Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer at University of Louisville CSPAN February 12, 2018 12:02pm-12:53pm EST
hamas and a number of financial bills dealing with mortgage lending and interest rates for consumers. ahead of the senate coming into senate at 3:00, minority leader chuck schumer spoke at the mcconnell center at the university of louisville. he was introduced by the center's namesake, mitch mcconnell. [applause] >> thank you very much. i also want to express my gratitude on behalf of all of us affiliated for all of your
service as acting president here. you have done in my view a seamless job of plugging the gap in this. have had here between presidents. i also want to single out gary greg. when this program started, i had no idea it could develop into what it has become. you are the reason for that. he came here in 2000. he took it to a whole new level. i hope you will join me in thanking him for what a great job. [applause] we have had a lot of interesting speakers over the years. in my view, none more interesting than our guest this morning. [laughter] chuck schumer of course is from
brooklyn. born and raised. his dad owned an exterminator business. one of chuck siblings remembered that we always associated the smell of triple x roach spray with love. [laughter] it was his hard work, day in and day out that took this kid from brooklyn to the world's greatest deliberative body, the united states senate. it is also why last year, time --azine named him one of the to its distinguished list of 100 most influential people. after graduating from harvard law school, chuck was elected to the new york state assembly at the age of 23. about the same age of the graduates of this program. in his memoir, chuck remembered
his parents did not want him to run. they thought the life of a corporate lawyer would be respectful. [laughter] and more comfortable. that my life would be a lot easier if you had only listened to your parents. [laughter] since that first electoral victory, he has kept a perfect batting average. never losing a single election. andame to congress in 1981 has served in both the house and the senate earning a reputation for tireless effort on behalf of the people of new york. a lot of people talk about working hard, but chuck has taken it to a whole new level. there is nobody that works harder than this guy.
the washington post once wrote, work has always been schumer's ace in the hole. stated of congress has they supported schumer's bills because he would not stop pestering them. for the senate convened for the he became the, first new yorker ever to serve as senate democratic leader. chuck still lives in brooklyn with his wife, a very accomplished woman in her own right. no matter how much time he spends in washington, he never let anybody forget where he is from. in our leadership roles, i get to work closely with him every single day. we negotiate the legislative schedule, nominations, and other public policy matters before the senate. as majority and minority
leaders, we are kind of like the offense of an defense of coordinators. i've had both roles. offensive coordinator is better. [laughter] washington may look like a pretty divided place. i often think they teach them in journalism school that only conflict is news. actually the senate is a pretty collegial place. we do not dislike each other. we have to work together. of robustlong history debates over the history of this country. thate to remind students anything you may have heard us other -- say about each posing in comparison to what adams and jefferson said about each other. we have not had a single incident where i congress almost the to death another man with a cane.
a robust debate is not unusual. it has been going on for a very long time. moment,every critical in this country, we have come together to do -- to do what needed to be done to move the ball down the field. look at people probably conclude me and something very different. in fact, there is a great tradition of senate leaders working together. in 1990, george mitchell and bob dole work together to pass the americans with disabilities act. workr lott and tom daschle -- wrote a book together. one of the most visible ways that chuck and i are seen together is every day when the senate floor opens for business.
after the prayer and the pledge of allegiance, each of us has the -- has the opportunity to offer opening remarks detailing our views. speak firsty, i followed by the democratic leader. now that we have this show on .he road, i am the warm-up act i am thrilled to have my good friend, the democratic leader of the senate here this morning. join me in welcoming chuck schumer. [applause] >> thank you. thank you everybody. it is so great to be here with you. what a wonderful room and thank
you mitch for that kind and generous introduction. we really do get along despite what you read in the press. mitch will tell you i like to start off with a little story, a little joke. nocolleagues sometimes say one laughs harder at these drugs than i do. this is a story -- at these jokes than i do. i am blessed. my dad is 94, my mom is 89. life. struggled his whole he had an exterminating business that was not very successful. at age 70, he retired. my brother who is a corporate lawyer and the financially successful schumer bought them a little house in florida. every winter, they drive in their car down to florida. my dad never played golf before.
