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tv   Senate Majority Leader Schumer Holds News Conference  CSPAN  August 11, 2021 10:42pm-11:03pm EDT

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>> the one point $2 trillion infrastructure deal and the budget. he spoke about the passage of the infrastructure bill and the budget resolution as well as answering questions on the debt ceiling and voting rights. >> [indistinct chatter] >> good morning. >> good morning.
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>> nice socks, senator. >> you have been noticing. the bonus on the you and i have a pink shirt so you get the first question. sorry. how many of you, raise your hands if you got six hours of sleep? five? four? three? ok. all right. anyway, i hope everyone got some sleep. i got a little bit, not as much as i would like. but good. so this was one of the most significant legislative days we have had in a long time in the united states senate. but we still have a long road to travel. it is as if we caught a nice long pass at midfield but we still have 50 yards to go before we score a touchdown. but it is still good to make that pass and make that advance.
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what we saw yesterday is simple, that elections matter. the american people's votes matter, and democrats are working hard to keep the promises made to the american people when we won the majority. earlier this year, as you know, we passed the american rescue plan, which helped put checks in people's pockets, shots in people's arms, save small businesses and our economy. now, we are going from rescue to recovery. to make the economy, to make the american people's lives better than it was before covid, because they were so many structural problems in our economy and they became a sourness in the land we very much want to remove. the two track strategy, which i outlined earlier this year, is moving full steam ahead. when i first said we were going to pass both the bipartisan
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infrastructure bill and the budget resolution before we broke for the august recess, many said it was an impossible task. but democrats in the senate are determined, fiercely determined to move president biden's build back better agenda forward. sometimes it took a little prodding. it took working weekends, lake -- late nights. quote your motions. but we kept working at it, i kept prodding bipartisan groups to go forward, pushing them when they needed pushing, giving them more time and breathing space when they needed more time and breathing space, and that bill passed yesterday. but now, we have to keep working at it, and i am pleased to report the two-track strategy is right on track. as i said first we passed the bipartisan infrastructure package with all 50 democrats
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and 19 republicans. every democrat voted for both the bipartisan bill and the resolution, the budget resolution. every democrat voted for both. and the first bill, the bipartisan bill was a long overdue step to revitalize america's infrastructure and give our workers, businesses, our economies the tools to succeed in the 21st century. the bipartisan infrastructure bill will put america on track to lead the 21st century in both productivity and job creation for decades to come. while the bipartisan infrastructure bill is a very significant bill, my entire caucus agrees there is much more that needs to be done. so on the second track, we passed a robust budget resolution that will grow the middle class in the 21st century
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and give more americans a chance to get into the middle class, keep those in the middle class and assure they are going to stay there. they are worried. help those trying to climb the ladder to get into the middle class get there more easily. that is my goal and frankly, that is my passion. that is what motivates me in working as hard as i can to get this going forward. the democratic budget resolution is transformational, probably the most significant single piece of legislation we have seen certainly in decades, and bernie sanders thinks since rose -- sinks -- thinks since roosevelt, and he is pushing for big change. it will cut taxes, lower costs for the american people, create good paying jobs, invest in our future while tackling the climate change crisis. it is big, bold, strong, and it will be paid for by making our
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tax code more progressive and more fair without raising taxes on working families and small businesses. by asking corporations and the wealthy to pay their share. it boils the average american 's blood when they see multibillionaire is paying virtually no taxes. that was done by the republicans under donald trump. it was reported that you had a greater chance of being audited if you made $40,000 per year then if you made $40 million per year because they decided to go after the cheaters of the earned income tax credit. that is where the republican party is these days, with the wealthy and powerful and right wing who doesn't want to see government help the people at all. so the job, make it easier for the middle class americans to stay in the middle class and build ladders into the middle class for hard-working people. and let me say something about this. this is my gut, for the last 20
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years there has been a sourness in the land. the american character has always been for centuries a bright, sunny, optimistic character. the american dream, very simple, it says the average american would say it means if i work hard i will be doing better 10 years from now than i am doing today and my kids will be doing still better than me. that faded. it created a sourness in the land and in my judgment elected a man that had such awful values and was so divisive as donald trump. the mission is to not allow that to happen again. the way to do that is restore the american dream and give middle-class americans, poor americans, hope for the future. they do not expect us to snap our fingers and get it done at once, but they sure expect us to give them some hope and some progress, and that is what we are trying to do with both bills.
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so the -- let me say what we are doing here is not easy. we have labored for months and months to reach this point, and we have no illusions, may be the hardest work is yet to come, but we are united in a desire to get it done. so far, so good. and i think my entire caucus can say with absolute certainty that it is worth doing and i believe we will get the job done. last night, i convened a meeting with the chairs of the committees tasked with crafting the reconciliation bill and i gave them a deadline of producing a bill that can be presented to the full caucus and passed in the senate as soon as possible. every committee chair will be meeting at least on a weekly basis, may be more often with their members. we will do weekly zooms with them as well. we will be working very hard in the next few weeks and months , frankly, to get that
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reconciliation bill ready in september. that is a hard job. such a large, important bill, but we will roll up our sleeves and work to get it done. before i take your questions, i just want to close on voting rights. i don't know how many of you are up when we did that there. yesterday morning, you saw what it was like when the senate comes together in bipartisan way to pass legislation. this morning, early this morning at 4:00 a.m., we saw what it looks like when the senate refuses to come together, even on simple things that the american people overwhelmingly support on voting. republicans, once again, obstructed even debating voting rights legislation in the senate. let me be clear, republicans refusing to support anything on voting rights is not an excuse for democrats to do nothing. in recent weeks, as recently as yesterday, we had a meeting of
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nine senators, myself and four of the more progressive senators, warnock, merkley, char, and for dia, and and four of the more moderate senators, senator manchin, senator kaine, and king. and we are making great progress to come together with a very strong voting rights bill that every democrat can support. so we are going to come up with that legislation, we are going to rally around it, and this morning, i followed on a vehicle -- filed cloture on a vehicle to allow the senate to take up that voting rights bill when we return. voting rights will be the very first matter of legislative business when the senate returns to session in september. ready for your questions. mr. pink shirt. >> senator mcconnell says this to me yesterday, they have the house and senate and presidency this year.
