Transcript: Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-New York) remarks on the Senate’s passage of H.R. 2775 to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling – Oct. 16, 2013

Partial transcript Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-New York) remarks on the Senate’s passage of H.R. 2775 to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling on Oct. 16, 2012:

Well, thank you. Today is not a happy day…It’s a somber day. We finally achieved our goal but frankly we ended up where we started.

When we started, we said we would do three things: fund the government, pay our bills, and agree to negotiate.

We started there and that’s where we ended up. That’s exactly what the law does. No more, no less.

And so the bottom line is millions suffered, millions didn’t get paychecks, the economy was dragged down, and confidence and faith in the United States’s credit and in the United States’s itself around the world was shaken.

So this is not a happy day. It’s a somber day. Because, at the end of the day, we’ve never should have gone through what we went through.

We started here. We ended here.

Second point: There are 3 people I think who I like to praise. Can’t do it enough.

First, of course, is our leader Harry Reid. He stood so firm. From the beginning, it was his resolve we could not bow to the kind of tactics that were being used by a small minority on the other side. He was stalwart. He never buckled. He never flinched. He never doubted. He gave strength to the rest of us. And the whole caucus was united behind him.

Second, I’d like to praise the President. The President, again, in every time that we saw him, every time that we dealt with him, was stalwart from the beginning, realizing that the kinds of tactics used by the other side and permitted to be used by the other side would be used again and again and again.

And finally, my hat goes off to Sen. [Mitch] McConnell. He’s in a very difficult situation politically. And once he saw that Speaker Boehner and the House were tied in a total knot, he knew he had the obligation to step up even if it might hurt him in his campaign. I respect that. I think everyone of my Democratic colleagues respects that. And it’s something that I’ll remember.

Final point: If there’s a silver lining in this gray cloud, it is that the politics – the reckless politics – of brinksmanship has reached its peak. That is what we hoped and that is what I believe. It as shown that brinksmanship doesn’t work if the other side will not give in. When a small fraction says that “I’m going to hurt a whole lot of people unless you give into me”, the temptation of good-hearted, good-minded people is to give in because innocent people are being hurt. But unfortunately, if we gave in this time, we’d be back doing the same thing next quarter and the quarter after that and the quarter after that, and the brinksmanship would get worse – the kind of politics where they put a gun to your head and say, “Unless you do what I want you to do, I’m going to hurt a whole lot of people.”

And yet, tonight in the Senate and hopefully in the House, a large group of the other party for the first time stood up to the brinksmanship.

And it is our hope – indeed it’s our prayer – that that brinksmanship has reached its peak and that we can go back to the normal way of legislating, where every side compromises and we produce a product that is good for the American people. With Patty’s leadership, I’m hopeful that can start in the budget negotiations, which will start immediately. I’m hopeful it could occur in the House on immigration. And I’m hopeful it could occur in both bodies on the major issues facing us.

If brinksmanship has peaked, if the kind of politics we have unfortunately witnessed over the last several years recedes and the politics of comity and compromise starts rising, then maybe these awful three weeks would have been worth it.



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