- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wants to brainstorm about cost-cutting at a partisan retreat.
- His goal is to hash out potential economic fixes in March and April in a difficult election year.
- “These are the issues that the American people need help with,” Schumer said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer laid out Democrats’ plan to slash drug prices, grocery bills, and global shipping fees before summer as the party looks for score points with weary voters in an election year marked with pandemic fatigue and economic malaise.
Schumer plans to devote the next few weeks to hashing out economic proposals several of his colleagues floated back in February as ways to ward off losing control of the narrowly divided chamber this fall. The proposals would also give vulnerable Democrats on the ballot in November like Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia talking points on the campaign trail.
Democrats are huddling all week to try and strategize their way out of losing power in November. President Joe Biden and various administration officials are scheduled to chat up Senate Democrats at their partisan retreat in Washington later this week, meet with Democratic National Committee members Thursday and Friday during their annual meeting, and close out by addressing House Democrats in Philadelphia at their out -of-town gathering.
Some of the issues Senate Democratic leaders are focused on, according to Schumer, including cutting prescription drug prices — specifically the life-saving
medication insulin — moderating gas prices by curbing supply manipulation by oil producers, and trimming shopping bills by addressing supply chain-fueled shortages and price-gouging. Gas prices this week reached record highs as the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict sparked talk of boycotting Russian oil.
Schumer on Tuesday mapped out some of the cost-cutting measures on his to-do list, layering the preview with jabs at Republican Sen. Rick Scott’s controversial “Rescue America” plan and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson’s plug for giving repealing Obamacare another go if the GOP reclaims the majority.
—Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) March 8, 2022
“I thank my Republican colleagues for helping us remind the American people which party truly stands in their corner,” Schumer said on the Senate floor after laying out plans to cap insulin costs at $35 a month and trimming the price of commercial meat available at local grocery stores.
“These are the issues that the American people need help with, and it is what Democrats will maintain a focus on,” Schumer said.
Schumer told colleagues earlier in the week that he planned to schedule hearings and markups on relevant proposals throughout March and April, starting with a panel on cutting prescription drug costs led by the Senate Finance Committee.
“Negotiations are underway with Senate Republicans” on containing insulin costs, curbing price hikes “due to industry manipulation” and combating unfair ocean shipping fees, he wrote in a letter to fellow Senate Democrats circulated March 7.
The balance of this week, however, will be devoted to passing a spending bill keeping the government up and running for the rest of the fiscal year — the current funding runs out Friday — and sending billions in aid to war-torn Ukraine.