Schumer Floor Remarks on Bipartisan DACA Bills and China’s Unfair Trading Policies

January 17, 2018

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the House and Senate DACA bills and China’s unfair trading policies. Below are his remarks which can also be viewed here:

First, before I get into the substance of my remarks, let me just answer the Majority Leader here. What leads to problems in this place, what leads to a government shutdown? One side deciding everything and then saying to the other side “you must go along.” The proposal that was sent over, here’s what it doesn’t do: doesn’t give help needed for our veterans who wait online for service. Doesn’t fight opioid addiction, the scourge of America. Doesn’t help our pensioners. And, I would say to my friends on the other side of the aisle and our defense hawks in the other body, it doesn’t give defense what it needs either.

It’s a loser, in terms of the things that this country needs. We could easily sit down and come to an agreement that would get the support of a majority of both sides. And it is the intransigence, frankly, of so many who say “don’t talk, don’t negotiate, just do it our way or no way,” that has led to gridlock, that has led to the fact that the first year has been largely unsuccessful, and leads to the partisanship that America decries.

Democrats have shown time and time again that we want to work in a bipartisan way. Most recently illustrated by the proposal put together by my friend from Illinois, my friend from South Carolina, and my friend from Arizona who is here on the floor – we eagerly await his remarks and I’ll try to be brief. But Leader McConnell, on this instance as on many, many others, says “our way or no way.” That is wrong. We will do everything we can to avoid a shutdown. We will do everything we can, but the needs of opioid addiction, and helping the veterans, and Social Security, and rural infrastructure, and defense, and of course the Dreamers, remain hanging out with this proposal.

If, God forbid, there is a shutdown, it will fall on the Majority Leader’s shoulders and the President’s shoulders. We all know what the President has said. He wants a shutdown. So you can twist words and twist facts any way you want, but the truth is, this is a purely partisan effort. A purely partisan effort. And that’s what leads to the trouble in this place.

So let me say a few more things here. Despite the Leader being totally partisan on this issue, we have seen some rays, some sprouts, of bipartisanship. In the House, Republican Congressman Will Hurd and Democratic Congressman Aguilar have a proposal on immigration, on Dream, that’s garnered 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans. The Goodlatte proposal, the McCaul proposal, has not a single Democrat. Not a single one.

You, Mr. President, have made a proposal that, in the words of Sen. Graham, will not get a single Democratic vote. It can’t pass. But at the same time, the Senators from Illinois, and New Jersey, and Colorado, and Arizona, and South Carolina, and Colorado, are painstakingly putting together a proposal where both sides give quite a bit.

So there are sprouts of bipartisanship, more than sprouts, that could save us from eyeball to eyeball, and from a shutdown. My hope is that the President will understand it, because the bill that was put together here in the Senate was aimed, and painstakingly put together, to meet what the President said he needed.

It protects the dreamers, includes President Trump’s full budget request for border security (far more than I’d want to do), including funding to build barriers along the southern border. It deals with family reunification – they call it chain migration, for the Dreamers. I know that some have said “let’s do it for the whole immigration bill.” Well then let’s talk about the 11 million, not just the Dreamers. You want to do comprehensive, let’s do comprehensive. But first, let’s get DACA done.

And of course, they even got rid of the diversity program, which as the President noted I was the author of, and which has brought millions of people to this country who are working hard and are good citizens now.

So it is almost everything the President requested in his televised Tuesday meeting, which got such good reviews from one end of the country to the other

This bill is certainly not how Democrats would’ve written the bill if we were in charge. It’s not how Republicans would’ve written it if they were the only party in America – if they were, they might go for the Senator from Arkansas’ proposal. But it is on the hard right. 70% of America is for Dream and DACA – 80 I think now. Most Americans are for a comprehensive immigration bill that does all these things.

So if we want to get something done, we ought to compromise in a bipartisan way. And for those on this side and in the other body who say we need defense, the way we are going to get it is through bipartisan compromise. Bipartisan compromise. This side does not object to increasing defense alongside of other needs, which are just as important in our judgment. A parent whose son or daughter has died of opioid addiction because they couldn’t get treatment, doesn’t think that opioid addiction should play second fiddle to any proposal.

Now, the Majority Leader has dismissed the urgency of resolving the fate of the Dreamers, calling it a manufactured crisis. It was manufactured, by the Republican Party.

President Trump rescinded the DACA program, no Democrat. It was the Majority Leader’s decision to kick the can down the road for months, while bipartisan majorities would have likely supported something close to the Dream Act. It was President Trump who turned his back on a bipartisan solution last week and used vulgarities to demean the ancestral homelands of so many Americans. And almost no American doubts that the President used those terms. Nobody doubts it. Hardly anybody.

As I said yesterday, a very fair, bipartisan deal remains on the table. Senators Durbin and Graham will release the text of their legislation today. My Republican colleagues should consider it seriously and I recommend they get on the bill. And then we can solve the problems that some on one side see, the needs for defense, seen on both sides. Some of the problems this side sees, some of the problems that side sees, and not do the kind of bill that leaves out and kicks the can down the road for many, many more problems.

And I challenge President Trump to step up and be willing to take yes for an answer. Democrats have tried to meet you halfway, Mister President – meet us halfway.

The time for political posturing is running short. Bipartisan groups of Senators and Congressmen are fervently working towards a deal. President Trump ought to get on board, or Congress will move forward without him.

One other issue, Mr. President. This is really in my craw.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that one of the fastest growing Chinese car companies is plotting ways to sell their cars in America. According to the Times, by pursuing a partnership with Fiat Chrysler, the Chinese state-owned company GAC Automobiles hoped to enter the US market through a backdoor. It would be the first Chinese carmaker to sell in the US.

If they were to do so, they’d face a 2.5% tariff here in the United States. Meanwhile, if a US automaker sold its cars in China, it would face a 25% tariff – ten times higher -- and would have to compete with state-owned businesses and unfair regulations. So while China prevents US automakers from gaining a foothold in their country with prohibitive tariffs, what the times called “the highest trade barriers by far of any major car market,” they are plotting ways to eat into our market.

It’s manifestly unfair, and a typically unfortunate example of China’s rapacious trading policies.

President Trump – in his campaign, won a lot of votes - promised over and over again that he would crack down on China’s mercantilism, but once in office, unfortunately like so many other of his promises and commitments to working Americans, he has not done it. He has delayed trade enforcement against China time and time again. Even the studies he’s commissioned have been delayed.

We need to get serious about these flagrant trade abuses before it’s too late. Middle-class jobs and bedrock American industries are at stake.