(CNN)Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday said Democrats won’t fold to Republicans’ scaled-down coronavirus relief plan, predicting their rejection of a near $500 billion measure will put pressure on GOP senators to negotiate with them and agree to a larger relief package.
“There’s a good chance they feel the pressure once they see the Democrats are not going to fold to this emaciated bill, which leaves so much out. The pressure will mount on them,” Schumer told CNN’s John Berman Wednesday on “New Day.” Schumer’s comments come as the pared-back Republican Senate bill seems unlikely to clear a Democratic filibuster this week, but the chances of reaching a deal anytime soon that will help struggling Americans amid the pandemic are still low.Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday he would force his chamber to cast a vote “as soon as this week” on the GOP’s new economic recovery plan. A GOP leadership aide told CNN that the Senate is expected to hold a procedural vote on the measure Thursday.On CNN Wednesday, Schumer slammed the Republican bill for leaving out funding for state and local governments, which was allocated in the House’s $3 trillion plan passed in May and has been the sticking point in negotiations with the White House and Republicans.Read MoreHe also criticized the GOP plan for not including funds for food assistance for children, money for families evicted from their homes, relief for the travel industry and money for broadband in rural areas.”Our bill meets the needs of the American people. Their bill meets the needs of a few ideologues who don’t want to vote for anything, but they’re feeling such pressure from the public, they have to come to the floor,” Schumer told CNN, slamming the upcoming vote on the GOP measure as a “cynical act” because McConnell knows it won’t pass.”The crisis and the pain of the American people in the pandemic get greater and greater, and Republicans keep thinking smaller and smaller,” Schumer said. “And the reason is very simple — there are 20 Republicans in the Senate who want no money, so McConnell had to, in a very cynical exercise, put together something that would check the box, but left out so much.”McConnell on Wednesday told reporters that the upcoming vote on the GOP bill is a choice for senators to “do something” or “do nothing.””Democratic leaders know this simple choice will put the spotlight on their partisan antics,” the Kentucky Republican said. “They know this vote will expose their obstruction.” He also accused Democratic leaders of not wanting any bipartisan relief whatsoever to reach American families before the November election. Negotiations over another stimulus package broke down last month as the two parties remained deeply divided over the topline price tag.Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been pushing $2.2 trillion for a new stimulus, calling on the White House and Republicans to meet them halfway. But it’s a price tag the White House and McConnell have rejected. In July, McConnell put forth a $1 trillion stimulus bill, but never brought it to a vote.The new trimmed-down Republican bill unveiled this week provides a $300 federal boost for unemployment benefits through the end of the year and new relief for small businesses. The bill also forgives a $10 billion loan to the US Postal Service and includes liability protections for employers in coronavirus lawsuits. The bill would provide two years of tax credits for parents to cover costs of private and home schooling, a provision McConnell added at the request of Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. Republican leaders hope to have 51 votes for the bill in their conference to show an election-year contrast with Democrats, despite the strong likelihood the measure won’t clear the 60 votes needed to break a Democratic filibuster.Cruz told CNBC in an interview Wednesday that he expects to vote in favor of McConnell’s “more targeted relief bill.”Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who is a vulnerable Republican this election, announced Tuesday in a press release that he will support McConnell’s measure.GOP Sen. Rand Paul, the other senator from Kentucky, told CNN’s Manu Raju on Tuesday that he’s a “no” vote on the bill. Paul was the lone senator to vote against the first stimulus relief package Congress passed in March.