Schumer Floor Remarks On Nonstop Chaos In The Trump Administration, Republican Efforts To Restrict Women’s Access To Care, The Need To Approve Disaster Relief Funding For Puerto Rico And Other Hard-Hit Regions Across The U.S., And The Domenico Nomination – Another Disturbing, Radical Trump Nominee

April 9, 2019

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the nonstop chaos in the Trump administration, Republican efforts to restrict women’s access to care, the need to approve disaster relief funding for Puerto Rico and other hard-hit regions across the U.S., and the Domenico nomination – another disturbing, radical Trump nominee. Below are his remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Now today, the watchword in the executive branch is chaos.

This chaos stems from one source and one source only: President Donald Trump, his extreme agenda. And America is paying the price.

Everyone agrees there are issues at the border. But if you’re President, and if you’re in charge of our national security, you don’t tweet your way to a strategy; you don’t keep changing policies; and you don’t keep switching personnel… if you want to make progress on the most challenging issue facing our country.  

Every day we hear “this is the president’s new policy” and two days later we hear “it’s not happening”. People are being fired because they tell the president, according to news reports, that he can’t break the law when he wants to do something. You cannot keep changing personnel, changing strategy, tweeting your way through a problem as serious as this. And that is why chaos, chaos, when it comes to border issues are all created by the president and his whimsical, erratic, and oftentimes nasty pursuit of policy.

Even Republicans are worried sick about the chaos that President Trump has created over the week. My friend John Cornyn says that this is all a giant “mess”, his words. Well, my friend from Texas is correct.

But this dysfunction is not confined to a few agencies; this chaos is throughout the executive branch because Donald Trump has the same kind of switching personnel, changing policies, trying to tweet his way through a problem in other areas as he does at the border.

Let me remind my colleagues that the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Interior Secretary, the EPA administrator each resigned amid scandal. The Trump administration has not nominated anyone yet for probably the most important cabinet position Secretary of Defense since Secretary Mattis’s departure. And when he departed, Secretary Mattis had a scathing rebuke of the president’s policies.

Look at the chaos at the State Department, where the damage extends way beyond America’s borders. Because of incompetence and inaction, there are no nominees, no nominees to more than thirty vacant key positions at State, including Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights. No nominees to be our Ambassador to Pakistan or Egypt; or Qatar or Thailand.

This is not the Senate blocking nominees, much as the president likes to blame somebody else for his problems. This is the president’s own administration who has failed to nominate people for such important positions. And many of these positions have been long vacant.

And the areas which we mentioned are ever-important in our changing world, and this administration is simply failing to nominate anyone. We should be projecting stability and continuity through our State Department! Instead, it has been battered and belittled by its own administration…to the point where both sides in Congress have spoken out.

And just yesterday, we learned the administration is pushing out the head of the Secret Service amid a new scandal surrounding the security at Mar a Lago– a security breach at the so-called “winter White House.” And now, joining the others that were gone, fired by twitter, or whatever, is the head of the Secret Service.

All of this chaos has one source, one source only: the President of the United States and his erratic, vacillating attitudes towards policy and personnel. 

Across a broad spectrum of issues, his policies are so extreme that even good-faith nominees eventually face a choice: leave the administration or be consumed by the quicksand of the Trump swamp.

I hope that the president or some of the people around him will realize that his administration is far from a fine-tuned machine – it is a slow motion disaster machine the American people see in action every day.

Now on Women’s health. M. President, today, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on a sham bill that would further restrict women’s access to care.

Every woman, every family in America should shudder at Republicans’ campaign to take away the rights of women to make decisions about their own health, just to satisfy a hard-right radical agenda that the vast majority of Americans completely disagree with.

The bill would unduly restrict women’s rights to make their own health decisions. Dr. Jennifer Conti, a clinical assistant professor and OB-GYN at Stanford, described the twenty-week mark set by this bill as “just an arbitrary limit set by politicians that has no medical or scientific backing.”

Let me repeat: “An arbitrary limit set in place by politicians.”  Politicians making decisions about women’s health—that’s what’s wrong here.

What’s more: a twenty-week ban is ARGUABLY unconstitutional –just two weeks ago a federal judge in North Carolina ruled that it was.

We know the twenty week ban is just the start among those who want to take away women’s rights. They’ll try to go for a 10 week ban, then a 6 week ban –part of a radical, relentless effort to completely and unequivocally strip women of their right to make their own health care decisions.  

