Skip to main content

Charles Schumer
  U.S. Senate Sen. Minority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks  CSPAN  December 1, 2020 8:39am-8:54am EST

8:39 am
pass. we should negotiate that to the senate. that's a house democrat saying that the senate republican proposal is the template that can pass. rank-and-file democrats in both chambers are telling speaker pelosi and the democratic leader to stop stonewalling and move forward with the approach republicans have been urging for months. the american people need more help and they need it right now. right now. democratic leaders have already burned through three months, three months, and they didn't even get the political results that their cynical strategy was supposed to deliver. so, mr. president, let's hope our colleagues at the top of the democratic party can finally hear their own members and stop
8:40 am
blocking the commonsense multi-hundred billion dollars measure that republicans have been ready to deliver for months. >> now come first, all of my colleagues had a fine a fine thanksgiving we'll know that across the country we celebrated a thanksgiving, all of us, every american, unlike any in recent memory. too many loved ones spent this holiday alone unable to join with loved ones out of concern for their safety. as painful as it is to refrain from seeing family and friends, these are tough choices that we sometimes have to make it and we need to maintain a result more than ever while the hope of a vaccine shimmers on the near horizon, we're living through the worst stretch of the pandemic right now. last friday for the first time over 200,000 new cases of government were reported in ina single day. the united states is averaging over 1 million new cases a week.
8:41 am
some 20% of of all patients now hospitalized in the united states have covid-19. the worst andpa most unalterable part of this pandemic of course of the deaths. since november 10, america has been losing more than 1000 precious lives a day. on one date november 24 we lost more than 2000. the national death toll stands at a very sad 270,000 american souls. families all across the country are experiencing the unthinkable, unbearable losses of their loved ones. as a compassionate nation we cannot and must not ignore this terrible reality. we must not avert our gaze. we must acknowledge the lives we are losing. we must not -- parents, children, siblings and friends of the increasing number of americans who are dying from covid-19 every single s day.
8:42 am
and we must redouble our efforts to flatten the curve and protect each other by wearing masks come practicing social distancing and complying with the guidance of health officials. as this chamber gavels back into session we must redouble our efforts before the end of the calendar year. as the pandemic increases in severity so does the economic pain felt by countless working families and small business owners in a few short weeks federal provisions of the cares act including student loan forbearance, eviction moratoriums, jobless benefits for millions of workers will expire. so first and foremost on the senate to-do list is covid relief. both sides, both sides should come together and negotiate a covertly built in a bipartisan way. that meets the needs of our businesses, our schools, our healthcare systems, our workers, our families. at the start of this crisis democrats came together in a
8:43 am
flurry of negotiations i was involved with them with secretary mnuchin to pass the bill that truly met the moment. now we are about to reach a new more difficult stage of the crisis. we need to renew that spirit, that urgency, that bipartisanship. leader mcconnell's view just stayed a few minutes ago seems to be that the only things that should be in this bill are things republicans approve of, even if the needs of the country, the desperate needs of the countryon are beyond the sml list that republicans might support. and that is not real compromise. we need to come together, both sides must give. we have democratic house, and in the senate doesn't need for democratic votes to pass any bill. so we needed to bipartisan bill, not this is our bill, take it or leave it. that can bring usr together, can
8:44 am
solve the desperate needs of the american people which we all want to the second item on our to-do list is federal appropriations which expire in two weeks. as we speak appropriators from both sides of the relevant committees continue their negotiations. it's my hope and expectation that we can come to an agreement very soon. third and finally, congress should pass the annual defense bill. as a country prepares for a peaceful transfer o of power, te continuity of our national security is paramount. for nearly 60 years congress has never failed to pass the annual defense bill. but this year it seems normally uncontroversial legislation has hit a snag president trump has threatened to veto the bill over provision that would rename military bases and installations named after confederate military leaders, men who would render
8:45 am
this country andve have to preserve the institution of slavery, men who literally fought against this nation's military in pursuit of an ignoble cause. for that provision to rename our military bases to honor actual heroes rather than traitors tohe our country, president trump is pay raiseg to veto a for our troops. it seems republicans in congress are slow walking the bill in hopes of finding some way to appease the outgoing president rather than just passing the bill over his rather ridiculous objection. the provision to rename these installations was included in both the house and senate passed versions of the bill and a larger bill passed both chambers with broad bipartisan support. there's no reason to for the delay a pay raise for a military heroes, are living military heroes because president trump wants to honor dead confederate traitors. the other provision that is a
8:46 am
