Entries in Charles Schumer (13)


Sen. Charles Schumer: More than 50-50 Chance of Reaching Fiscal Cliff Deal

Win McNamee/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Sen. Charles Schumer, (D-N.Y.), called Congress’ failure to reach an agreement on a fiscal cliff deal “embarrassing,” but said he believed there was a better than 50-50 chance of a compromise before taxes rise on a majority of Americans.

Schumer said Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week” that he believes there is “a real possibility of a deal” in the final days before the New Year, as negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D-Nev.), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R- Ky.), continued over the weekend.

Asked by ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl what the odds of a deal were, he said they were “a little better” than 50-50.

“On these big, big agreements, they almost all happen at the last minute,” Schumer said. “So while an agreement is hardly a certainty, I certainly wouldn’t rule it out.”

The Republicans’ second highest ranking Senate member Sen. Jon Kyl, (R-Ariz.), agreed, emphasizing that not reaching an agreement would be “dire.”

“If we are not able to reach an agreement, it will be dire,” Kyl said. “And that’s from everybody from the Congressional Budget Office… to the Fed chairman, probably at least another million jobs lost, an unemployment rate over 9 percent, and putting us back into recession.”

“So responsible people on both sides of the aisle do need to try to come together, and there is a significant effort underway right now,” Kyl added.

Schumer said it was “embarrassing” that a deal had yet to be reached with less than two days before the fiscal cliff, but said the Senate has shown signs of compromise.

“It is embarrassing, but almost every disagreement we’ve had is not because of the Senate where we’ve had lots of – you know, we’ve come to agreement on many things.”

Schumer instead blamed House Republicans for resisting compromise on a final deal.

“There are 50 hard right people in the House who don’t want to compromise. They don’t believe in any revenues, they say compromise is a dirty word. And Speaker [John] Boehner just as recently as last week played their tune,” Schumer said. ”You cannot make a deal if you’re going to let the people who are hardest right and uncompromising dictate what we should do.”

But Kyl rejected Schumer’s suggestion that House Republicans are to blame for the failure to get a deal.

“If the Democrats and Mr. Obama in particular don’t get more seriously into that discussion, they have no standing to complain about the Republicans’ lack of balance,” Kyl said. “This is not just a problem with the House. The House passed legislation that would avert the fiscal cliff, both on the sequestration side and on the tax rate side. They’ve already acted.”

Kyl said that Republican support for a deal would depend on President Obama’s considering raising the level of income that would not face a tax increase beyond the current $250,000 level insisted on by the White House.

“And I think a lot of that depends upon whether President Obama is willing to compromise this sort of fixation with raising taxes above anybody making more than $200,000 [sic] a year,” Kyl said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Schumer Proposes New, Broad Plan to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Calling it the best shot at avoiding going over the fiscal cliff come Jan. 1, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Tuesday suggested tossing aside a tax reform compromise currently being negotiated on Capitol Hill in favor of less sweeping reforms and shifting more tax burden to the wealthy ahead of the so-called “taxmageddon” at the end of the year.

In a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Schumer shot down the plan that is currently being negotiated by small groups of lawmakers behind closed doors. That plan embraces the tax reform model of lowering tax rates for all and closing loopholes. Tax rates would be lowered, but with fewer tax loopholes or deductions the amount of tax people pay probably would not go down under this type of scenario. Everyone from the president’s fiscal commission -- more commonly known as the Bowles-Simpson commission --  to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney have championed some version of this type of “lower the rates, broaden the base” reform. But Schumer said Tuesday the version being negotiated on Capitol Hill needs to be flat-out scrapped.

“The old style of tax reform is obsolete in a 2012 world,” Schumer, the third ranking Democrat in the Senate said Friday. He pointed to that plan’s lineage in the Reagan administration and Democratic Congress of 1986 and said, “It doesn’t fit the times because there are two new conditions that didn’t exist in 1986 but are staring us in the face today: first, a much larger, much more dangerous deficit; and second, a dramatic increase in income inequality.”