he took up golf. they had a good time. as they got older, they -- things changed a little bit. many of their friends passed on. florida atlantic university -- is any senior citizen allowed to take a course for free. my parents enrolled in a course called humor. 4:00 p.m.,day at they went to the course called humor. some of the erstwhile comedian who never made it in the catskills would get up and tell jokes for 45 minutes. my dad never went to college. he said, g college is pretty easy. they called me each week with their favorite jokes. this is one of them. mrs. walters is brought before the judge. the judging rolls his eyes, you
are back. what did you steal this time, mrs. walters? i stole a can of peaches from the supermarket. the judge is clearly exasperated. he says, i know you are a kleptomaniac. i know you cannot help yourself. i know you can't afford a can of peaches. the lord say, this is march. you have been arrested for shoplifting 17 times. i have no choice but the sentence you to time in jail. how many peaches were in the cap? there were four peaches in the camp. i'm going to sentence you for one night free speech. a gentleman get a top all excited -- it's all excited. he said, i am her husband. she also stole a can of peas. [laughter]
when you students get old enough to retire and move to florida, you can enroll to florida atlantic university and call your children. it is great to be here. thist to recognize incredible group of young scholars. you're going to have a positive and lasting impact on your state, on your country. give yourselves a round of applause. you are our future. [applause] the scholars are so good, i recruit them. one of the wonderful mcconnell scholars will be an intern in my d.c. office this summer. jasper, stand up. [applause]
credit also goes to the great director of the mcconnell center, gary greg has done an outstanding job at the helm are almost two decades. i would like to thank my friend mitch mcconnell for this gracious invitation. i really respect and appreciate what mitch and his wife have accomplished here. nurturing the next generation of right kentucky leaders. york, i have worked hard to support our network. a world-class public university. and try to attack -- try to attract companies. that is just what the mcconnell center does for kentucky. you should be very proud. much of the coverage about mitch mcconnell and me focuses on the differences between us and the two states we represent.
the truth is, there are plenty of things that lynch mitch's hometown and my hometown. linkbasketball -- that mitch his hometown and my hometown. i ask how are they doing in the rankings? i don't last them this year is much. [laughter] i did not want to miss this opportunity that two of the three louisville basketball teams ever to win the national championship was led by new yorkers. in 2013, it was kevin ware and russ smith from the bronx in brooklyn -- from the bronx and brooklyn. you never know. here is another thing you might not realize we have in common. bourbon.
it turns out that brooklyn where i was born, raised, and still proudly live produces some of the best written -- best bourbon in the world. i know that is a contentious thing to say in these parts. this particular burden -- bourbon is distilled right around the corner from the apartment from where i live for more than 30 years. it is filtered through the same limestone that was used to build some of new york's iconic structures from the brooklyn bridge to the statue of liberty. as a thank you for his invitation, i would like to give this bottle. [applause]
mitch and i do not agree on a lot of things as you just heard. he will never agree that new york bourbon even counts as bourbon. when we need to come together to solve our countries problems, we can and do successfully work together. as the longest-serving leader of the senate republican caucus, he understands the pressure that every leader faces. i am new at the job. we try our best to understand each other. to never ask things that are impossible of the other. to be honest and respectful. to work in good faith and chives to meet the middle where ever possible. that is how we get things done in the senate. sometimes it does not happen. it is no secret that i did not
agree with the way health care and tax legislation were considered in the senate. sometimes it does happen. in the earlyk hours of friday morning, the senate passed a two-year budget deal that provides significant investment in our military and in our middle class including funding to fight the opioid epidemic, improve veterans health care, and relieve the student burden -- student debt burden. it is an extent -- it is a significant remit -- a significant achievement. it shows that even in divisive climates, the senate can be the place where the business of a nation gets done. last april, mitch and i cut our first budget deal. budget ofssed a sanctions against president putin. we now have this two-year budget agreement which hopefully will lead the way.
mitch is an appropriator. that we can do appropriation bills throughout this year and the next where genuine bipartisanship happens every day. we have proven that the senate can function when the -- when both parties work in a bipartisan way and endeavor for compromises. this week, the senate will have an opportunity to build on that progress. the senate is poised to take up one of the most contentious issues, immigration. to his creditll has promised an open process that is fair to both sides. democrats and republicans are laboring to find a bill to protect the dreamers and provide border security and garner 60 votes. it will not be easy. we are all going to try because of the gravity of the issues at stake. we know this week will be a test of whether the senate can steer
the ship through the stormy as the waters. i believe it can. we have shown the senate can lead before, and it must do so again. the president is the president. that has theate potential to act as a beacon of stable leadership and progress in a political culture plagued by gridlock, vision, and rancor. we have a special obligation to this country. the senate where each individual senator is empowered to the , where theinority morals make bipartisanship not just a goal but practically a nice set -- practically a necessity. we all know what president washington called it, the cooling saucer for the hot tea of politics.
