WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Tuesday slammed President Donald Trump’s new blueprint to ramp up coronavirus testing, saying that it lacked details about how states should implement the plan.
“You know the report they issued yesterday? It was pathetic. It didn't have any details. And then at the end, it said let the states do it,” Schumer said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Schumer said that he plans to send a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to push for oversight hearings when the Senate reconvenes at the Capitol next week in which committees could call members of the White House coronavirus task force and Trump administration as witnesses.
“No one in the administration has given an answer specifically as to how the states should do it and that's one of the reasons I think we need to get the hearings,” Schumer said Tuesday.
He said he’d like to hear testimony from White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx; Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza.
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Trump announced a new federal blueprint Monday to help governors expand testing capacity in their states. The president said that the federal government and private sector would assist state, local and tribal governments in executing the plan.
Schumer expressed frustration that Trump has not used the Defense Production Act to appoint a czar in charge of disseminating critical supplies in the coronavirus response, like testing kits.
“There will be no way to ramp up and get the number of tests, and the auxiliary things like the swabs that we need unless the federal government takes over,” said Schumer, who added that, “Other countries are way ahead of us.”
Addressing Trump directly, Schumer said, “Mr. President Trump, Donald Trump, you're hurting the recovery you want so badly, by not having the tests. The best way to recover quickly is testing, testing, testing.”