New York Senator Chuck Schumer demanded his Democratic colleagues work on behalf of working Americans in a speech on the Senate floor as he was sworn in as Senate Minority Leader Jan. 3.
“We Democrats lost an election. It was not a result any of us expected. When you lose an election like this, you can’t flinch. You can’t blink,” he said. “It is easy to look back and place blame, but now is the time to look forward. We Democrats should take a hard look at what we could do better…. we didn’t do enough to show workers that we were the ones who have their backs.”
Mr. Schumer said economic justice, a commitment to economic fairness for American workers and opportunities for the middle class are “a mission that unites our caucus.”
“We are not in the majority. We cannot delude anyone into thinking this Congress will start up tomorrow doing the will of the minority,” he added. “It is not our job to be a rubber stamp. It is our job to do what’s best for the American people, the middle class and those struggling to get there. If the President-elect proposes legislation that achieves that – on issues like infrastructure, trade, and closing the carried interest loophole, for instance – we will work in good faith to perfect and, potentially, enact it. When he doesn’t, we will resist.”
“What we will always do is hold the President-elect and representatives in Congress accountable —Accountable to working people. Accountable to people of all creeds. Accountable to the millions of Americans who voted for him. And perhaps most importantly, Mr. President, accountable to the law,” he added. “We are a nation of laws, not men. That sacred constitutional duty to the law must endure and we will make sure of it.”
“This will be an Accountability Congress. And we will be a caucus that works to make sure the President-elect keeps his commitment to truly make America great, in its finest sense and tradition,” he said in closing. “We know what makes America great: a fundamental optimism. We will hold President-elect Trump accountable to the values that truly make America great.”