Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin introduced a timeline Tuesday that showed how Republicans will be leaving their time in power — and that Democrats are intent on keeping them in check.
The senators noted that since the 2016 election, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, had requested $10 billion in disaster aid for Puerto Rico, but the Trump administration only provided $8 billion. Trump reportedly questioned why Congress should “ask for money they didn’t ask for in the first place.”
“This isn’t just about symbolism or political theater,” Mr. Schumer said. “You remember the last time the Congress was in a minority?” he asked, in reference to Republicans controlling both the House and Senate in the ’90s. “Remember just how many things got done?”
The Democrats have said that they’re targeting three big issues — repealing the tax cuts that Republicans passed last year, advancing legislation to combat climate change and challenging President Trump’s immigration policies.
Last month, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced an amendment to allow Dreamers brought to the United States illegally as children to remain in the country. The amendment stalled in the Senate Appropriations Committee after Republicans pointed to recent border separations as grounds for slowing down action on the bill.
Several Senate Democrats have also introduced several immigration-related bills, most notably Sens. Kamala Harris, Corey Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand, that would make it easier for Dreamers to leave the country legally and require the president to secure funding for the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Mr. Trump has already signed a $1.3 trillion spending package that includes $1.6 billion for wall construction, but he could approve additional funding as part of a larger spending package.
Mr. Schumer introduced a bill that would end the practice of separating children from parents who are detained at the U.S.-Mexico border. “We want to make sure no one, not a single person is separated again because we know it’s wrong,” Mr. Schumer said, using tear gas to emphasize his point.
He laid out the potential to accomplish these goals, citing Senate Republican efforts to legalize more than a million Dreamers and temporarily halt the forced separation of immigrant families at the border as a result of Mr. Trump’s actions. “And if there’s any doubt that the president can be frustrated and turn to the Republicans … we proved it in 2013,” Mr. Schumer said, in reference to when the then-majority on the House, of which Democrats had a majority, allowed funding for the government to lapse.