McConnell and Schumer Praise Spending Bill as Example of Bipartisanship

By Susan Jones | May 3, 2017 | 5:49 AM EDT

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) praises the "bipartisanship" that produced the omnibus spending package, at a news conference on Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Screen grab from C-SPAN)

( - "Bipartisanship" -- the word itself -- made an appearance on Capitol Hill Tuesday, as both Republican and Democrat senators used the word multiple times at their respective news conferences.

Speaking of the omnibus spending bill that omits key Republican priorities, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he’s “proud…that we worked in a bipartisan way. Our Republican colleagues, I give them a lot of credit,” Schumer said, calling out Republican leaders by name.

 “We all worked as a team,” the Democrat continued. “And we came up with a very good solution for the people here. But it shows that we Democrats are -- want to work with our Republican colleagues. And when they work with us, it's great."

(Schumer also criticized President Trump for not playing a "positive role" in the budget negotiations: "But hopefully that might change because the results have been so good and so fine,” he said.)

At the Republican news conference, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) identified the Republicans’ “two top priorities” as healthcare "revisions" and tax reform, both of which can be achieved without Democrats’ cooperation, he said.

Then he, too, invoked bipartisanship:

“On everything else, the Senate has been known for its bipartisanship, and you're seeing a perfect example of it on the spending bill that will be on the floor this week,” McConnell said.

“Do the American people expect us to work together? They like it when we reach bipartisan agreements. What we are doing this week is the beginning of a number of things that we'll do on a bipartisan basis, up to and including whatever infrastructure bill is ultimately submitted by the administration and processed by the Senate.”

Democrats spent much of their time at Tuesday’s news conference hailing the permanent fix for miners’ health care benefits that is included in the omnibus spending bill. The money for miners’ health care was a priority for coal-state Senator McConnell as well, but Democrats held up the provision as proof of their commitment to marginalized Americans – something that help Donald Trump win the presidency:

“The miners symbolize what Democratic priorities are, helping working people who've worked hard their whole lives and are often ignored,” Schumer said on Tuesday. “And we're very proud that in this budget, we not only have money for the miners, but we have money for other people who really need help in a variety of different ways, average hard-working people who all too often get neglected by the government.”

(President Obama put many coal miners out of business during his eight years in office as part of his push for "green" energy.)

Schumer on Tuesday also responded to President Trump’s Tuesday tweet, in which the president said a government shutdown at the beginning of Fiscal ’18 might not be a bad thing.

“Now, the president's threat to shut down the government in September is just a very, very bad idea, because it would hurt so many average folks. I strongly urge my colleagues and they have already, I've been very heartened by the number of Senators -- Republican -- who've already said they have no desire to shut down the government," Schumer said.

“That is not the way to govern. That is not the way to come up with bipartisan compromise. That is not the way to run America, and we hope by the time -- by September, that we can all work together and do another bipartisan budget that helps the American people,” Schumer said.

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