Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the effects of Republican extremism on our national security. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
A lot has changed since I first arrived in Congress, but nothing more so than the seismic shift in the Republican party’s support for the members of our great Armed Forces.
When I arrived in the House, Republican Representatives used to fall over each other to give speeches expressing support for those in uniform. The same when I arrived in the Senate. Their policies didn’t always match the rhetoric but the support truly seemed real and genuine. It no longer does.
Oh, some of them may still use the rhetoric but, these days, the actions we see on the other side say more than all the patriotic rhetoric on Earth.
Look at where we are. In the House, the Republicans cannot even agree to debate a bill to fund the Defense Department and the intelligence community, and they balk at providing emergency aid to a democratic partner fighting off a Russian invasion.
In the Senate, our Republican colleagues are more supportive of our Ukrainian friends – to their credit – but extremists in their ranks are blocking the promotion
s of hundreds of military leaders.
And what does Republican Leadership do? Nothing. Tacit approval of this nakedly cynical tactic. Shrugging their shoulders letting it go forward. The result: real lives – real lives, families – trapped in limbo, because a select few want to push the MAGA hard line on women’s choice.
To my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, these service members – the finest our military has to offer – are seemingly just numbers on the Senate Calendar. The Senator from Alabama claims no one is being harmed by his obstruction, and that the leadership of his conference supports him.
Well, I say to my friends, these are not just numbers!
Our armed service members are real people who have dedicated their lives to serving, defending our great country.
They are real families, spouses, children whose lives have been put in limbo by the callous calculation by the Senator from Alabama. Officers who cannot assume their new assignments. Spouses who cannot find jobs in new locations. Families that cannot get settled in their new homes. Kids who have to go to a new school who can’t start it.
The bottom line is this: this is a Republican problem. It was created by the Senator from Alabama, no one else, and it's up to Republicans to put pressure on him to back off, plain and simple. We already see that pressure mount. Last week, one of the major Republican presidential candidates said that the Senator from Alabama ought to back off. And just a few days ago, the House Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, one of the most respected and conservative members of the House, said the same thing. But Senate Republican leaders need to step up.
Yet here we are. With extremists of one party choosing to upend the lives of hundreds of dedicated and honorable military families.
I will continue to try to find a way to break this logjam and get these lives back on track.