Schumer: Senate GOP COVID Bill’s School Choice Provision Is Poison Pill

During a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) panned the Senate Republican coronavirus relief proposal for not meeting needs on “safe elections,” among other things and criticized the “poison pills” that will “never” get the support of Democrats like the bill’s school choice program and corporate immunity.

Schumer said the GOP’s proposal “is completely inadequate, and by every measure, fails to meet the needs of the American people, with no money for rental assistance, nutrition assistance, the Census, safe elections, and so many other things. The bill, amazingly, will do almost nothing to help state and local governments that have already been forced to cut a million jobs since the pandemic began. This bill actually goes backwards from the last Republican proposal. It does not even allow states to use existing relief funds to cover lost revenues.”

He continued, “Even worse, this latest and sorriest Republican proposal is laden with poison pills that our colleagues know Democrats would never support. The bill doesn’t provide enough funding to help our schools re-open safely, not close to what school superintendents say they need, but it includes funding for a partisan school choice program long pushed by hard-right conservatives and Secretary DeVos. It provides immunity to corporations who put their workers in harm’s way, which, sadly, seems to be the only thing that Republicans can consistently agree on. It even includes a provision that could fast-track coal mining operations. Because God forbid our Republican friends miss an opportunity to reward corporate polluters in their coronavirus relief bill. The Republicans call their bill targeted. Maybe they mean it’s targeted to corporate donors. The presence of these poison pills should remove every shred of doubt that the true intent of this bill is anything but political.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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