The rhetoric we’ll hear from Republicans in this hearing will be much of the same that we’ve heard for years.

Whether it’s the vote we took here in the Senate, or a new law protecting women’s rights in my home state of New York, Republicans have repeatedly used scare tactics and falsehoods to mislead the public.

Yet, these are nothing but scare tactics – don’t take my word for it. Time and time again, fact-checkers have ruled Republican rhetoric on these issues to be outright false.

Let’s be clear – across the country, the reproductive rights of women are under attack. Republicans in statehouses across the country are forcing through radical proposals that would dramatically limit women’s ability to make their own choices.

In Mississippi, in Georgia, in Kentucky; this is a threat to women in all 50 states, not just in those three. It’s dangerously out of step with the American people.

The Trump administration is even imposing a gag rule on health care providers to stop them from discussing the full range of options with women considering an abortion. They are literally preventing doctors from doing their job!

It is illogical, intrusive, and hypocritical that Republicans in Washington would tell a doctor what she or he can or cannot say to a patient in a private, medical conversation.

I have been around here long enough to remember when Republicans were preaching that government should never come between a patient and his or her doctor. Why the change?

Since taking office, President Trump and his Republican colleagues have repeatedly prioritized restricting women’s reproductive freedoms and strategically placed obstacles in the way of accessing the health care they deserve. Donald Trump and our Republican friends believe they know better than American women. That’s wrong. And American women totally disagree.

But while Republicans across the country push these proposals, they look the other way when President Trump proposes cutting programs that help newborns and young children.

The President wants to cut Medicaid by more than $1 trillion, which provides health coverage for 37 million children. He wants to eliminate programs that support emergency medical health services for children, that address autism and developmental disorders.

I hope my Republican colleagues will join us instead of slipping down this radical, ideological and deeply misguided path to strip away the rights of American women.

Now on disaster aid. Mr. President, as I said yesterday, the question of providing funding for our fellow Americans hurt by natural disasters is not an either-or proposition.

But Republicans have treated it like one. They argue that we can either have funding for our neighbors in the Midwest, or we can pursue aid on Puerto Rico that the President opposes.

For the President of the United States to pit American citizens against each other is simply un-American.

And for Republicans in the Senate to go along with him is exhibit A of their refusal to stand up. Now some of my colleagues have said, “Well we’re giving Puerto Rico just food stamp money.” Okay, let’s give all the other states just food stamp money. See if they think that’s going to help them rebuild their homes; deal with the roads and all the other things that natural disasters have wrought. Of course not. That’s the double standard, and it’s not going to happen. We know the House, to their credit, is standing firm.

So let’s come up with a compromise that funds both, as Americans have always done. When American citizens in one part of the country are in trouble because of disaster, we come together and help them all. Not just the ones the president likes or finds politically advantageous, but all. We don’t say, “We’ll just give food stamps to some, but complete disaster relief to the others.” That’s wrong and that hurts American citizens in Puerto Rico and elsewhere.

So last week, Senator Leahy and I presented a solution that solves all the problems: $16.7 billion in relief for all Americans affected by natural disasters—including $2.5 billion in new funding – new funding – that could help communities with the new disasters in the Midwest. It had the support for Puerto Rico and the people in the territories.

So it’s about time we stop this standoff, pass disaster relief, and help our fellow Americans before the next storms make their unwelcome arrival.

And finally on judges, Mr. President. Today the Republican leader will follow through on his plan to remake the judiciary in the image of President Trump.

In the irony of all ironies, the first nominee we will consider will be a gentleman who supported the Republican leader's decision to not even consider a committee hearing or a vote on Judge Merrick Garland. That is galling.

Mr. Domenico and the other nominees that we will consider today are outside the mainstream – way outside the mainstream – and should not be rushed through this body. Two hours of debate on a lifetime appointment? Shame on our Republican friends who went along with that.

By participating in this sham process, every Republican will fully own each and every radical decision each of these nominees makes. We see what’s happening now. A very conservative justice in Texas is taking away health care from millions of Americans; is taking away their protections to pre-existing conditions. My fellow Republicans: you are on warning. You keep voting for these judges, you are going to carry the burden of their awful decisions that will hurt so many Americans, that it’s so far out of the mainstream.