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the obligation to govern is to raise the debt ceiling. your reaction to that and this morning's vote on the budget you ruled out -- have you used to -- ruled out using reconciliation? sen. schumer: let me just say this, i cannot believe the republicans would let the country default, and it has always been bipartisan to deal with the debt ceiling. when trump was president, i believe the democrats joined with him to raise it three times. i cannot believe republicans would let us default. as for reconciliation, the white house and janet yellen, they preferred it be done outside of reconciliation to keep it bipartisan, to stop making this partisan because it is fraught with peril. mitch mcconnell seems to want to do that. i do not think he will succeed. second, because reconciliation limits what you can do there and doing it outside gives you more flexibility.
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yes? >> on voting rights. we have heard you say failure not an option and everything on the table. when you come back in september, [indiscernible] a path of what this will look like? sen. schumer: we have made progress and we are showing very clearly to everyone of our 50 senators that republicans will not join us. yet the importance of voting rights, if anything has strengthened in the mind of everybody, everybody, and senator manchin put down a proposal back in june. it had not everything i would want, but many of the things i want. we are making good progress and we will keep at it. it is so important. yes? >> what do you say to activists who say what democrats is doing is not enough, they need a lotto [indiscernible] sen. schumer: i would say we are
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going to keep at it, and as i said before, everything is on the table. yes? >> >> senator manchin put out a statement saying he is concerned about the price tag of the reconciliation bill. how do you navigate his concerns and the $2.5 -- $2.5 trillion package? sen. schumer: there are some in my caucus who believe it is too much and some believe it is too little. the original bill sender -- senator sanders put in was $6 trillion. i supported that. i can tell you this. in reconciliation, one, we are going to all come together to get something done, and two, it will have every part of the biden plan in a big, bold robust way. you can follow up. >> are you open to lowering the price tag or are you firm on
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$3.5 trillion? sen. schumer: as i said, every part of biden's proposal will be there in a big, robust way. there are some members that one that -- that want less, and some members that want more. same in the house. we will all come together to meet that goal. >> do you support an exception on voting rights and [indiscernible] sen. schumer: everything is on the table. >> last night [indiscernible] messaging amendments, including [indiscernible] sen. schumer: not on voting rights, on reconciliation. >> they put forward a lot of these messaging amendments. were any of the votes concerning to you, putting the members in a vulnerable position? sen. schumer: we go through vote around all the time and it has no effect on the bill. when you compare the amazing breadth and depth and strength of the $3.5 trillion we passed, this is a small little thing that means nothing. in the back in the red dress.
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>> was yesterday morning the last you have seen [indiscernible] sen. schumer: i hope not. i always try to do bipartisan stuff when we can and the senate has done far more bipartisan stuff than ever when mcconnell was there. my moderate members know that, appreciate it and have thanked me for it. for instance, before we had the infrastructure bill, which, we had to push and prod and i was instrumental in trying to make sure it got done. that is what the gang of five says, our five democrats. we had you seek a, -- useca, took three weeks, bipartisan. we had the asian crimes bill, bipartisan. the water bill, bipartisan. we had the transport bill, bipartisan. we have had more amendments this year, skipping voterama, we have -- which is an exercise into itself, way out there, we have had more events in months then mcconnell often had in years.
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yes? >> in terms of paying for the plan, the hopes that tax increases on the ultra-wealthy and corporations, will that cover it? sen. schumer: yes. some are worried about inflation. if you talk to the leading economists, they way to deal with that is to make sure you pay for it. we intend to pay for it, and we intend to pay for it sticking with biden's rules, by closing loopholes and having the wealthy and the big corporations finally, finally, finally pay their fair sure -- their fair share. >> in reconciliation, in many ways [indiscernible] you said so yourself when you looked at the climate coming from those who doubt, and you look at the challenges ahead with senator sinema and senator manchin, what is your plan and
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do you have a deadline? sen. schumer: well, first i would say, so many people were dubious we could get anything done, including many in this room. can't get the aarp done, can't get the president's cabinet done in time, never will this to track strategy, it will be put -- impossible for it to succeed. so far so good. how come? i try and i think our caucus tries to show respect for every member. we have a diverse caucus. we have bernie sanders, joe manchin, and everybody in between. and we show respect. we don't belittle or denigrate or anything. but second and most important, every member of our caucus realizes unity is our strength. with 50 boats, at a time when republicans on too many issues refused to cooperate at all, as you saw last night, we all need to be unified. and everyone knows that. so that does not mean people don't fight for their beliefs
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but at the end of the day, we have to come together. thus far, we have. is it going to be easy on reconciliation? absolutely not. but if past this prologue, wewe. a good decent chance. i told you i want to get the reconciliation bill done on september 15. we will see will remove after that. thank you, everybody. that is it. talk to cory booker. ♪
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