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Chuck Schumer no longer interested in playing 3-card monte with Susan Collins

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The jig is up:

While Washington undergoes a much-needed spring thaw, Chuck Schumer and Susan Collins’ relationship is frostier than ever.

More than four months after Collins handily dispatched Schumer’s efforts to deny her a fifth term, the moderate Maine Republican and the Senate majority leader have no relationship to speak of. And that awkward dynamic could make problems for Schumer in the coming months if his narrow Democratic majority needs Collins’ vote.

For weeks Collins has questioned Schumer’s handling of coronavirus relief negotiations, and on Tuesday night Schumer fired back to blame Collins’ fiscal conservatism for exacerbating the last financial crisis. The New York Democrat said in a nationally televised interview that his party’s courtship of three GOP votes for its Obama-era stimulus bill shrunk the legislation too much: “We made a big mistake in 2009 and ’10. Susan Collins was part of that mistake.”

Collins was not pleased to be singled out in such a manner. In an interview, she called Schumer’s comments an “extraordinary” backhanding of his most natural ally across the aisle. And she said there’s been zero contact with the Democratic leader since the election: “He has not spoken to me, no.”

“Should we let Susan Collins make the bill substantially worse, or just go ahead and pass a better one” is not actually a hard question if those are the choices. And in terms of what this might mean going forward, I assume Schumer has also realized that, as his predecessor allegedly remarked, Collins “is always there for a vote you don’t need.”

Paul once pointed out that the Kavanaugh nomination seems to have radicalized a lot of once Trump-skeptical Republicans; I suspect it’s also one of the things that has compelled even relatively moderate Democrats to ignore Republican pleas to spend months and months negotiating before Susan Collins can announce that, in fact, her shop has no cheese at all and she was deliberately wasting your time.

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