Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has renewed interest in his ongoing feud with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who he singled out as “a big part” of the “mistake” Democrats made in trying to work with moderate Republicans in 2009.
“We made a big mistake in 2009 and ’10 — Susan Collins was a big part of that mistake. We cut back on the stimulus dramatically and we stayed in recession for five years,” Schumer said on CNN on Tuesday, referring to the economic stimulus package that Democrats pushed in response to the Great Recession.
On Wednesday, in remarks to reporters on Capitol Hill, Collins noted that “President [Barack] Obama urged me to vote for a stimulus bill that passed that year, and indeed called me afterwards to thank me for my vote. For Chuck Schumer, who was intimately involved in the negotiations as the assistant leader, to somehow criticize me for taking the same position that he did is simply bizarre.”
She added, “Why Chuck seems to be going out of his way to alienate the most bipartisan member of the Senate is a mystery to me. And it must just reflect his extraordinary frustration at having wasted $100 million in the state of Maine in an attempt to defeat me. And for me to win by a strong margin.”
Collins also criticized the majority leader in a recent interview with The New York Times, saying that “Chuck Schumer has tried to take me out three times now,” and ripping the ads he released against her last year as “deceptive” and “shameful.”
She said that Schumer’s sole interest seems to be to “jam the Republicans and force partisan, highly political votes on nearly every major issue,” and added, “So far, the signs are not promising.”
The senator went on to say that she has a close relationship with Biden, and that they both share a common interest in improving the country’s infrastructure.
“I am going to continue to work with President Biden and his administration,” she said on Wednesday. “I just hope that Senator Schumer does not continue to be an obstacle to bipartisanship.”
The third-ranking Republican in the Senate, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, said that Biden should weigh in.
“It doesn't help bipartisanship when Chuck Schumer goes on Anderson Cooper as he did last night and attacks the most bipartisan member of the U.S. Senate, who is Susan Collins, attacked her by name, and essentially said she was responsible for five years of a recession under President Obama,” Barrasso said in an interview with CNN’s Jim Sciutto on Wednesday.
“I hope President Biden speaks out and opposes what Chuck Schumer has said about Susan Collins. She's a spine of steel, she's a hard worker, she's not going to be bullied or bribed by Chuck Schumer.”
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the former GOP whip, added, “Dumb, dumb, dumb. Sen. Collins is the most likely Republican to engage in a bipartisan negotiation. Why you would go out of your way to intentionally alienate her is dumb.”
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