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TRANSCRIPT: Majority Leader Schumer Delivers Remarks At A Press Conference Following Senate Passage Of Bipartisan Agreement To Avoid Default

Washington, D.C. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) delivered remarks at a press conference following Senate passage of the bipartisan debt ceiling agreement. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Democrats are feeling very good tonight. We've saved the country from the scourge of default, even though there were some on the other side who wanted default, wanted to lead us to default. We may be a little tired – but we did it. So we're very, very happy.

Default was the giant sword hanging over America's head, but because of the good work of President Biden, as well as Democrats in the House and Democrats in the Senate, we are not defaulting.

Democrats said from the start we must take default off the table. For a long time, Republicans, many Republicans in the House resisted. House Republicans were ready to take default hostage in order to pass a radical, hard right agenda that never could have passed with the American people.

So tonight's outcome is very welcome news for our economy and for American families. I thank my colleagues for the good work tonight. I commend President Biden and his team for producing a sensible compromise under the most difficult of circumstances. So many of the destructive provisions in the Republican bill are gone because we persisted and we kept insisting that default is off the table.

We will not be defaulting and we will not be passing the hard right's extreme agenda – virtually no part of it. And that is thanks to the Senate and House Democrats and to President Biden. But don't just listen to me. The proof is in the pudding. House Democrats swept the vote to 314 to 117. A higher percentage and number of Democrats voted for this in the House than Republicans did.

And it was just repeated in the Senate. The overwhelming majority of Senate Democrats voted for the bill. A majority of Republicans voted against it. And it's not just how Democrats carry the bill to the finish line but why? Why do we get more votes?

We got more votes because the bill beat back the worst of the Republican agenda. This was an exercise in where the American people were at, and they're much closer to where we are than where they are. Of course, nobody got everything they wanted. There was give on both sides.

But this agreement was a very good outcome because it accomplished three extremely important goals.

First and foremost, we prevented a catastrophic default that would have decimated our economy, raised costs and inflicted immense unnecessary pain on tens and tens and tens of millions of American families.

Second, the bill preserves the lion's share of the historic investments we've made to grow our economy, fix our infrastructure, make the U.S. more competitive on the world stage, which the Republican caucus in the House seemed intent on tearing down. They didn't get to do that.

And third, and very importantly, we did a very good job of taking the worst parts of the Republican plan that would have hurt so many families. And we took those worst parts off the table.

Let me say it again: tonight's vote is a good outcome because Democrats did a very good job taking the worst parts of the Republican plan off the table. And that's why Dems voted overwhelmingly for this bill, while Republicans, certainly in the Senate did not.

Remember what House Republicans originally wanted when they showed us their plan and compare it to the bill we're now sending to the president's desk. The difference is stark as night and day.

Republicans wanted to gut investments we made in the IRA and the Inflation Reduction Act that are driving a new generation of American manufacturing. Billions and billions of investments and thousands upon thousands of jobs. We fought and fought. That ain't happening.

The hard right MAGA Republicans wanted to cut critical investments by as much as 30%, cut all these vital programs by 30%; as we say in Brooklyn N.F.W that ain't happening.

Republicans wanted to put default back on the table in a few months. That ain't happening.

Republicans wanted to roll back Medicaid expansion. That ain't happening.

Republicans even played down default and wanted to risk going over that horrible cliff. And today, we Democrats are proud to declare that ain't happening.

So tonight, I'm proud to say thanks to Democrats, all these things ain't happening. And now we pass this bill.

All along, I've said the most important thing is that all parties involved must take default off the table. No default. End of story. Full stop.

It was clear to me then that if Republicans would continue their refusal to raise the debt ceiling in a straightforward or would way, then they needed to show the American people their plan. But we knew there were two choices when we said, show us your plan. Either they couldn't, which would have meant we could have just passed a plain clean debt ceiling. But we also knew that if they did, it would be such a partisan wish list that once it was exposed to light, it could never pass and it could never really gain the kind of support that was needed.

I called the plan the day it came out. D.O.A. Default on America, because that's what it was, and it was DOA in the other way. It was dead on arrival.

Republicans who supported the DOA from ran away in droves from the harsh cuts they just voted for. It was a disaster for them, a disaster for the American people.

Now we know that nightmare piece of legislation was a blessing in disguise. The Republican Default on America Act landed with a thud across the country, and that failed bill laid bare the partisan extremism which seems to dominate so much of the Republican Party would never be the way out of the crisis.

So as I said from day one, this demanded a bipartisan solution. We knew we need to come together for a solution like the one that passed tonight. And so I'm happy to stand here passing this critical legislation to support our families, preserved vital programs, and most importantly, avoid catastrophic default.

I look forward to the President, who, again, I salute for his steadfastness in his work on this, signing it without delay.