Schumer Floor Remarks on Border Wall Funding and President Trump’s Broken Promises on Jobs and the Economy

April 25, 2017

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today delivered remarks on the Senate floor discussing budget negotiations regarding funding a U.S. Mexico border wall and outlining President Trump’s broken promises regarding jobs and the economy. Below are his remarks:

Mr. President, first I want to say that it’s really good news that President Trump seems to be taking the wall off the table in the negotiations we’re having on an appropriations bill this week.

It would remove the prospect of a needless fight over a poison pill proposal that members of both parties don’t support. On a bill as important as one to keep the government open, it is a dangerous prospect for the Administration to push so hard for such a flawed proposal on a must-pass spending bill. It could tank what have been productive, bipartisan negotiations between leaders of both parties in both houses.

If the threat of the wall is removed, as I hope is the case, our negotiations can continue and we can hopefully resolve all the outstanding issues by Friday.

Make no mistake about it, there are other important issues to resolve: no poison pill riders above all, and the ratio of defense and nondefense spending in terms of increases above the baseline. On the nondefense side, miners is very important on our side, getting permanent healthcare for these miners who have struggled their whole lives. The issue of cost sharing where six million people could lose their healthcare because it would become unaffordable. And the issue of Puerto Rico, which is struggling so, are among those that we feel are important as well. And there are other issues to resolve as well, but I’m hopeful we can address them as the week moves forward. Poison pill riders are something that could really hurt the bill, and we don’t want that to happen.

Now, on another matter Mr. President, as we quickly approach the 100-day mark of the Trump presidency, it’s a good time to look back on what this Administration has and has not accomplished.

One thing is clear: this President has either broken or failed to fulfill many of the promises he made to working people during the campaign.

This morning I’d like to focus on one area in particular: this presidents’ promises to working people on the economy.                                            

One of the president’s key rationales for why he’d be an effective president was that he was a good businessman who could create jobs and get the economy growing much faster than anyone predicted.

But on the major issues of jobs, outsourcing, Buy America, and trade – key economic issues that help job growth in America, that help working families – President Trump has made scant progress during his first 100 days, breaking several core campaign promises he made to kick start the economy for working families.

  • On jobs, President Trump said he was going to be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” But have we seen one significant piece of legislation that would create jobs from this president?
  • What about infrastructure, for instance? That’s something that would create tons of good-paying jobs. And candidate Trump talked about it a lot. He promised to fix America’s crumbling infrastructure, pledging a $1 trillion-plan to do it.
  • But we haven’t seen any details of any plan yet. No comprehensive plan to rebuild our infrastructure has been introduced by any Republicans in Congress.
  • So we Democrats came out with our own trillion-dollar infrastructure plan, taking what the president said in his campaign. That bill would create 15 million good-paying jobs, going to the working families of America. We haven’t seen any proposal or gotten any response from the president.
  • The only thing we’ve seen from President Trump on infrastructure is that he has proposed multi-billion dollar cuts to vital transportation programs in his 2018 budget. Saying one thing in the campaign – infrastructure jobs – doing exactly the opposite, cutting infrastructure jobs in his proposed budget for next year.
  • On outsourcing, candidate Trump lamented the fact that so many companies were shipping U.S. jobs overseas, promising “we’re going to stop it day one. It’s so easy to stop.” While President Obama used regulatory measures to stop inversions in their tracks (a company in New York, Pfizer, it was so wrong to invert), President Trump has just signed an executive order to review those rules and potentially undo them – the exact opposite of what he campaigned on. This is astounding. He’s going to prevent jobs from going overseas. President Obama put in regulations that have stopped, virtually stopped, inversions – companies moving their headquarters overseas for tax breaks. And President Trump, directly in contradiction to what he’s talked about over and over and over again in his campaign, now says ‘let’s review those rules and possibly undo them.’ It’s just hard to comprehend. Hard to comprehend.
  • President Trump said his policy would be “Buy American and Hire American,” and he’s had a bunch of little rallies where he talks about this. But he’s refused to insist that pipelines and water infrastructure be made with American steel. If he was serious about stopping outsourcing, he would demand that Senate Republicans put Senator Baldwin’s bill, requiring infrastructure be made with American steel, on the Senate floor. If we increase water and sewer, it’s one of our biggest infrastructure proposals, American steel would get a huge boost if they had to buy American steel. Senator Baldwin has a bill that does it. President Trump has not gotten any action. He ought to tell Leader McConnell, tell Speaker Ryan he’s for that bill, and they should bring it to the floor. And with a lot of Democratic votes, probably everyone just about, we can pass it.
  • On trade, another crucial issue for the American worker, maybe the issue that President Trump garnered the most support for from working families… well, he’s made some big promises but has either broken them or failed to deliver on them in 100 days. He pledged to hold China accountable for its rapacious trade practices, which have robbed America of millions of jobs and cost of trillions of dollars of wealth. He said China was “world champion” of currency manipulation and pledged to name it a currency manipulator on Day One.  Now President Trump has done neither of those things – and he’s broken his promise to name them a currency manipulator and he’s backed off his promise to get tough with China on trade in general. Mr. President, this is an issue I’m passionate about. And I didn’t agree with President Trump on a whole lot of issues, but when he talked about China in the campaign, I said I am closer to President Trump on how we treat China than I was with President Obama or President Bush, and I thought it would be one of the areas where we could make real progress. And instead he made a U-turn. Recently the Administration announced that China was not a currency manipulator, despite the fact that the President said over and over again they were. And they are manipulating their currency. Now I know all the free trade pundits get up and say, “Yeah, but now they are propping up the value of their currency. They are doing the opposite of what they did when they made it easier for them to export.” But they’re still manipulating it. It still doesn’t truly float. And sure as we’re sitting here, if it’s to China’s advantage to once again devalue its currency, so they can gain unfair advantages over American workers, they will do it in a minute. And furthermore, had he called China a currency manipulator based on their long history of this practice, it would have sent a shot across China’s bow. For years, frankly, under Democratic and Republican administrations, China has gotten away with economic murder. They steal our intellectual property, they don’t let good American companies into China. They buy American companies to get their technology and then produce it in China and try to export it here. And they have over the years manipulated the currency to their advantage, among many other things. They’re hurting us. Probably nothing has done more to hurt American jobs than China’s rapacious trade policies, and President Trump is nowhere to be found. In fact, doing the opposite of what he promised on trade.

So instead of sticking up for hardworking, middle-class Americans by trying to create jobs and getting tough on both trade and outsourcing, President Trump has spent the last few months looking out for powerful corporations and the special interests he repeatedly campaigned against…breaking promise after promise to working families.

It’s a shame he has taken this route. On issues like infrastructure, outsourcing and trade, we Democrats agree with many of the things candidate Trump was saying. But he’s nowhere to be found to work with on these issues.                                    

President Trump could have chosen to spend his first 100 days working with us Democrats on these issues, finding compromises, consensus to fulfill his promises to working America. Instead, he’s spent the first 100 days governing from the very hard-right, refusing to seek Democratic input on any major legislation. That’s not how you get things done here, and that’s why the president has so little to show for his first 100 days.  

We Democrats are prepared to work with him to give the middle class and those struggling to get there a much-needed boost. But the president and Republicans in Congress need to start reaching out and meeting us halfway.

As I’ve told the president many times: if he governs from the middle, if he’s willing to work with both parties to get things done, we might be able to compromise on some of the really important economic issues where we’ve had these values for . But if the President and Republicans in Congress continue their my-way-or-the-highway approach, the next 100 days will be just like the first, a lot of broken and unfilled promises and very few accomplishments from this new Administration.