WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Democrats and Republicans in Congress remain deeply divided. Tensions continued to flare Tuesday and Wednesday after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an interview Tuesday that it was a “mistake” Democrats worked with Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins in 2009 on President Barack Obama’s stimulus package.
Schumer’s comments came after Cooper asked him whether he could have done more to win Republican votes like Collins’ on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package.
"No, you know, we made a big mistake in 2009 and 2010," Schumer said. "Susan Collins was part of that mistake. We cut back on the stimulus dramatically and we stayed in recession for five years. What was offered by the Republicans was so far away from what’s needed, so far away from what Biden proposed that he thought that they were not being serious and wanting to really negotiate."
On Wednesday, Collins fired back.
Collins told NBC News on Wednesday that she thought Schumer’s comments were “bizarre,” noting she was one of three Republicans who supported Obama’s $787 billion package to address the financial crisis.
“He voted for the same package that I did,” Collins said. "So, for Chuck Schumer, who was intimately involved in the negotiations as the assistant leader, to somehow criticize me for taking the same position that he did, is simply bizarre. And I think it reflects regrettably his inability to accept the fact that despite pouring $100 million into defeating me, the people of Maine said no."
Biden’s stimulus package passed in the Senate over the weekend on a 50-49 party-line vote. Collins voted against the package.
During the amendment process, Collins introduced an alternative, smaller package, but it was ultimately voted down.
“Regrettably, there was no interest from Democratic Leadership in negotiating a targeted, bipartisan relief package that meets the challenges at hand,” Collins said in a statement after her vote. “Instead, Democrats chose to ram through a partisan bill using a partisan process. The only thing bipartisan about this package was the opposition in the House.”
On Wednesday when NBC News asked Collins if she’ll continue working with the Biden administration, Collins said, "I look forward to continuing to work with this administration, and I just hope that Senator Schumer does not continue to be an obstacle to bipartisanship. That's what the people of this country want to see."