if there was ever a time when our politics needed a cooling saucer, it is now. that is what our history teaches us. we begin this week on immigration. i am sure it will not be the last issue on which the leadership in the senate is required. i am hopeful that the same spirit that led mitch and i to a budget deal -- that spirit of bipartisanship and compromise of rooting country before party will lead us to immigration and the many challenges to come. best lincoln said the thing for politicians to do is tell stories. i like to do that. i thought i would conclude by telling you young folks how i got into politics. the question i get most asked when i get into campus. mitch just came out with a book that documents his journey into politics.
unlike many of you and unlike mitch, as a high school senior, i had no idea that politics what end up here in my life. i went to a working-class high school in brooklyn, james madison high school. my father was an exterminator. from that working-class high school, i got into harvard. that did not happen very often. i got in for two reasons. i was a decent but not great basketball player. was wem motto at madison may be small, but we are slow. [laughter] had to get a job when i was 14 to help my family. there was a madison high school teacher advertising for somebody to run something called a mimeo machine. how many of you young people have heard of it?
there was a day before xerox machines. you would type a stencil and put it on a clunky machine and turn it. i got the job. thiswas the new business madison high school teacher was starting? he had this brilliant idea. he was going to prepare students for the sats. ? what was his name --sold the business to what to the washington post for tens of millions of dollars. i worked there nights and weekends. the business took off the second year. the machine went around and around. i read the preparatory materials over and over. i took five tests and i got four 800s. said, youce counselor should apply to harvard. you are in appellee with 800 --
an athlete with 800. the one guy from my high school who went on to harvard before me. he was a basketball player. i said how my going to make it to this place? he said try out for the freshman basketball team. they are terrible, so you will make it. those will be your friends. it is the fourth day of school, and tryouts. the coach calls me out. oh you went to madison? house coach so-and-so? he looks at me quizzically. he said, you play forward? how tall are you? i said i am 6'1" sir. he said, can you dribble? i said that is not my strong suit. he said go home. he didn't watch me touch of all.
i was distraught and wrote my mom i note. i said i'm coming home monday. that night, someone else in my door and asked if i'd like to join the harvard democrats. we are working for a man named eugene mccarthy. i did not have a political bone in my body. my father was a republican, and my mother was a democrat. i was against the war, so i said ok. i got on a bus the next morning and went up to new hampshire. it was like sports. we would not on the doors. we had a great time. i was so good that i was given a high title and the my carthy -- in the mccarthy campaign. they had to mimeo machines and i knew had to run them.
it was a ramshackle campaign. history,member your mccarthy did not quite where the primary. he came within three or four points. lyndon johnson, a man who i admire. saltrare act of humility, that the country is against me -- saw the country is against me and said i'm not going to run. i said to myself, well. nobodies andsorted we topple the most powerful man in the world. what a system we have. this is what i want to dedicate my life to. for the rest of my days, i have been interested in politics. would pace the floor. he hated going to work monday morning. to this day, i wake up monday
morning and i love going to work. thank you very much for the opportunity. [applause] >> thank you senator schumer. senator schumer has agreed to take some questions. i know you have turned in cards. good morning senator. thank you for being here. i'm right here. first question from the audience. there has been talk of a blue wave of democrats winning seats in the 2018 midterms.
if this is to happen, what are the biggest obstacle democrats must overcome? goal, and i have said this publicly. in 2016 we did not do enough of this. people will make their own decisions about donald trump. we do know that an off years and is often a referendum on the president. his popularity levels are rather low particularly in districts where there are contested races. our mistake is that you cannot just run against donald trump. it is the job of we democrats to put together a strong cohesive economic group of proposals aimed at the middle class and those struggling to get their. there is a lot of discontent in america. people do not have faith in the future.
even at the height of the great median incomeen went much lower than it did in the last 10 years, that people had more hope for the future. that is our job as democrats. we always been the party of economic advancement. we may have lost some sight of that. we proposed a whole bunch of proposals. three of which actually got into the budget agreement. one to help begin to reduce the that sostudent loans many of you will carry on your backs. rural broadband. franklin roosevelt said in the 30's that every rural home should get electricity. he set up the rea. we democrats believe every rural home should have broadband. we are endeavoring to do that. third, childcare.
these days, with so many families where both parents work or single-parent families,. it is very hard to work ? what do you do with the kids we more than doubled the amount that went into the bipartisan childcare act. that is what we have to focus on. very important for the country as well as for winning back the seats in the house and the senate. >> thank you, senator. thank you for your time this morning. this person would like to know if you feel there is a lack of service leadership in politics today and would you please define what you think a service leader is? >> i really don't know what a servant leader is. who wrote the question? what is the servant leader?
