Schumer Floor Remarks On The Need To Examine The Facts In The House Impeachment Inquiry And Lamenting President Trump’s Refusal To Do Anything to Pass Major Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation

November 19, 2019

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor urging Republicans to stop smearing witnesses without evidence or substantiation and instead commit to examining the facts in the House impeachment inquiry. Senator Schumer also called out President Trump for his refusal to work with Democrats on major, bipartisan infrastructure legislation. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here.

Now, this morning, the American people will hear more important testimony in the House impeachment inquiry: from Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman of the National Security Council and from Jennifer Williams, an advisor to the vice president.

Regrettably, some Republicans, including one in this chamber, have tried, without evidence or substantiation, to undermine, to call into question, to smear the credibility of the witnesses, including Lt. Col. Vindman, a Purple Heart recipient who has spent his life in service to our country. The attacks on the witnesses are painful and wrong. They’re reminiscent of a brutal country, not the democratic republic that we are.

I hope everyone will treat these witnesses with respect and listen to their testimony with an open mind. It is unbecoming of any Senator, to smear these patriots, whether they agree or disagree with their testimony. The House has a responsibility to seek the truth and uncover all of the facts.  And if it comes to it, the Senate has a responsibility to examine the evidence and render impartial judgment.

Finally on infrastructure. As the impeachment inquiry continues, Democrats in both chambers continue to do the work of the American people. Just last week, my colleagues in the House discussed a proposal for a very significant investment in infrastructure. Senate Democrats, at the very beginning of the Trump administration, proposed a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan that would create 15 million jobs. At our meeting in the White House, I mentioned this to President Trump and asked him to join us in either supporting our bill or working to modify it in way that he might be able to support it. 

At the time, we had hoped that President Trump, after promising over and over again in his campaign that he would pursue a major overhaul of our nation’s infrastructure, would work with us on specific legislation.

But unfortunately, and typically, three years into the Trump administration, instead of working with Democrats, President Trump has done next to nothing. Earlier this year, the president walked out of a meeting on infrastructure between himself and Speaker Pelosi and me, and some other Congressmen and Senators. We haven’t heard from him on the issue since. Meanwhile, Leader McConnell has turned the Senate into a legislative graveyard and seems uninterested in any bipartisan, bicameral legislation. It is so typical of this administration, of President Trump. He campaigns on infrastructure, has commercials running right now saying Democrats are not doing anything on infrastructure, when he is the one who has done nothing. He has an amazing penchant for looking at his own faults and then pointing his finger at others and saying those faults are theirs. It’s glaring on infrastructure.

The idea that the House impeachment inquiry is some sort of distraction from other issues is plain wrong. President Trump, we’re doing nothing here in the Senate. Come talk to us about infrastructure and we can get something done. Democrats in the House and Democrats in the Senate are willing to work with our Republican colleagues, right now. We have over two-hundred House-passed bills we could consider here on the floor, and plenty of bipartisan Senate bills besides: from bills to lower the cost of prescription drugs to election security to the Violence Against Women Act. And we would like to work on infrastructure, a large infrastructure bill, as well.

It is entirely up to President Trump and Leader McConnell to decide if we are going to make progress on a topic like infrastructure or if the Senate, under Senator McConnell’s leadership, continues to be a graveyard for commonsense ideas that help so many millions of Americans.

I yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum.

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