Schumer argued that a starting point of trying to lower top income tax rates is what has “messed up” two years of deficit reduction talks with little to show by way of progress or a plan. He called the idea of a tax code overhaul as “little more than happy talk.”

He called on a plan centered around three principles -- curtailing tax expenditures focused on top income earners, returning to a Clinton-era top rate, and reducing but not eliminating the tax preference for investment income.

Schumer advocated for raising rates for the wealthy, for the preservation of tax breaks for the middle class and urged Democrats to get behind a deal on entitlement reform.

“Democrats will never sign on to a shredding of the safety net because it isn’t necessary to change the fundamental way Medicare works,” Schumer said. “But we can find ways to reduce Medicare costs by hundreds of billions of dollars. That is tough medicine but still preserves the safety net. So that’s how a grand bargain can be had: Republicans get entitlement reform, Democrats get revenue from the higher-income people.”

Congress is under the gun for the post-election lame duck session of Congress, facing a year-end intersection of the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, the $1.2 trillion in spending cuts Congress imposed on itself when it failed to come up with a deficit reduction plan, and expiring payroll tax breaks.  If Congress and the president do not act, American taxpayers could be faced with $310 billion in tax increases next year.

For many Republicans Schumer’s proposal Tuesday is a non-starter.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Schumer’s proposal “Thelma and Louise economics.”

“Senior Democrats are now openly acknowledging their plan to hold the economy hostage to massive, job-killing tax hikes, and espousing the fiscally irresponsible view that says the country should be driven off the fiscal cliff rather than Congress working toward bipartisan solutions to reform and strengthen entitlements without killing jobs,” said McConnell in a paper statement.

When asked, Schumer himself seemed unsure of the Democratic support for his plan in Congress even though he’s had conversation with the Gang of Six, the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“So I’ve talked to a whole bunch of people about this, but I haven’t asked them for a green light to go forward or a sign-off,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sen. Charles Schumer Says Focus on Middle Class Will Propel Dems to November Victory

Win McNamee/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer says that the Democratic Party’s focus on the middle class will result in victory up and down the ticket in the November election, but that it was up to President Obama to “seal that deal” Thursday night during his speech at the Democratic National Convention.

ABC News’ senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl interviewed Schumer on ABC News/Yahoo News’ DNC show in Charlotte, N.C. Thursday evening.

“Middle-class people, I think they realize that [Mitt] Romney is not for them because of his narrowness, but they want to make sure that Barack Obama is focused on them with things that will make a difference,” said Schumer, D-N.Y. “They know he tried, but they also know that it didn’t do as well as [Obama or his supporters] would have liked. Some of that is because of obstructionism among Republicans, but they want to make sure that it isn’t simply because he doesn’t have good ideas for the future.”

Schumer predicted that Obama will defeat Mitt Romney “by more than people think” this fall.

“I’d say at least two percent [on the popular vote]. More than people think,” Schumer predicted. “Electorally, he’ll do better than the popular vote because where he’ll go down in the popular vote is the anger at him in the red states.”

Asked whether he sees Democrats losing any seats in the Senate, the New York Democrat was bullish, predicting that there will not be a shift in the balance of the upper chamber, where Democrats currently hold a 53-47 seat advantage over Republicans.

“We’re going to keep about 53 seats,” Schumer said. “We’re doing so much better in places that people never imagined. Nevada, North Dakota, New Mexico, Montana, Missouri. It’s going much better than we ever imagined.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Differences Persist in Congress’ Struggle to Extend Student Loan Rate

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The top congressional leadership was out in full force on Thursday as leaders from both political parties in both chambers of Congress promoted the position of their respective caucuses in the latest battle over congressional funding on Capitol Hill.

At issue is finding an amicable way to pay for or offset the costs of extending the current student loan interest rate of 3.4 percent, rather than permitting the rate to double on July 1 to 6.8 percent.

