Some Democratic senators might not return to Capitol Hill for work next week, after the Attending Physician of the United States Congress told House leadership it was too dangerous to be in D.C. because the area’s coronavirus cases haven’t decreased.
‘What a dangerous and ill-conceived idea,’ Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, told Politico. ‘I have some colleagues that are seriously considering not returning because there’s nothing on the agenda yet that requires us to be there.’
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said Wednesday that the Senate would come back into session to ‘conduct critical business,’ but Democrats were quick to point out that McConnell plans to push through more of President Trump’s judicial picks – while details of a CARES 2 coronavirus economic relief package have yet to be worked out.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is going ahead with plans to reopen the Senate next week, but some Democrats have expressed that they might not show
The average age of U.S. senators is 62.9. At 86, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (pictured) is the oldest. She reportedly has asked McConnell to reconsider his decision to bring senators back to work
Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, told Politico that some of his colleagues were ‘seriously considering’ not coming back to Washington since the Senate doesn’t have a new coronavirus relief bill to vote on yet
Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, told Politico that there was ‘no reason to bring the Senate back to make conservative radio hosts happy.’ He called it a ‘dereliction of duty’ on McConnell’s part
‘If we’re doing oversight work or we’re passing a relief bill, then you can credibly make the case we are essential employees,’ Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, told Politico. ‘But there’s no reason to bring the Senate back to make conservative radio hosts happy. That’s a dereliction of duty.’
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has charged McConnell with not even asking the Attending Physician of the United States Congress for advice before plowing ahead with a Monday opening.
‘The Capitol Hill physician, the chief doctor there, told the House it wasn’t safe. I don’t even know if McConnell called him. So I don’t know what he told McConnell, if he talked to McConnell at all,’ Schumer said in a Tuesday interview with PBS NewsHour.
‘Well, Leader McConnell made the decision, as I understand it, without even consulting the Capitol physician,’ Schumer then said.
McConnell was asked by Fox News Channel’s Ed Henry on Thursday if he had consulted the Congress’ top doctor.
McConnell didn’t give him a direct answer.
‘Well, look, you know, we can modify our routines in ways that are smart and safe, but we can honor our constitutional duty to the American people and conduct our business in person,’ McConnell began.
The Kentucky Republican pointed to all the healthcare, grocery store and otherwise ‘essential’ workers who continue going into their jobs. ‘We’ve got a whole lot of other people who are showing up for work during the pandemic. It’s time for the Senate to do that as well,’ McConnell said.
‘We have many confirmations, for example – the Senate, is in the personnel business, the House is not – that have been balled up by the Democrats even before the pandemic,’ the top Senate Republican added.
The average age of sitting U.S. senators is 62.9 years old, according to a March 2020 membership profile from the Congressional Research Service. That means they have a greater chance of COVID-19 complications compared to the general U.S. population.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, charged McConnell with not consulting the Attending Physician of the United States Congress when the Kentucky Republican made the decision to bring senators back to work in Washington Monday
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, is the oldest senator at age 86.
Politico reported that she’s asked McConnell to reconsider bringing the body back into session.
For the Democrats who do come back, they’ll be practicing stricter social distancing than their GOP counterparts.
Republican senators plan to still conduct their weekly party lunches in-person, Politico reported.
Democrats, on the other hand, will do their meetings via converence call.
The Senate squabble is along the same party lines seen drawn across the United States – with conservative pundits and some Republican politicians being the first to say that preventing the spread of the coronavirus is not worth killing the economy.
President Trump has repeated that thinking on occassion – and given a nod to protesters in blue states who are charging state capitals to urge that businesses be reopened.
A number of those protesters have sported Trump-Pence shirts and flags.