leads --e who not only -- far toothat off often in our politics that talk replaces action. that is not a good thing. senate isople -- the an interesting place. it is only 100 people. you really get to look into the souls of people. it is very hard in a body that work so closely to hide who you are. i think the senator sue have the most respect are the people who get most things done not the people who make the most flamboyant or refined speeches. i think that role has always daysimportant in these
with so much press magnification and small and trivial things. that ultimate value of being a servant leader is very them or did. i think -- is very important. if you asked me to everyone of my colleagues is. >> thank you. automation is a challenge in the changing economy. automation increases into the 21st century, we make fewer jobs. what is the answer to this? >> i think many of us of all political spectrum struggle with this. it is a very difficult issue. it is not certain that efficiency and automation will reduce jobs. some have argued that it will increase jobs. a lot ofocks out small stores and hires people in
their warehouses. i think it is a real worry not just of leadership but of the average american. this is a very difficult issue i have not hired -- heard a good answer to. certain jobs -- i'm going to take a minute on this. wealthdeal economy, conglomerates to the top. i like to tell my constituents that the two bookends of the 20th century were henry ford and bill gates. each mass produced a major product that was very much needed by the country, cars and computer platforms. each became a multibillionaire because of it. americans believe that when you
create a new idea, you become very wealthy. here is the difference between ford and gates. -- theyated so to speak may not be exactly accurate -- ford created a million jobs where peoples can make 10,000 jobs a year. he needed people to make the cars and service the cars and transport the cars. bill gates is addition to society of mass-producing a computer platform was equally important. because it was fundamentally an idea, it was an idea. he created 10,000 people so to speak who made a million dollars a year. how do we deal with that issue? where ideaseconomy
can be transmitted at no cost because of the internet, wealth will continue unabated to conglomerate to the top. it is one of the differences make and i had of the tax bill. part of my skepticism was because of what i am telling you. there are certain jobs that will be more and more important in society that add human dignity and grace. we should think about how we might transform the so they garner more pay and respect. one for meat would be teacher. me would bene for teachers. another is people who take care of the elderly. who is going to take care of these people? maybe it should not be a job where you just get paid the lowest possible wage. those are hardly complete answers but it is what i'm beginning to think about.
had he feel about the possibility of instituting congressional term limits? >> i am against them. i'm better at this job today that i am five years ago. you would not have term limits for other jobs that demanded certain skills. you are not demand that a surgeon stopped doing surgery. ballplayer. i would rather it would be by the merits and let the public make a judgment. there are other things i do to make incumbency less successful if you will, particularly campaign-finance reform. the constitution the not originally see the role partisanship would originally play in congress. how you interpreted your
responsibility and adapted your leadership style both in your party and the senate? >> the two are sort of the same. the number one thing a good leader -- we have very diverse parties. i have bernie sanders and joe manchin. i think what makes us most successful and helps us represent broadly all of america is to try and create unity in our offices. -- it is adeavor very interesting moment. it is one of the highlights of being senator. every tuesday, we have caucuses. they are really open discussions. less frequently than you would think, what happens week -- what happens leaks out.
i make an effort to tell by caucus that we have to understand each other. we may not agree with each other, but if we could work together in a unified way and that applies to the democratic party, we do a lot better. of party as a unifier in a certain sense in a divided and fractious country where things are more atomized than ever and actually be a unifier and not a separator. i see that as one of the very most important roles i have as already leader. to try and get my entire caucus to work together. this year we have had a good success -- a good deal of success doing that. in light of decreased funding for the epa, how do you plan to attack our air and water quality? >> i agree with you that the idea of removing so many people
from the epa does not make sense. most americans believe in clean water and clean air. we have seen what happens when we do not have it just in terms of life expectancy. the fact that our air and water are cleaner, life expectancy is considerably higher. i think that it is important , whichese regulations help enforce clean air and clean water makes sense. there are things called externalities. you do something that makes the air dirtier, it does not hurt you necessarily, but it hurts tens of thousands and maybe millions of people. economists have always searched for a way that we can capture externalities. clean air andse,
clean water are supposed to capture externalities. we democrats have endeavored in -- we will of 2017 be debating what is called the on the this -- to make sure there are not severe cuts to employees in the epa. is doingthink prewitt the country a service by eliminating the employees. >> should individuals who enlist in the military be guaranteed a certain accelerated path to citizenship? >> the broad issue of immigration reform -- one of the moments i was proud of in the senate, is when john mccain who is a great man and we pray for his health -- and i let a gang of eight, four democrats and
, we putublicans together a comprehensive immigration reform bill. that was a very fine bill that did most of the things you hear 80% of the people talking about -- we want a path for citizenship for our people. we went secure borders. we want to admit some of the people from abroad who cover and study science year. -- and study science here. we need agricultural workers because we do not have enough. that was in that bill. it was a very good bill. we provided a path to citizenship for the 11 million -- not just the dreamers. it was not amnesty.
