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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Priorities For The Upcoming Senate Work Period

Washington, D.C.Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the July work period. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

As the Senate gavels back in, our north star remains unchanged: to build on our historic work over the past few years to strengthen our economy, make life better for the American people, and to do it in a bipartisan manner whenever possible.

A little over a month ago, both parties came together to avert a catastrophic default on the national debt, while agreeing on spending levels that will keep our country and our economy strong.

This month, the work of funding the government will continue. It won’t be easy but must get done with good faith and bipartisan work. I am pleased so far that this process is moving along in the Senate through the Appropriations Committee through regular order in a bipartisan way, and we will do everything we can to ensure it remains that way.

In another act of bipartisanship on something equally significant, the Senate will move forward on the annual National Defense Authorization Act, so we can keep our country safe, support our friends in Ukraine, outcompete China, and give our troops the pay raise they rightfully deserve.

I thank Chairman Reed and Ranking Member Wicker for moving the NDAA through the Senate Armed Services Committee last month, and I hope we can move quickly on it here on the floor in July.

These two areas – appropriations and the NDAA, the defense act – are prime examples of the kind of bipartisan work we want to see in the Senate, and which I’ve worked with my colleagues to foster.

We also need that bipartisanship on other issues too – to reduce the cost of insulin and prescription drugs, to hold bank executives accountable, to modernize federal aviation programs, to reauthorize the farm bill, to make progress on SAFE banking, and outcompete the Chinese government.

And of course, every one of these issues requires bipartisanship cooperation. Getting there won’t be easy, but we’re going to do everything we can to make them happen because every one of them will benefit the American people.

And of course, we will also need bipartisanship to prepare for the radical transformations that AI will unleash in the coming years.

Tomorrow, the Senate will have the first-ever classified all-senators briefing from the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community on AI and how it affects our national security.

Our briefers will include Avril Haines, the Director of National Intelligence, Kathleen Hicks, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and other top experts from our defense and intelligence agencies.

We are still in the early stages of understanding AI’s role in our national security, so this briefing will be critical for Senators to learn more about how we’re using AI to protect our country, also how it’s being used by our adversaries, and what we can do to make sure that we maintain our advantages. And we have no time to waste – our adversaries won’t wait to deploy this technology against us. 

Congress cannot behave like ostriches when it comes to artificial intelligence. We need to learn as much as we can about AI – as quickly as we can – so we can play our part to ensure the AI revolution brings prosperity, safety, and unparalleled innovation. So, I thank all of my colleagues on both sides who attended the previous briefing, and encourage them to attend this one. And I thank Senators Heinrich, Rounds, and Young for their bipartisan work on our little group that’s steering AI in the Senate.

Finally, this work period we must continue to confirm President Biden’s nominees and rebalance the federal bench with judges who respect the rule of law.

Sadly, Americans’ faith in the judiciary is at an all-time low after the extreme MAGA right captured the Supreme Court. In the last few weeks, this MAGA-majority on the Court has gutted affirmative action, blocked student debt relief for millions of Americans, and greenlit discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

What we are seeing at the Supreme Court is a sickening hypocrisy: as some justices feel free to accept lavish gifts and vacations from billionaire friends, they are refusing to help everyday Americans just trying to get a fair shake. And the billionaires who provided these trips and emoluments are no ordinary run-of-the-mill billionaires– they are ideological MAGA extremists who bankroll hard-right MAGA causes and then bring those cases before the same judges they’ve patronized.

Congress has clear authority to oversee the federal judiciary, and that includes making sure that the highest court in the land is held to equally high ethical standards.

So, I support Chairman Durbin and the Judiciary Committee’s efforts to advance SCOTUS ethics reform, and look forward to working with them on this issue.

In the meantime, Senate Democrats will continue to help restore faith and balance to the federal judiciary by keeping up our historic pace of confirming President Biden’s judicial nominees.