Republicans and Democrats have both proposed alternative methods to cover the cost of the extension and, judging by their comments on Thursday, a huge gulf remains between the two parties.  While House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced on Wednesday that the House would vote Friday on a one-year extension that is paid for by pulling funds from the president’s health care law, Democrats prefer to raise taxes on small businesses in order to cover the $6 billion expense.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he was “very disappointed” in Boehner’s plan to hold a vote on the GOP’s bill Friday, telling reporters that covering the cost by pulling from preventive health care funds “doesn’t sound like a very good deal to me.”

“We simply want to renew this, and it’s the right thing to do.  This affects seven million students.  They’ll get an average of about $1,000 a year increase in their interest and that’s a lot [for those] struggling to get through school,” Reid told reporters Thursday on Capitol Hill.  “We believe there’s an easy solution.  We can pay for this with a tax that people who make a lot of money have been avoiding for a long time by changing from ordinary income, they put this into sub-chapter S and avoid taxes.”

New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, the number three ranked Democrat in the Senate, said that the House’s way of paying for the rate is a “poison pill” that stands no chance of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate.

“If it’s true Republicans support stopping the rate hike, they have a weird way of showing it.  In the House, the proposal they’re advancing has a poison pill attached to it,” Schumer said.  “Their offset is a partisan proposal that tries to refight the debate over the president’s health care law.  That’s not a serious attempt to pass this student loan bill.”

Schumer complained that Republicans are attempting to force Democrats to “choose between helping students afford college tuition or forcing women to go without mammograms.”

“They want to give to the middle class, but only when they take from the middle class and that’s because they don’t want to touch their true constituency, the wealthiest people in America who at every turn they try to make their lives even better,” he said.  “They’re not the people who need help in America.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Schumer: GOP’s Aversion to Tax Hikes Could Doom Super Committee

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate’s No. 3 Democrat says that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is unlikely to succeed because of a deadlock over Republican opposition to tax revenues.

With the 12-member bipartisan committee’s Nov. 23 deadline looming, Sen. Charles Schumer, the Democrats’ primary messenger as the Senate Democratic Policy Chair, told MSNBC’s Morning Joe that the super committee would likely fail to strike an agreement on a plan to slice $1.5 trillion from the deficit over the next 10 years “because our Republican colleagues have said no net revenues.”

“The American people are beginning to sniff this,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said. “They’re beginning to sniff that the other side has dug in and is not compromising.”

In an email titled, “What’s Sen. Schumer Sniffin’?” Michael Steel, press secretary for House Speaker John Boehner, disagreed with Schumer’s contention that Republicans oppose all new revenues.

“That is not correct,” Steel challenged. “Despite Senator Schumer’s ideological addiction to tax hikes, Republicans are working to find an agreement that works. So, while we oppose tax hikes (because tax hikes destroy jobs—as even President Obama has acknowledged), Republicans, including Speaker Boehner, have been clear that they are not opposed to increased revenue as a result of tax reforms that lead to economic growth.”

Steel pointed to a quote from Boehner’s interview Sunday on ABC’s This Week with Christian Amanpour to prove the GOP is open to a deficit deal that includes new revenues.

“I believe that if we restructure our tax code, where on the corporate side and the personal side, the target would be a top rate of 25 percent, it would make our economy more competitive with the rest of the world,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told Amanpour. “It would put Americans back to work. We’d have a broader base on the tax rules, and out of that there would be real economic growth and more revenues for the federal government.”

Boehner has said that the Democrats’ proposal for $1.3 trillion is not reasonable, although he has declined to enumerate a dollar figure that might be more amicable for Republicans.

During the speaker’s negotiations last summer with President Obama on a so-called “Grand Bargain,” Boehner had reportedly agreed to about $800 billion in new revenues as long as they were accompanied by fundamental reforms to entitlement programs. When the president pushed for another $400 billion in tax revenue, Boehner walked away from the talks.