here is what you have to do to become a citizen. you had to work. you had to pay back taxes. you had to pledge loyalty to the united states. you had to admit wrongdoing. you had to go to the back of the line. if somebody crossed the border else had, but someone waited at the embassy in 2006 wouldtly, the 2006 person get ahead of the 2007 person. you had toans here learn english to get a green card. unfortunately some in the media -- in the media world, label this amnesty. it is not amnesty at all. president trump has said to me a , i would like to
do comprehensive immigration reform. maybe, if we get past this dreamer issued successfully, we might be able to go back to that. i am not at all certain. if the president would want to lead on that in a bipartisan way, we might be able to get something done. that is the best way to deal with the issue you brought up. >> can you elaborate on your plan to reduce the cost of higher education? >> there are a couple of issues here. one is student debt burden. the federal government is making a profit on the backs of people andget out of college graduate school because they are paying a much higher interest rate than the interest rate you get from buying a house. ought toats believe we
lower that rate. i also believe and support for higher education. in upstate new york where we have had a lot of problems in terms of manufacturing leaving and the number of good paying jobs not there as much as they used to be, our universities both public and private are on t. -- are on t i also believe in a program where community colleges would train people for the jobs that are needed and are much more focused on what we call the skills gap where there are lots of unfilled jobs and unemployed people but the unemployed people do not have the skills. i think our focus on higher education is more needed than ever before. it is our future in terms of jobs and in terms of the
question that was asked earlier about how do people find new jobs in this economy with automation. here appreciate you being today. this will be our last question. how do you respond to senator rand paul's comments that bipartisanship that increases ending is not the kind of bipartisanship we need? , i will be candid here. i think rand paul is a very fine man. his believes are genuine and sincere. he has a large amount of courage to go forward when no one else will. his idea of railing against the deficit on this bipartisan deal after he supported a 1.5 trillion dollar increase in the -- 80% ofr tax cuts
1% --are aimed at the top ring very hollow. tax paul voted against that bill because it would increase the deficit by such a large amount. he would have the benefit of the argument when he stood on the floor and railed against this bill which increased the deficit by maybe another $300 million. are a deficit all, you have to be a deficit hawk all the way through. you can't pick an issue and say i am a deficit hawk on the .ilitary but not on domestic --nding each side has its each side has its rationale. most economists even conservative economists don't buy that. on the liberal side, increase
funding for education and infrastructure and we won't have a deficit. willof these arguments undercut any ability to get the deficit down. down, for deficit both sides to get the deficit down, each side cannot pick i am a deficit hawk on this issue not that issue. thank you very much everybody. [applause] >> again thank you enough this morning for your insightful and
entertaining remarks at a time when many americans see politics in such a state. leaders have a willingness to work together for the good of the whole. as a small token of our appreciation, i would like to present you with a clock. it has a university of louisville minerva. as a token of our appreciation of your presence here today and your leadership of this country. >> thank you very much. [applause] story of my life, mitch gets the bourbon, i get the clock. [laughter]
>> thank you all for being here. i appreciate you all coming out. please be safe on your way home. >> on capitol hill, the house is out today. the senate gavels in and about two hours to begin debate on immigration legislation. mitch mcconnell says he will allow any amendment as long as they can receive 60 votes in the senate. you can watch that live on c-span2. tomorrow for ack three day work week before the presidents' day holiday. working on a measure to step up investigations for service members missing in action, finance legislation for mortgage lending. you can watch the house live here on c-span.
c-span, where history unfold daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy of events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite are lighter. -- satellite provider. >> president trump's budget request for the next fiscal year was delivered to congress this morning. you can see the president proposal being taken down the hallways while white house budget director mick mulvaney says the proposal includes $220 billion for infrastructure spending. the egg knowledge on fox news sunday that the present argent
>> mick mulvaney will be on capitol hill to testify before the senate budget committee about the senate's budget request. live coverage at 10:00 a.m. on c-span. treasury secretary steven mnuchin will testify before the senate i nats committee. that is at 10:30 eastern on c-span3. are live in little rock arkansas on tuesday morning for the next stop on the c-span bus 50 capitals tour. arkansas capital asa hutchinson will be our guest starting at 9:00 a.m. eastern. >> for our monday roundtable on the week ahead in washington, we are joined by a white house reporter for reuters and paul singer.