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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Meeting Today Between Speaker Johnson And Senate Republicans And The Extreme Republican Agenda

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the reported meeting today between Speaker Johnson and the Senate Republican conference.  Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Later today, Senate Republicans will meet with Speaker Mike Johnson to lay out, as its been described, the “large scale” and “far-reaching” agenda Republicans plan for America should they regain control of government.

I’ll spoil the ending right now: if there’s one thing Republicans absolutely love to do in Congress, its passing tax giveaways for the very wealthy. That’s what they plan on talking about today: using reconciliation to gut as much of Democrats’ middle class agenda as possible, while passing another round of costly tax breaks that cater to wealthy elites.

I understand that nowadays it’s tempting to think about elections just in terms of personalities. But that is a grave mistake. Look at the agendas. Look at what Republicans say they want to do.

Republicans say their biggest priority – their north star – is undoing all the things President Biden and we Democrats have passed these past few years, while recycling the same Trump tax cuts that proved to be a dud seven years ago.

Remember 2018? They couldn't even run on these things, because Democrats had made a strong message that these weren't tax cuts for the middle class, these were tax cuts to benefit the very, very wealthy. So, they're not going to be able to sustain this argument, but their right-wing ideologues pushed them in a direction that many of them probably know is wrong.

It also means – if they want to repeal everything the Democrats did – repealing $35 a month insulin for people on Medicare. That’s what Republicans want.

It means stopping Medicare from negotiating the price of prescription drugs. That’s what Republicans want too. It’s also, by the way, what big pharma wants.

It means cutting programs that feed kids during summer breaks, that feed seniors like meals on wheels, and that fight congestion on our streets and pollution in our air. To Republicans, these things are like their version of their “greatest hits.”

It means cutting all the clean energy investments we’ve passed that create good paying jobs and protect our environments. Republicans are in the pocket of Big Oil, which will always oppose efforts to grow clean energy. And remember what Donald Trump said to oil executives recently at Mar-a-Lago? If they back him, he will do as much as possible to repeal our climate agenda starting on day one.

So, anyone who cares about the climate, and sees the change in weather, and the tornadoes, and the hurricanes, and all the bad weather, the cold waves and the heat waves, well, our Republican friends want to undo the great progress we made in the IRA and will try to do it in reconciliation, and that's a real threat.

Finally, it also means – as much as Republicans try to avoid saying it – putting vital programs like Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block, and telling seniors that the Social Security retirement age is going to go up.

I know Republicans writhe in pain whenever people bring this up, but look at the platform released by the Republican Study Committee, which covers over 180 House members. Let's not forget, if they keep control of the House, which I hope they won't, I don't believe they will, they're going to set the agenda, and then Senate Republicans – even those who know better – will just blindly follow. And they in the Republican Study Committee, 180 of the 220 some odd Republicans endorsed not only a national abortion ban but cuts to Social Security and Medicare. So, that's what they're going to do.

And who here remembers the campaign platform that our colleague from Florida released back in 2022? He’s now running for Leader over here.

He thought it was a good idea for Republicans to run on tax hikes for the middle class while putting programs like Social Security and Medicare at risk. What a shock this message didn’t work with the American people. I don’t think they’re working with the voters of Florida, either.

And speaking of tax cuts, let me add this: according to the Washington Post, Republicans not only plan to do another round of Trump’s tax cuts for the very rich, they want to go even further. They want even lower rates for corporations.

They want even lower rates for those making it over a billion dollars while making it easier for tax cheats to get away without paying their fair share. Donald Trump’s message to donors has reportedly been pretty simple: support me, I’ll get you a sweet tax deal in return.

Republicans love to claim that they are the party of fiscal responsibility, but that goes out the window whenever they start salivating over the deep tax cuts for the high-end people in America. The CBO has pointed out that extending the Trump tax cut alone would add a whopping $4-and-a-half trillion to the deficit.

So, you want to cut spending when it comes to feeding kids, or educating kids, or helping kids pay for college? You want to cut the deficit, rather? And that’s your way of cutting the deficit? By cutting money to feed kids, or educate kids and bore the high cost of college? But the deficit doesn’t matter when it means tax cuts for the very, very wealthy.

It’s utterly callous: when it comes to funding things like nutrition or health care for kids, they scream and holler that we can’t add to the deficit. But when it comes to sweeping tax cuts for the ultra-rich, suddenly the deficit doesn’t matter.

The old cliché says that the more things change the more they stay the same: Republicans today have been totally transformed by the cult of personality of Donald Trump. But if they’re given control of government, they will continue to give middle class Americans the same raw deal Republicans have pushed for years: tax giveaways for the ultra-rich and crumbs for everyone else.