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McCarthy & Schumer off to Shaky Start

Government

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy | Image by HorizonUI

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have reportedly gotten off to a shaky start but are working toward cooperation between congressional Democrats and Republicans.

Schumer (D-NY) has accused McCarthy (R-CA) and House Republicans of pushing an “extreme” agenda that would undercut women’s health care and slash Medicare and Social Security benefits, but he is still reportedly looking for ways to work with Republican leadership to ensure Congress passes legislation to avoid a default on the national debt and a subsequent government shutdown.

McCarthy also said he wants self-proclaimed moderate Democrats to work with Republicans on bipartisan issues. However, his working relationship with Schumer has reportedly begun on an unsteady foundation.

Rodell Mollineau, Democratic strategist and former aide to the late Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), said, “There’s no reason up until now for them to have a relationship,” adding that “openly and publicly having a good relationship with Schumer doesn’t help” McCarthy’s relationship with his Republican colleagues.

“It’s always a balancing act when different parties control different chamber[s],” said Democratic strategist Mike Lux. “Obviously there will be some things they have to get done, and that’s a three-way relationship [with President Biden].”

Lux said he thinks McCarthy will be “extremely dysfunctional because his caucus is extremely dysfunctional and the [House] rules package is ridiculous.” The rules package passed by the Republican-controlled House contained many reforms that shift control back to rank-and-file members and away from chamber and party leadership, as The Dallas Express previously reported. The package was negotiated during a week-long standoff with members of McCarthy’s own party.

“Democrats are going to need to press on getting the things done that have to get done,” Lux suggested, “and we can’t expect to get done many other things.”

However, McCarthy pointed out on Sunday that under his leadership, the House Republican majority has already passed legislation, including a bill to rescind $72 billion in funding for the Internal Revenue Service meant to go towards hiring new agents and increasing its auditing power.

McCarthy added that he wants Senate Democrats from Republican-leaning states to pressure their leadership into bringing the legislation passed in the House to the Senate floor for a vote, specifically calling on Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jon Tester (D-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and others who identify as moderates to cooperate with House Republicans.

Discussing a recent bill to ban the Department of Energy from selling oil from the U.S. reserves to China, McCarthy said, “It’s overwhelmingly passed in the House. I don’t see why [the Senate] would stop [the bill]. They’re not even in session. They haven’t produced any bills so here’s their first bill over there that they can take right up.”

“If you talk to those Democrats … who say they’re moderates and that they want to work together — here’s an example that 113 Democrats in Congress voted for as well. I don’t see the reason why [the bill] wouldn’t get moved,” he told Fox News.

On Friday, Schumer said he hopes to work effectively with House Republicans moving forward.

“We always try to work with the Republicans in a bipartisan way,” he told CNN. “I would hope that House Republicans under Speaker McCarthy would reach out to us. We will reach out to them. I intend to sit down with Republican leaders in the Senate and the House and try and get things done that can help the American people, but this past week has been very discouraging.”

Schumer accused the legislation passed by the GOP majority thus far of not helping the American people, calling the Republican agenda “extreme” but expressing that he would like to cooperate with moderate Republicans.

“There are a whole bunch of Republicans who are not MAGA. My hope is — and I believe this — that after a little while they will see that following this extreme fringe is like following Thelma and Louise over the cliff, and that they will come and start dealing with us in a serious way,” he said. “We’ll have disagreements, but in previous Congresses, we were able to come together and get things done.”

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