Transcript: Sen. Chuck Schumer’s remarks on the continuing resolution to avert government shutdown – Sept. 30, 2013

Partial transcript of remarks by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on a “clean” continuing resolution to avert government shutdown. The press briefing was held on Sept. 30, 2013:

Well, in all my years in Washington, I’ve never seen anything like what the hard right Republicans are doing now. Their hostage-taking tactics have left us less than 10 hours away from a government shutdown…9 hours 17 minutes 20 seconds.

Now, some on the right says, “Oh, this always happens.” They say people always compromise and make deals to keep the government running. They say, “Oh, we’ve had shutdowns before.”

It’s true. There have been shutdowns before but wasn’t like this one. It was never the intent – the stated intent and actual intent – of one side to shut down the government if they didn’t get their way. There were disagreements on extraneous issues like abortion and the clock run out of time and they had to fund the government, but it wasn’t the intent of one side or the other saying, “Unless I get my way on abortion, I’m shutting down the government.”

Never before – never before in our history has one party threatened a government shutdown if they don’t get 100% of what they want on an issue totally unrelated to the budget.

The best analogy I can think of? Let’s say Nancy Pelosi during the TARP debate when the world economy was teetering on the edge of a cliff and George Bush was President and needed the vote said she wouldn’t pass TARP unless Republicans roll back all the Bush tax cuts. The analogy is exactly the same.

The danger is real. What they’re asking is the number one priority of the Obama administration just like the Bush tax cuts were in their administration.

So it would be like a group of members – if we gave into this, next what about a group of rural members saying, “We’re going to shut down the government unless we get the farm bill just as we’d like.” What about a group of civil libertarians saying, “We’ll shut down the government unless NSA stops the metadata program.” It could go on and on. It would be absurd and it would be unprecedented.

Now, I heard a couple of Republicans say that they have – they’re compromising by moving from defunding Obamacare to just delaying it a year. That’s like saying we’re compromising – instead of cutting both your arms off, we’ll only cut one off. Aren’t we great?

Never before has one side, either Democrats or Republicans, made such extreme demands.

Now the funny thing is Speaker Boehner knows he won’t succeed but the hard right is demanding a pound of flesh to show how serious they are, how much they hate Obamacare. By going along with the hard right, Speaker Boehner is like the ancient Mayans making a sacrificial offering to the gods by refusing to accept the queen’s CR. But he’s putting the economy, the paychecks of millions of Americans on the sacrificial altar as he shuts down the government.

Rather than doing the right thing and abandoning the hard right, Speaker Boehner is holding out the forlorn hope that by sending us new demands day in and day out Democrats will capitulate. He’s wrong and we won’t.

And why? Well, just think about it. If we give an inch on the CR, they’re going to take a mile on the debt ceiling. The hard right will say, “See? They gave in. Let’s demand more.” And they’ll do the same thing on the full-length CR in December. If you give into these tactics on any particular issue, it encourages them to happen again and again and again, and…our government is tied in one big knot and the economy goes down the drain.

We won’t be extorted now. We won’t be extorted two weeks from now. We won’t be extorted in December.

Speaker Boehner, pass our bill.


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