Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., maintains a laissez-faire approach despite the growing urgency to pass legislation prioritized by Democrats, Politico reported Monday.
With the Senate split evenly along party lines, Democrats are trying to pass bills regarding infrastructure, election reform, and military sexual assault reform.
Disagreements within the party have added to Schumer’s job, according to Politico.
"Poor Chuck! He’s got the weight of the world on him," Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., told Politico.
"There’s nobody that I can think of who could do it better than he does that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. And it doesn’t mean it’s easy on him."
Schumer's strategy of allowing squabbles to play out among his fellow Democrats might appear to encourage chaos, according to Politico, but the leader stays close to his members via phone calls and personal meetings.
"[I] would not use the word chaos," Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., told Politico. "He’s still on a good path. And he’s managing what is a very diverse caucus."
Despite perception of disorder from the outside, Republicans know Schumer hasn't lost sight of his goal with the 2022 midtern elections looming.
"I always know what Sen. Schumer’s priorities are," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told Politico. "To beat the Republicans in the election."
Schumer, 70, has said being majority leader is tougher than being minority leader.
He also has taken an increasingly realistic view on the prospects for President Joe Biden’s agenda, according to Politico. That's largely due to a Democrat caucus that includes progressives such as Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and moderates Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Joe Manchin. D-W.Va.
Brooklyn, N.Y., native Schumer said he still planned to pursue the "biggest bold action that we can get."
"America needs big, bold change and I’m doing everything I can to make that happen," Schumer told Politico.
Schumer then was asked if he should be more hands on to try and quell dissenters within the majority.
"Unity brings us strength and success," he told Politico. "That’s what’s worked every time on every tough challenge in the past. And it’s going to continue to work that way."
Schumer’s style certainly differs from that of predecessors Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
As minority leader, Schumer kept his party united through two impeachment proceedings of former President Donald Trump, Obamacare repeal attempts, and Republican tax cuts.
As majority leader, he has overseen Biden's $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill, and the passing of a long-sought China competitiveness bill.
Politico said Schumer also has helped get Biden more time to negotiate with Republicans on infrastructure, with a unilateral fallback approach if needed. Talks have staggered along for nearly two months.
However, election reform has proven to be a challenge. After vowing that "failure is not an option" on voting rights legislation, Schumer has seen Manchin oppose the party's bill.
The Republicans’ filibuster power and Manchin’s reluctance to kill the 60-vote requirement add to Schumer’s problem with election reform.
"I really appreciate Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, going through this process that we’re all benefiting from," Manchin said, according to Politico.
Immigration reform, gun safety, and police conduct also have produced no breakthroughs after weeks of talks, according to Politico.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Schumer’s Empire State colleague, has taken to the floor seven times to try and force a vote on her long-sought military sexual assault reform. She has been stopped each time, often by Senate Armed Services Chair Jack Reed, D-R.I.
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