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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Need To Confirm President Biden’s Cabinet, Announcing The Arrival Of The Article Of Impeachment Monday And A Full Trial Of Former President Trump, And Demanding A Fair Organizing Resolution So The Senate Can Get To Work

Washington, D.C.  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the need to confirm President Biden’s cabinet, announcing the arrival of the Article of Impeachment Monday and a full trial of former President Donald Trump, and demanding a fair organizing resolution so the Senate can get to work. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Now, I’ve spoken about the Senate’s agenda for the next several weeks. We have three essential items on our plate: one, the confirmation of President Biden’s cabinet and other key officials. Two, legislation to provide desperately needed COVID relief. Three, a second impeachment trial of Donald Trump.

The Senate must—and will—do all three: COVID relief, confirmation of nominees, and impeachment trial.

Now, the first order of business is to fulfill our Constitutional duty to advise and consent on the President’s appointments to his cabinet. This morning, the Senate will vote to confirm President Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin.

Mr. Austin will be the first African-American to ever helm the Defense Department in its history—a powerful symbol of the diversity and history of America’s Armed Forces.

Mr. Austin has had a storied career in the Army, but those days are behind him. As Secretary of Defense, he has promised to empower and lift up his civilian staff, and I believe he will be an outstanding Secretary of Defense for everyone at the Pentagon: service members and civilian employees.

The Secretary of Defense, of course, has a hugely important task ahead of him. He must once again demonstrate to world that the US military will always support our friends, deter our adversaries, and if necessary, defeat them. Lloyd Austin is the right person for the job. He has the experience, the vision, and the competence to run the largest agency in our government. I look forward to confirming his nomination shortly.

Afterwards, the Senate must continue to install President Biden’s team by confirming the Secretaries of State, Homeland Security, and Treasury. We need Republican cooperation to confirm these nominees. But we expect that cooperation to continue.

The continuity of our national security, military, and intelligence policy, as well as our ability to effectively respond to the current health and economic crises, depend on having these cabinet officials confirmed.

Now, As I mentioned, the Senate will also conduct a second impeachment trial for Donald Trump. I have been speaking to the Republican Leader about the timing and duration of the trial, but make no mistake: a trial will be held in the United States Senate. And there will be a vote on whether to convict the president.

I have spoken with to Speaker Pelosi, who informed me that the articles will be delivered to the Senate on Monday.

Now, I have heard some of my Republican colleagues argue that this trial would be unconstitutional because Donald Trump is no longer in office, an argument that has been roundly repudiated, debunked by constitutional scholars left, right and center, and defies basic common sense. It makes no sense whatsoever that a president—or any official—could commit a heinous crime against our country and then be permitted to resign so as to avoid accountability and a vote to disbar them from future office. It makes no sense.

Regardless, the purveyors of this unusual argument are just trying to delay the inevitable. The fact is, the House will deliver the Article of Impeachment to the Senate. The Senate will conduct a trial of the Impeachment of Donald Trump. It will be a full trial. It will be a fair trial.

But make no mistake: there will be a trial and when that trial ends, Senators will have to decide if they believe Donald John Trump incited the insurrection against the United States.

Now, over the course of the elections in November and January, the American people chose to retire four Republican Senators and elect a Democratic majority to this Senate. The Senate must now take the basic step of passing an organizing resolution and setting up the rules for a Senate where there are 50 members of each party.

Luckily, we have a clear precedent for what to do in this situation. In 2001, then-Majority Leader Lott and Minority Leader Daschle came together and agreed on a set of a rules to govern a 50-50 Senate. We should follow that precedent.

We have offered to abide by the same agreement the last time there was a 50-50 Senate. What’s fair is fair. That is the precedent. We could organize the Senate today if both sides agreed to abide by the same rules as last time.

The Republican Leader, however, has made an extraneous demand that would place additional constraints on the majority, constraints that have never been in place before. In fact, his proposal would remove a tool that the Republican Leader himself used twice, in just the last Congress, to accelerate the confirmation of Republican nominees.

Leader McConnell’s proposal is unacceptable, and it won’t be accepted. And the Republican Leader knew that when he first proposed it.

Only two days ago, Mr. President, we celebrated the inauguration of a new president and the turning over of a new leaf. The American people want us to work together and move past the meaningless political fights and gridlock that have plagued us for too long.

It’s time to get to work. The first step is for the Republican caucus to agree to follow the same precedent that governed the Senate last time around.