The super committee continues to meet on a daily basis as its deadline to agree to a proposal to cut $1.5 trillion from the deficit over the next decade. Congress then has until Dec. 23 to pass the deal through both Houses of Congress. If a deal is not reached, $1.2 trillion in deficit savings split between Medicare and defense spending would be enacted through a sequestration mechanism.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Senate Dems Blast Boehner's Revised Bill as 'Absurd'

Speaker John Boehner arrives to a meeting of the House republican caucus in the Capitol on July 29th (Tom Williams/Roll Call)(WASHINGTON) -- After meeting with his caucus Friday for nearly two hours, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, D-NV., declared , “the only compromise that there is -- is mine” and blasted the latest bill from House Speaker John Boehner that is expected to be voted on in the House on Friday.

“It’s being jammed through that with all kinds of nontransparent dealings,” Reid said to reporters at the Ohio Clock on Friday. “They've basically given the right wing even more than what they had before.”

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY., called the revised Boehner plan an “absurd proposition.”

“To get his conservatives back on the reservation at this point, he's adding all kinds of poison pills to his plan,” Schumer said. “His new plan requiring that each house of Congress not vote on, but pass, a balanced budget amendment before any debt ceiling is raised will guarantee a default.”

Reid said that his door is still open to McConnell to sit down and negotiate -- and that he already has some Republican ideas that he wants to add in to make it more acceptable when he files cloture on his offer. The Majority Leader added that he has not taken his eyes off the McConnell fall back proposal, a hint that the final product could very well include elements of McConnell’s “last choice” option.

But Democratic leadership and, Reid says, his whole caucus, is remaining firm: “there will be no agreement if it’s a short-term extension.”

“We hope a deal can be had by day's end, but if not, Senator Reid is right to move ahead with his plan, which already is a compromise,” Schumer said Friday. “This would set up a vote just after midnight on Saturday night. That vote will be the vote to avert default. A ‘yes’ vote is a vote to be responsible. A ‘no’ vote will be a vote for economic catastrophe.”

Schumer said that the proverbial ball is in Sen. Mitch McConnell’s court.

“Leader McConnell has kept a low profile in recent days out of loyalty to Speaker Boehner, but he now needs to step up and help move the process forward. The time for providing cover for the Speaker is over. A nation hangs in the balance. We need Senator McConnell to become engaged. The ball is in his court and only in his court.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Schumer: Cantor’s Debt Ceiling Proposal Immoral

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The fierce rhetoric on the Senate floor Tuesday continued with Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY., who pointed a finger at the Republicans for being “dragged so far to the right by its ideological fringe,” that they are not able to get actually compromise to get a deal to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

“They would sooner end Medicare as we know it than ask millionaires and billionaires to pay a little more in taxes,” Schumer said, quipping that House Speaker Boehner “balked” at a Grand Bargain because of pressure from within his own party. “That's the nub of it. They would sooner end Medicare as we know it than ask millionaires and billionaires to pay a little more in taxes.”

Intentionally highlighting the divide between Republicans Cantor and Boehner, Schumer added that it seems that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor “is now the leader of these negotiations for the Republicans” after it was reported he did the plurality of talking on the Republican side at the White House debt meetings Monday.

Schumer called House Majority Leader Cantor’s proposal, made at the White House on Monday, which outlines $353 billion in health care cuts, with $250 billion in reductions in Medicare “troubling.”

“This approach is not balanced, it's not fair, it's not moral, and it will not be accepted. The proposal by Leader Cantor is very troubling.”

He repeated that an agreement “cannot be considered bold or comprehensive” unless it asks “millionaires, billionaires and wealthy corporations to contribute to deficit reduction.”

Schumer warned that time is running out to cut a deal with enough time before the Aug. 2 deadline for action set by the administration.

“This is crunch time. The clock is ticking” he said, “if we don't reach an agreement in the next few weeks, we risk roiling the financial markets and our nation's fragile economy will suffer a serious setback.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


On Medicare, Senate Dems Say They Won’t Accept a 'Mini' Ryan Plan

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate Democratic leadership came out Tuesday and reaffirmed that Medicare cuts should not be on the table during the debt ceiling discussions.

“Seniors can't afford it,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said following Tuesday’s policy luncheons. “The vast majority of the American people, including most Republicans, do not support changing Medicare as we know it, that piece of legislation that came from the House.”

