Schumer Floor Remarks On The Departure Of Longtime Senate Staffer Bruce King

February 28, 2019
I wanted to take a moment to pay tribute. You know, we have staffers here, Mr. President, who are just the unsung heroes, they work day-in, day-out. Because of their diligent work, the world, the country, is a better place. And, one of those people who works in quiet dignity, and gets so much done, and is so well respected, is Bruce King. He’s been indispensable to my office, and today, this afternoon, it’s my unfortunate duty to say farewell to Bruce.

He’s worked in the Senate in some capacity since 1984. He’s worked for Judiciary, and Senator Lautenberg, the Budget Committee, Senior Counsel for multiple Democratic Leaders on federal Budget, stretching from Leader Daschle to Leader Reid to myself. In that short time, Bruce wasn’t short of legislative achievement: negotiating the balanced budget agreement of 1997 to blocking the privatization of Social Security in 2006; from shepherding health reform through the Senate to passing the financial rescue bill after the crisis in 2008. One of our most distinguished senators would be proud of that record. Their name would be in lights. Bruce did all of that, and much more in his, as I said, quiet, steadfast, brilliant dignity.

Now, I never sat on the Budget or Appropriations Committees, so when I became Leader, having his experience and wisdom was incredible. I met no one who could take these complex issues and put them in terms that even someone like myself could understand, not being an expert on those things. And, he was able to understand the big picture and never get caught in the minutiae, although he knew the minutiae extremely well. When you ask Bruce’s opinion on a matter, he presents it so succinctly and persuasively that you know it’s the right answer in a matter of minutes…until he decides to play devil’s advocate against his first opinion and convinces you of the opposite. Because he was one of those staffers who never had an axe to grind. He said, let my senators know both sides and let them decide. But we knew both sides so well, so lucidly, because of Bruce’s ability to take these issues and help us understand them.

He can juggle variables, so many variables, in his head at once, he can weigh the pros and cons, he has an instinctive knowledge of how to deal with the trade-offs, and he can keep it all in a simple way. He’s a modest man. He has sat at the same desk in the Capitol for fourteen years. Every day, he brings his lunch: a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. And he leaves the office at almost the same time every night to have dinner at home with Janis, his beloved wife.

Senators get the spotlight, the credit, when our initiatives succeed, but so many initiatives would never have succeeded without Bruce King. Bruce, through the years, deserves an ocean of credit for his work but he’d never claim a drop of it. He’s a humble man. For all his expertise, he is humble, kind-hearted, thoughtful—everyone likes him! In all the years he’s worked here, I’ve never heard a single person say a single bad thing about him. That’s a pretty good tribute in a place like the U.S. Senate.

Bruce’s departure will be a loss, to his friends, colleagues, to the Senate as a whole, and of course, to my office. There’s only one bad thing I can say about him: he switched his allegiance from the New York Mets to the Nationals. But, the good news: he’ll be able to catch some more games with Janis, his son, Aaron, and his daughter, Liana.

So Bruce, you’re a blessing to our office, to the Senate, and to the country. We wish you the best.