Impeachment, bold COVID relief and cabinet approvals: Schumer says we have to move forward

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says the Senate must work simultaneously in order to successfully move forward.
Photo by Dean Moses

It is time to walk and chew gum, and that’s just what Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer believes as he announces three major issues being addressed simultaneously in the Senate.

With the Biden administration now in the oval office, Schumer laid out Democrat’s plans for the coming weeks–including Trump’s impeachment.

Schumer was all business Sunday afternoon, jumping straight into what his plans are for the next three weeks at a press conference within the lobby of 875 Third Avenue. While Schumer affirms that the trial of former President Donald Trump is an important proceeding, he believes it will be a swift but fair action allowing the party to move forward and focus on COVID-19 relief plans. The date of the second impeachment trial itself has been set for the week of Feb. 8th but the articles will be read on Monday.

On Jan. 13th, President Trump was officially impeached for the second time by the House of Representatives. Schumer announced that on Jan. 25th, House management will read the articles of impeachment, and the following day members will be sworn in to sit for the trial. He emphasized that in an impeachment case, the Senators are viewed as jurors, while the House takes the form of prosecutor.

“After that both the House managers and the [former] President’s defense will have a period of time to draft their legal briefs. As they did in all of the previous impeachment trials, and during that period the Senate is able to do other things, and the two biggest things we will do are approve a number of the President’s key appointments, and advance the COVID relief bill in a bold and strong way that helps New York and helps the country. That’s what we will do during that time,” Schumer said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says the Senate must work simultaneously in order to successfully move forward. Photo by Dean Moses

Schumer is hopeful that Republican representatives will be willing to work together in a speedy, yet fair trial so that we can all move forward in addressing the numerous issues we now face. However, if Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell or any of the Republicans choose not to cooperate, Schumer says that there are tools they can use to move forward regardless of their prevention efforts.

“The January 6th insurrection at the Capitol, incited by President Trump was a day none of us will ever forget. We all want to put this awful chapter in our nation’s history behind us. But healing and unity will only come if there is truth and accountability. And that is what this trial will provide,” Schumer added.

The Impeachment trial was but one of three talking points the Senator wanted to hammer home. The agenda also included the COVID-19 relief bill and swearing in remaining members of President Joe Biden’s cabinet. Throughout his speech, Schumer made numerous points to reiterate that providing financial assistance to struggling Americans is a top priority.

“We are here today to announce that the next three weeks we will be doing three things, all of which are very much needed in the Senate. There are three essential items on our plate: the trial of President Trump now that the house has impeached him, bold strong COVID relief, and approving the President’s cabinet desperately needed at a time like this,” Schumer said.

He added that the Trump administration did not offer adequate assistance in the least toward aiding states in the vaccine distribution process. He assured New Yorkers that he has a great deal of faith in the Biden administration’s vaccination plan, and that the turnaround will be “effective and efficient and move in a very positive way.”

“This week, we will work to advance efforts to deliver additional COVID relief, because as President Biden explained, things are going to get worse before they get better. The American people still need the help, New York still needs the help, including action on vaccine supply, and we have to move swiftly,” Schumer said.

The total COVID relief will amount to a $1.9 trillion plan, which includes direct checks of $1,400 per person to assist families and businesses. Again, Schumer added that they hope Republicans will be on board with this plan, but if not, he says the Senate will get it done anyway.

The final topic referred to the approval of President Biden’s cabinet nominees, two of which the Senate has already confirmed, Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin (the first African American to hold this position) and fellow Brooklynite, US Treasury, Janet Yellen.

Schumer lays out the COVID relief package. Photo by Dean Moses

The next positions up for approval are the Secretaries of State, Homeland Security, Treasury, Health and Human Services, United States Department of Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and others.

“The bottom line here on nominees is that the continuity of our national security, critical agencies related to schooling, transportation—as well as our ability to effectively respond to the current health and economic crises—depend on having all these cabinet officials confirmed ASAP,” Schumer concluded.