Government

Greenfield in a 'race we can win' against Ernst, Schumer says

Senate Democratic leader participates in virtual fundraiser

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, June 30, 2020, i
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, June 30, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

While the president “dithers and divides,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday night, “the country is thirsting for real and dramatic change” that Democrats can deliver if Iowans elect Theresa Greenfield to the U.S. Senate.

“We need to roll up our sleeves and take back the U.S. Senate,” he told Polk County Democrats. “I can assure you, if God willing, I become majority leader with your help, we will be putting this kind of legislation on the floor ... to help middle-class people stay there, to help people aspiring to the middle class to get there, to help our entire country in so many different ways.”

That starts by flipping the Senate, Schumer told about 250 Polk County Democrats who participated in the virtual fundraiser. That starts with helping Greenfield, his handpicked candidate, defeat Sen. Joni Ernst.

Schumer, who has reserved $16.7 million worth of advertising on behalf of Greenfield, called her “my soon-to-be colleague.”

Over the last several months, the New York senator said, American have endured a pandemic, the highest unemployment since the Great Depression and “a painful reckoning with racial injustice.”

Meanwhile, the Republican leadership in Washington “is flat-out ignoring these urgent problems,” he asserted. “It’s as if they’re in a different planet. They’re missing in action.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his colleagues, he said, have refused to work with Democrats on their coronavirus-related priorities of giving hazard pay to essential workers and more aid to state and local governments and rural hospitals.

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“Time and time again, the Republican majority has delayed, blocked or ignored attempts to pass this urgent and necessary relief,” he said.

While his audience may have agreed, Ernst said it’s Schumer who is blocking action.

“My message directly to Chuck Schumer, first, is when will you allow us as Republicans and Democrats to come together and work on issues that are important to Iowans and all Americans?” Ernst said in a call with reporters Tuesday afternoon. She referred to the bipartisan police reform bill that “has 75 percent of what Democrats were demanding within the bill and he stopped it from me being debated.”

“There are so many issues that are important to all Americans, and Democrats are refusing to debate those issues,” Ernst continued. “So I want to know when he’s going to allow us to come together and work together as parties.”

Ernst also hoped hear Greenfield address critical issues facing Iowans.

“Let’s not pussyfoot around these issues,” she said. “I want to hear what Theresa Greenfield thinks on these issues. I want to hear what Chuck Schumer is telling her to say or not to say.”

Greenfield didn’t break new ground in delivering a version of her stump speech. She repeated her call for Ernst to oppose a lawsuit in Texas that could dismantle the Affordable Care Act, to call on Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler to resign and to refuse campaign donations from corporate political action committees.

The Senate race is expected to be competitive, with polls showing Greenfield’s lead within the margin of error. Politico recently moved the race from “lean Republican” to “tossup.”

“This race is not just competitive,” Schumer said. “This race is not just about keeping Republicans honest. This is a race we can win.”

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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