Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Thursday the hesitance of Republicans to pass additional coronavirus relief legislation was reminiscent of President Herbert Hoover’s response to the Great Depression.
Schumer took aim at Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as he argued during a television interview for additional funding for states and localities, among other Democratic priorities.
“The people like McConnell and McCarthy and even Trump, who say, ‘Let’s wait and do nothing,’ well, they remind me of the old Herbert Hoovers,” Schumer said. “We had the Great Depression. Hoover said, ‘Let’s just wait it out.’ It got worse and worse.”
Hoover famously resisted directly involving the federal government in response to the depression and was decisively defeated in the 1932 election.
McConnell responded in an interview on Fox News Channel Thursday afternoon.
“Of course, no one is saying we should do nothing,” McConnell said. “We have been quite busy. The PPP loans have gone out in massive numbers. Small businesses are given this bridge to get to the next place, when, hopefully, the economy begins to open up again.”
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway also weighed in on Schumer’s comments. In a Fox interview, she claimed that Schumer “just lied.”
“Who said, ‘Oh, we don’t want to do anything, will just do nothing?’” Conway asked. “Who said that? The president, who signed into law three consecutive legislative packages that have given trillions of dollars in direct relief to distressed individuals and industries?”
Democrats are assembling a new rescue package expected to exceed $2 trillion that would include around a $1 trillion commitment for states and localities. Money is also being eyed for a large array of other provisions, including housing, social services, law enforcement, tribal government needs, food security, the Postal Service, rural broadband, rent and mortgage relief, and veterans issues.
Republicans, meanwhile, have made it clear they will hit pause on any rescue package as they begin to scrutinize the effectiveness of previous rounds of aid sent to states, hospitals, consumers and small businesses.
At a news conference Thursday, McCarthy said lawmakers should ensure that prior relief legislation “gets implemented and implemented correctly” before they take action on another bill.