risk, shocked and from our republican colleagues, his and him and to assist veterans have long suffered from their exposure to agent orange in the vietnam war. the amendment passed this chamber with 94 votes in favor, and rare and near unanimous demonstration of bipartisan support. the trump administration's own va advisory panel recommended this policy to improve health care for these veterans. but for some reason our republican counterparts are now reportedly trying to strip it from any final agreement. would be an affront to a group of ailing veterans who suffer enough already to strip a provision that would help provide them adequate health and now on president-elect biden as nominees. as president-elect biden prepares to assume office on he is beginning to announce a slate of qualified, experienced public servants who he intends to nominate to his
8:47 am
cabinet or other key administrative positions. this morning theor president-elt announced he has assembled his court economic team led by another brooklyn native, janet yellen, will be the first woman to ever hold the title of treasury secretary. the president-elect economics to include has the experience, , te knowledge, the prowess to meet the seriousness of this moment. more than that they understand the needs of all americans because they represent all different kinds of americans. they will get to work not just on rebuilding our economy but striving to provide rater and more equitable prosperity to future generations. alongside the president it lacks people express national security team and his soon to be announced health team, his economic team will ensure that the incoming biden-harris r the ground running. everyone knows the senate plays a pivotal role in confirming a new presidents cabinet. in the t midst of this once in a
8:48 am
century crisis gets impaired next administration can count on the senate to confirm its cabinet without delay. so hearings on president-elect biden nominee should begin in january immediately after the georgia runoff elections. let me say that again. the senate should begin hearings on president-elect biden as nominees in january immediately after the georgia senate elections so that key cabinet officials can be confirmed on january 20 and soon thereafter which is traditional for new president. senate committees held hearings for president obama's nominees and president trump's in early january before the inauguration. majority of minority staff should begin preparation for those hearings as president-elect biden names his cabinet. now, president-elect biden is slate of intended nominees provides a a stark contrast toe caliber of nominees advanced by
8:49 am
the current trump administration over the past four years. the early days of the trump presidency were defined by high-level appointments of individuals who were manifestly unqualified, , plagued by ethicl complaints, or swimming and complex conflicts of interest. sometimes all three. at the time, republicans in the sand lined up to confirm president trump's appointments are doing a president deserves hiss. cabinet and broad deferene on his nominees. i would hope the same deference will be extent to president-elect biden nominees, especially considering the obvious gold in quality, experience,pe ethics. already, however, the republicans twisting themselves into pretzels to explain the reflexive opposition to the outstanding selections. neera tanden would be the first women of color to ever run the omb, office of management and budget, is so imminently qualified that some on the republican side grasping at
8:50 am
taken issue with comments made on twitter criticizing the policy positions of republicans in congress. honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. if republicans are concerned about criticism on twitter, the complaint are better directed at president trump who has made a hobby out of denigrating republican senators on twitter. i fully expect to see some crocodile tears spilled on the other side of the aisle over president elect cabinet nominees. but it will be very tough to take those crocodile tears seriously. our republican colleagues are on the record supporting some of the least qualified most unethical and downright federal nominees in recent memory. many defend the context of omb director previous omb director russell allowed foreign aid to be held up for political reasons
8:51 am
resulting in the president's impeachment. rightng now republicans in congress are looking the other way while president trump pardons a man who pled guilty to the fbi. so again it will be impossible to take these overblown complaints over president-elect widens nominees very seriously. given the urgent need to address covid-19 and its economic fallout, the senate should19 follow precedent and palpable hearings on president-elect biden as nominees in january immediately after the georgia elections, before inauguration. american people cannot afford to wait to have its government working at full force to keep them safe, defeat the virus and get our economy back on track. >> with coronavirus cases increasing across the country, use our website to follow
8:52 am
the trends, track the spread with interactive maps and watch updates on demand any time at tuesday treasury secretary steven mnuchin and federal reserve chair jerome powell are on capitol hill for a senate banking area on the coronavirus response. that is live at 10 a.m. eastern on c-span. at 3 p.m. a discussion on economic policy under the incoming biden administration from the brookings institution. on c-span2 the senate returns at 10 a.m. eastern to consider executive and judicial nominations. 12:30 p.m. president-elect joe joe biden introduces his economic personnel which includes the nominations of janet yellen as treasury secretary and neera tanden as white house budget director. >> you are watching c-span2,
8:53 am
your unfiltered view of government. created by america's cable-television companies as a public service and brought to you today by your television provider. >> next, hearing on ways to combat plastic pollution in the oceans. a senate appropriations subcommittee look at the economic and environmental consequences of pollution, waste management assistance for developing nations, and ways to support ocean conservation. >> senator leahy, sorry'm late. so then. d has arrived that we talking about plastics in the ocean. why are we having this hearing? so that senator sullivan and senator whitehouse will leave me alone. [laughing] >> highly meritorious reason. >> if we ever clean up classics in the ocean it will be because of these two folks, and senator pat leahy and i would be willing