Today, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sent the following Dear Colleague letter outlining his plan for the next work period, which includes advancing appropriations bills, NDAA and other bipartisan legislation, building on the SAFE Innovation Framework for Artificial Intelligence, and confirming more of President Biden’s highly-qualified and diverse nominees.
July 9, 2023
I want to thank each of you for everything you’ve done so far this congress to tackle the challenges facing our country. We have remained united in our shared goal to grow our economy, strengthen our democracy, and confirm a well-qualified judiciary while avoiding a catastrophic default that would have devastated American families.
In the upcoming work period, we must build on this success. One of our most fundamental tasks will be to deliver on the deal that President Biden and Congress agreed to in June to fund our government and protect key investments in infrastructure, U.S. competitiveness, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, our veterans and more. In the Senate, we are working diligently through regular order on a bipartisan basis to advance appropriations bills. In addition, before we left for the July recess, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved a bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act that will invest in our nation’s military and service members and advance our national defense strategy. We must continue to compete globally and deepen our strategic ties with our allies and partners, so I hope to move this bill quickly. These two areas – appropriations and NDAA – are prime examples of the bipartisan cooperation we strive to achieve.
Senate Democrats will also continue our work with our Republican colleagues to advance legislation in a range of policy areas. This includes making progress on bipartisan bills that lower the cost of insulin and prescription drugs, combat the fentanyl crisis, unlock permitting reform, advance online safety and innovation, promote community health, hold bank executives accountable, address rail safety, modernize federal aviation programs, institute common-sense farm policy, safeguard cannabis banking, compete with the Chinese government, and more. Passing these bills will not be easy, and we will depend on cooperation of our Republican colleagues to get any of them done. I applaud our committees and our caucus for the continued work to make positive and meaningful changes in the lives of every day Americans.
During this work period I also intend to build on my SAFE Innovation Framework for Artificial Intelligence (AI) – an outline for how the Senate can advance American leadership in AI and harness it’s potential and protect our society from its potential harms. This Tuesday we will have a classified all-senators briefing with the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community to learn how we’re using and investing in AI to protect our national security and learn what our adversaries are doing in AI. This will be the first-ever classified all-senators briefing on national security and AI. I’ve also announced that in the coming months the Senate will begin hosting top AI experts in a series of AI Insight Forums, building on the all-Senators briefings convened by myself and Senators Heinrich, Rounds and Young. Our job as legislators is to listen to the experts and learn as much as we can so we can translate these ideas into legislative action, with our committees continuing to serve as the key drivers. I look forward to hearing from these experts and I encourage you to attend.
Finally, we must continue working to confirm President Biden’s diverse and experienced nominees and to rebalance the federal bench with judges who respect the rule of law. Americans’ faith in the judiciary is at an all-time low after the extreme MAGA right captured the Supreme
Court and achieved dangerous, regressive policies completely at odds with what the vast majority of Americans want. At the same time, this MAGA-captured Supreme Court feels free to accept lavish gifts and vacations from their powerful, billionaire friends. And these are no ordinary billionaires—they are ideological extremists who bankroll hard-right MAGA causes and then bring those cases before the same Justices they’ve patronized. Congress has clear authority to oversee the federal judiciary, and we must explore every option for restoring faith in our courts. And we must do everything we can to keep the historic pace of confirming President Biden’s judicial nominees.
Our agenda is ambitious and with a closely divided Senate, we face an uphill battle on many fronts. It is always my hope that we will be able to find consensus and develop a path forward with our Republican colleagues; but where that is not possible, we must purse all options available for advancing programs to protect and expand America’s middle class.
Thank you again for your commitment to working as a united front for the American people. I hope you enjoyed a restful 4th of July holiday and I look forward to this upcoming session.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator