tv Senate Democrats on Leadership Elections CSPAN November 15, 2018 6:38am-6:51am EST
♪ place of ais was the lot of racial tension but it was also the place of lot of racial harmony. been no cotton economy, there might not have been the need for a transportation hub so without cotton, memphis might not have existed in the 20th century. this weekend, the c-span city tour takes you to memphis, tennessee. beginning saturday at 7:00 p.m. we talkon book tv, about the book "down to the crossroads." another author on the road music played in country so making music and making race in the american south. on sunday at 2:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv, the history of cotton in memphis during the mid-19th century and then a visit to the national civil rights museum.
tour ofspan's city memphis saturday at 7:00 p.m. eastern and sunday at 2:00 p.m. on american history tv on c-span3 as we explore america. ♪ ♪ >> senate democrats held a closed our meeting to choose their leaders reelecting chuck schumer as minority leader, dick durbin minority whip, patty murray as the assistant leader and they spoke to capitol hill reporters. -- and debbie stab and now as position of party chair. and they spoke to capitol hill reporters.
senator schumer: ok. i'm joined by our leadership team and dirk durbin and mike warner is part of it. here is dick durbin. mike warner will be here -- mark warner will be here shortly. first, i want to thank all of my colleagues for the support they have shown me, the confidence they have shown me. but we're really a team. we have worked together as a team for the last two years, and we'll continue to do that. i love every member of my caucus. i truly do. they're all great people, different views, different backgrounds, but everyone works
hard to see other people's points of view and that's why we have been able to come together, because of the unity. the unity in our caucus has been our strength, and it will continue stronger than ever in the 116th congress. when we stood here two years ago, we faced a daunting electoral map. the worst in decades. and we faced difficult questions about how best to serve the people with such an unconventional president in the white house. two years later, let's take stock. thanks to the unity of our caucus, we beat back republican efforts to repeal health care. 30 million people have health care because of this caucus. and the republican assault on the health care system continues. they continue to pursue their destructive lawsuit to eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions. costs are made higher and higher. coverage gets diminished every
day because of republicans' sabotage. prescription drugs are out of reach for too many, and the g.o.p. knives are still out for social security, medicare and medicaid. republicans jammed through a bias tax bill that awarded the wealthy and powerful special interests but we, democrats, were unified in opposition. we made it clear day after day after day that the republicans were the party that stands for the rich and for the wealthy special interests, and we were the party on the side of middle-class americans and those struggling to get there. republicans predicted the tax bill would save their party, lead to enormous victories in the mid-terms. it turns out they were afraid to , even talk about it in, in almost all of their complains they didn't mention it. that's because it was so unpopular. there is a sea change. for 30 years the powerful wealthy few that dictated tax
policy on the republican side, cut the taxes of the rich and that's a great thing for america, that's over. i think our message, our focus has put a knife through the heart of that argument. you won't see the republicans doing that very much anymore. what it did do -- what they did do is explode the deficit. as a result, people thought -- saw it selfish, narrowly focused, dangerous and irresponsible. and so with the senate map wildly tilted in republicans' favor, we're at worst only one seat worse off than we were when we stood here two years ago and if bill nelson wins, which i believe he has a very good chance of doing, we'll be even. when all the votes counted in florida, we could be just where we started at the beginning of the 115th congress, with 48 members, even facing the worst map we ever had.
we were defending 10 seats that donald trump won. much to the surprise of the prognosticators who thought we'd lose a whole bunch of seats, we didn't. but that's the past. where do senate democrats go from here? we're going to be relentlessly focused on the issues that matter to the people. first and foremost, lower health care costs, provide better, stronger coverage, from prescription drugs to premiums. we democrats are going to continue to press our republican colleagues for better, more comprehensive health care rather than send costs skyward and help the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry. we democrats believe in a real infrastructure bill with real direct and robust federal investments that will rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges, expand high-speed internet, access in rural areas, and put millions -- 10 million americans to work in good-paying jobs,
including fields like clean energy, along the way. we need to clean up washington in a real way. rather than paying lip service to the idea of draining the swamp, which is all republicans have done, they paid lip service and made it worse, led by president trump making it worse, we are going to fight hard to clean the swamp. the trump administration is the most ethically challenged in history. from the president to his cabinet and congressional republicans have backed up that swamp all the way. we're going to fight for real reforms, to loosen the grip of special interests in washington and to let everybody vote. everybody. not stand in the way of people voting, which is a despicable, despicable thing for people to do. it's against the well-spring of our democracy. we hope our colleagues in the house will have success in
passing bills like this. we will be relentless here in the senate, in pressuring senator mcconnell and republicans in the senate to put them on the floor or pay the consequences. the american people voted for democrats last week on the strength of our ideas. senate democrats are committed to fighting to make those ideas a reality in this upcoming congress. reporter: senator schumer, with respect to florida, sir, i know yesterday you appeared with mr. nelson. can you share with us some of the conversations you had with him? what are his thoughts on this? senator schumer: well, bill nelson is strong as could be. he believes, i believe, he's won a majority of the votes. as long as they're counted, he will continue being senator from florida. the -- president trump and governor scott have just lied. they said there's fraud when their own republican officials in florida have said there's no fraud.
they are trying to shut down the election because they're afraid of the consequences if they don't. in other words, a nelson victory. that's what bill believes. that's what i believe. reporter: do you believe the deadline should be moved out? senator schumer: every vote should be counted. those deadlines, if you remember, were passed after the presidential election of 2000 because of the need to report to the electoral college. we in the senate don't have an electoral college. and every vote ought to count. it is unconstitutional to say every vote should count in rural counties because they can count quickly but every vote shouldn't count in the more urban and populated counties because it takes them longer to count the vote. yes. reporter: do you think they could see a partial government shutdown in december? what might be the big hang-ups? senator schumer: the republicans are in charge. in the government shuts down it's on their back. now, we want a couple of things. we want to make sure that the acting attorney general does not interfere with the mueller investigation, and we believe our republican colleagues can --
will join us. you'll see on the floor later today a bipartisan unanimous consent statement -- unanimous consent request to prevent the acting attorney general whitaker from interfering. and we believe if president trump stays out of the appropriations process, we can have a good bipartisan agreement and the government can move smoothly forward. democrats and republicans have agreed on 70% of the budget. in a way where each side gave where the government was funded and many of our priorities -- veterans, education, infrastructure, opioid were funded in a robust way. as long as trump doesn't interfere, we can move the government forward. >> [inaudible] >> are democrats willing to give more than $1.6 million -- the $1.6 billion for the border wall? senator schumer: the democrats and republicans came to the $1.6 billion agreement. it is tough security.
it is sensors. it is drones. it is roads. it is help at the border in a far more effective way than the wall. we believe democrats and republicans should stick with their agreement and not let president trump interfere. every time he interferes it gets mixed up. reporter: a number members of your caucus, including the folks standing around you, are considering whether they want to run for president. how does that affect the dynamics in your caucus and your leadership strategy? senator schumer: the bottom line is that our caucus is unified. people have re-elections coming up. people may want to run for higher office. it has never stood in the way of our unity. every time we have needed unity, every one of the people in this caucus, whether they're running for re-election, running for higher office, have stood with us and that will continue, i am confident. thank you, everybody.