(CNN)Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday failed to pass a resolution by unanimous consent that called for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to immediately release its guidance on reopening the economy.
The Democrat from New York argued that President Donald Trump’s administration “simply cannot be trusted to tell the truth about the coronavirus” and “Americans need and must have the candid guidance of our best scientists, unfiltered, unedited and uncensored by President Trump,” in order to reopen the country as safely as possible amid the pandemic.
“The President is not a scientist … it has become painfully clear over the last two months how unfamiliar he is with the disciplines of science and medicine,” Schumer said. “Anyone who would say drink bleach, use bleach to protect yourself is not much of a medical expert.”
Any individual senator can block a measure seeking to advance by unanimous consent, and Sen. Mike Braun, a Republican from Indiana, objected to the resolution Wednesday. He argued Schumer is just trying to add “bureaucratic hurdles” to “shutter the economy” using the CDC’s “over prescriptive guidelines.”
The Trump administration will not implement the CDC’s 17-page draft recommendation for reopening America, a senior CDC official confirmed to CNN Thursday. The guidance provided more detailed suggestions beyond the reopening guidelines the administration had put forth last month, including specific suggestions for schools and churches. Trump in recent days has emphasized the need to quickly reopen the American economy despite public health officials’ urgings for a more cautious approach.
Schumer said Wednesday that the Trump administration “blocked” the CDC from releasing a guidance last week to safely reopen the country, “reportedly so the President and his political appointees can make changes to it.”
“In order to make these decisions wisely, the country needs guidance,” Schumer said in a floor speech. Adding, “These literally are matters of life and of death. And that’s exactly why the CDC prepared this guidance.”
Schumer said the CDC report includes “detailed information and flowcharts” to help guide state and local governments as well as businesses, schools, and religious institutions through reopening, without “causing undue risk to public health” or “further spread of Covid.”
An administration official told CNN last week that CDC leadership had not seen the draft document before it was leaked, and there were two concerns when it reached the task force. It was “overly prescriptive” because “guidance in rural Tennessee shouldn’t be the same guidance for urban New York City,” and the recommendations in the document did not fit the “phases” that had already been outlined by the task force.
CNN’s Lauren Fox, Ted Barrett, Nick Valencia, Betsy Klein, Kevin Liptak and Joe Johns contributed to this report.