP legislation during the past six years that Republicans controlled the Senate.
Fox News' Tyler Olson contributed to this report.