“That” piece of legislation would be the Paul Ryan plan, “The Path to Prosperity,” which cuts the budget deficit by roughly $5 trillion over the next 10 years.

The Ryan plan completely overturns the new healthcare law and proposes a major reform to Medicaid and Medicare. Medicaid would switch to a block grant system, meaning the federal government would allocate money to states, giving them more flexibility in how they tailor their programs for the poor. Currently, the federal government matches every dollar that states spend on Medicaid, and the formula varies from state to state.

On Tuesday, Senator Schumer, D-N.Y., said it is not acceptable to Democrats to even accept a “mini” Ryan plan.

“The Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it must be taken off the table, but Republicans should know that we will not support any mini version plan of ‘Ryan’ either,” Schumer said. “We want to make our position on Medicare perfectly clear.  No matter what we do in these debt-limit talks, we must preserve the program in its current form, and we will not allow cuts to seniors' benefits."

Schumer said that does not mean that Democrats do not want to do anything about Medicare -- he said they will continue to look for waste, fraud, duplication and inefficiency in the system to find savings.

On Tuesday, the Republicans, after their own policy luncheon, said that Democrats are using “scare-tactics and half truths” to try to “scare seniors” about Medicare “and use half-truths about our efforts as Republicans to give people more choices when it comes to Medicare and help strengthen and secure Medicare, not just for those currently on Medicare, but for future generations.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Schumer to ABC News: Boehner 'Will Look Awful' If Gov't Shuts Down

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- With a government shutdown looming, the blame game is in full swing. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., tells ABC News that while a shutdown would be “bad for everybody,” the public will judge House Speaker John Boehner as the main reason why it’s happening.

“I think they're understanding that Speaker Boehner's unwillingness to deviate from these ideological riders because the Tea Party has him sort of as almost a hostage -- they'll understand that,” Schumer said.

Of Boehner’s statement this week to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that “there’s no daylight between the Tea Party and me,” Schumer said, “I wouldn't have said that if I were him.  Tea Party is not so popular in the U.S.”

Whether or not there’s a shutdown, he said, “really depends on one man:  John Boehner. He's caught between a rock and a hard place. The rock are the Tea Party hard-line Congress members. … But the other direction is he's the head of the Republican Party. And he knows if a shutdown occurs – and if it occurs because of these non-ideological riders like women's health -- he will look awful.”

“So he's stuck between a rock and a hard place. And if you wanted to get a bird's eye view of what's happening, you should be inside Speaker Boehner's brain. That's the only way to tell what's going to happen.”

Schumer asserted that Boehner offered President Obama a firm number for budget cuts – suggesting an agreement that Boehner and his staff say does not exist.

“At the White House last night, Speaker Boehner offered a number: $78 billion -- $78 billion in cuts. The president said we'll take that. And they spent all the rest of the time on the riders. The issue is not spending, but I understand where Speaker Boehner is. If everyone knew it was these riders he'd be in real trouble because no one thinks these riders belong on this bill. And so if it's really spending he should get up and pledge right now, 'I will take the riders off.' ”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sen. Schumer Stands by Comments, Says Tea Party 'Extreme'

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., doesn't regret reporters overhearing him telling Democratic colleagues that Republican budget cuts should be painted as "extreme."

Schumer on Sunday stood by the remarks he made when he was apparently unaware that his microphone was open to reporters on a conference call last week.

"I have no problem with reporters hearing that," Schumer told ABC News. "I said a few hours before [the call] on the floor of the Senate. I've said it on this show. The Tea Party is the group standing in the way. They are extreme," he insisted.

"Any group that says you don't cut oil subsidies to companies making billions and billions of dollars – subsidies that were passed when the price of oil was $17 to encourage production, and now the price is over one-hundred [dollars], and at the same time says: cut student aid to help qualified students go to college. Yeah, I believe they're extreme."

On the conference call Schumer said, "I always use the word extreme, that is what the caucus instructed me to do the other week -- extreme cuts and all these riders. And, uh, Boehner's in a box. But if he supports the Tea Party there's going to inevitably [be] a [government] shutdown."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio