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Charles Schumer
  U.S. Senate Sen. Schumer Reacts to State of the Union Address  CSPAN  February 6, 2019 8:48pm-9:05pm EST

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divide our nation. the president offered a chance to walk together, unified, along a higher road. both the tone and the substance of his speech would strike any fair observer as reasonable and thoroughly bipartisan. once again, the only way this divided congress will be able to choose greatness and deliver significant legislation for the american people is by focusing on, as president trump put it, cooperation, compromise, and the common good. that will need to be our motto moving forward. the nation we love deserves no less, and the american people will be watching us. the presiding officer: we are. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: last night, president trump had the opportunity to bring our parties together and offer the congress and the country a new vision for the next two years of divided government. president trump squandered the
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opportunity with a forgettable and at oftentimes incoherent speech. at times he called for unity without specifics. at other times he served up divisive campaign rhetoric that he has used so frequently in the past. the president's speech was like a 90-minute performance of dr. jekyll and mr. hyde, calling for comity but lacing it throughout with invective. unfortunately, president trump seemed more excited and placed more emphasis on the mr. hyde parts of the speech than on the dr. jekyll. listen to a few of the contradictions in this speech. there were so many, can't mention all of them. president trump says he believes in legal immigration but not illegal immigration, but every bill he has pushed on immigration has cut legal immigration as well as illegal immigration, including the proposal he sent over now in the debates where he changes asylum
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process dramatically. president trump said he would only work with us in congress if we abandoned our oversight duties. back to his old tricks. hostage taking. i'm not going to advance the causes of the american people if congress investigates me. now, congress is supposed to do oversight of the executive branch. it's one of the things the founding fathers put in the constitution. they were weary of overweaning executive power. they wanted congress to be a check. what is president trump afraid of? if he weren't afraid of these investigations, if he weren't afraid of something that might be there that he did that was wrong, he'd shrug his shoulders and say let them go forward. instead he threatens. he threatens the american people. unless these investigations stop, i'm not going to move forward on anything. how about this one. this one made everybody's eyes
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roll, even on the republican side. he said if he weren't elected president, we'd be in a war with north korea. what hyperbole. not just hyperbole, what untruth. what selective memory. president trump began his time in office by precipitously ramping up tensions with north korea. under president obama they were much lower than they were with president trump. and maybe the most blatant contradiction of all which makes you just lose respect for the integrity and honesty of the president, the president -- president trump spoke about the need to defend protections for americans with preexisting conditions while at the very same time his administration is waging a lawsuit that would eviscerate protections for preexisting conditions. how can the president have the nerve to get up on the podium last night and say he wants to
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preserve preexisting conditions and wage a lawsuit, support a lawsuit that tries to undo them? it's shocking hypocrisy. that one maybe most of all, for a speech that had many. and of course there were a whole lot of omissions in the speech that many americans felt should have been placed in. let me give you an example. the president did talk about a few potentials for bipartisan compromise. we democrats would love to compromise with the president and come up with some things that would advance the causes of working families in america. he mentioned infrastructure and prescription drugs. but instead of offering substantive ideas and spending some time on these issues, he delivered a couple of lines about each and then moved on. it seemed obligatory and perfunctory. there was no real way to figure
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out is there a way we can come together and get something done? because he really didn't seem interested. now, he talked about the future of america and didn't even mention climate change. how could you do that? every scientist has stated, who has studied it knows that in the next ten, 20, 30, 40 years climate change is going to evoke huge changes in our country and in our world. if you believe in the future and you want to have a good future for our children and grandchildren which we all do, you can't ignore climate change. you may have different views on it but you can't ignore it. he also talked a great deal about the safety of the american people but not one mention about gun safety, not one. again, maybe not to president trump, maybe not to his hard-core supporters, but to the rest of america, to talk about need for security and safety of
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americans and not talk about gun safety misses the mark badly. and then he rattled off economic statistics, how great everything is. but completely ignored the difficult economic realities of working americans. why do so many americans not have faith in the future? why do so many americans worry that their children won't have as good a life economically as they do? because so much of what the president has done economically has benefited the top 10%. those improve the overall statistics but they don't improve the lives of the average middle class person. take the tax cut. a huge tax cut geared to the wealthy and the powerful corporations. and the president said each worker will get about $4,000 increase. didn't happen. wages are going up at a small
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amount. they're still way behind where they were in the past. and what did these companies do with all this huge tax break? a trillion dollars in buybacks, buybacks which benefit the corporate c.e.o.'s, which benefit the shareholders, but do nothing for the workers since so many of them don't own stock. in fact, the stock market has become more skewed. about 85% of the value of the shares is held by the top 10% of america. and then, of course, on the wall. he demanded congress fund his wall but showed no signs of remorse over the pointless trump government shutdown that he precipitated. he didn't mention the pain he caused to 800,000 federal workers, even though many of them were in the galleries listening.
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i brought as a guest a man named -- a man named ronan byrne. he works in the tracon, our control tower in new york. just had two twins, has two other kids. i saw the nice pictures. he came with his wife. she quit her job to help -- when the twins came along. and when he lost his salary at a tense job like that, when you have to be on all the time. i've been up there and it's dark and you see little dots and can't have them get too near each other because that's a safety issue for the people on the planes. and here he was worried about paying the bills and providing for his children. no mention of people like that, no. just about his wall. didn't work for the president. we know that. our republican colleagues, leader mcconnell knows that. i think even in his situation
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where he's often in a bubble and often only aimed at the narrow band of his supporters but he touched a hot stove and i don't think he wants to do it again but there was no mention. he should have used the speech to say we're not going to have another government shutdown. no word. no plan to tackle our opioid problem. no plan to increase wages for the middle class. no plan to increase manufacturing jobs. so anyone who hoped that the president would change course and offer some new bipartisan ideas where we could -- with some meat on the bone, where we could discuss it and begin to move forward to help the american people, anyone who hoped the president would do that sorely disappointed. as i said his real excitement came in the most divisive parts of his speech on immigration and abortion. now, so let's contrast his speech to stacy abrams. the crat between the president's speech and -- contrast between
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the president's speech and stacy abrams was stunning. the president was divisive, calculating and even at times nasty. miss abrams was compelling, warm, uplifting, showing real compassion for the plights of our average families but also filled with hope and inspired by the promise of the american dream, an uplifting speech. ms. abrams speech represented the unifying vision, understanding our challenges, but also having confidence in our ability to solve them that the president failed to deliver. in short, stacey abrams, last night, gave president trump a lesson in how to lead. javier basara, speaking from the high school he graduated from
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also gave a wonderful response in spanish. now, we all knew the president would say the state of our union was strong, but the american people know the unfortunate truth. on the economy, on health care, on governance, on foreign policy, it's abundantly clear that the trump administration has been getting failing grades from the american people. the state of the economy, the state of the trump economy, failing the middle class. wealthy shareholders, and corporate executives cash in from the trump tax bill, american workers are left behind. the state of the trump health care system, failing american families. everyone coverage is -- families. coverage is getting more expensive. and the amount of coverage is declining. this is the first year, due to the sabotage, fewer americans have health care than they did
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last year. first time -- first time in a way. the state of the trump administration, chaos. president trump has had the most cabinet turnover in more than a century. he's failed to nominate anyone to a fifth -- one-fifth of our government's position. for one-fifth of the positions, there's no nomination. this is two years into this president yich. the senate -- presidency. the senate had nothing to do with all the cabinet members who quit or resigned under a cloud -- nothing to do with that either. president trump likes to blame somebody else for the problems he creates. that's one of his m.o.'s. the state of president trump's foreign policy, inside-out -- inside-out, our longstanding allies, countries of nato have been alienated.
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our adversaries, russia, china, north korea have been emboldened because president trump doesn't stand up to them. during the national security section of the president's speech last night, the first item he mentioned wasn't russia's maligned activities, north korea's nuclear program, or even the crisis in venezuela, it's criticism for our nato allies. that says it all. so the president's state of the union last night did something rare for a state of the union address. it revealed just how much repair the state of our union requires, just how much work we still have to do to aid working americans left behind by an economy that only seems to work for the wealthy and well connected, to provide american families everywhere with affordable health care, to bring stability and accountability to a got --
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to a government too short on both, a government that seems to have made the swamp deeper and more odorous, and to further isolate our enemies and give comfort to our allies abroad. let us hope and pray that the country can heal, announcer 1: c-span's newest book, the senate, transport to decide the wing of the capital. it or any always, private workspaces and the historic meeting rooms. this keepsake is filled with beautiful photos of the art and
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architecture of the senate space and offer information about its rich history. to order your high-quality $18.95ck copy for just plus shipping, visit backncer 2: the house is to consider a bill that will consider medical servants to veterans. at thent trump speaks annual national prayer breakfast in washington at 845 dam -- 8:45 a.m. c-span3, the house energy and commerce subcommittee look at the trump committees policy for separating migrant fallacies --
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migrant families. at 2:00, the house ways and means committee meets to consider president and vice presidents disclosing their tax returns. next, law enforcement advocates and second amendment supporters testify in a judiciary hearing on gun violence prevention. speakers involved a survivor of last year's high school shooting in parkland, florida. >> the judiciary committee will come to order. without objection the chair is authorized to declare recess of the committee at any time. we welcome everyone to this morning's hearing on preventing gun violence, a call to action. i will now recognize myself for an opening statement. the epidemic of gun violence in this country is a national