Schumer Tells Republicans How It’s Going to Be: No Repeal, No Replace

Susan Jones | March 27, 2017 | 6:14am EDT
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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tells ABC's "This Week" that Democrats will go along with Republicans, as long as Republicans embrace Democrat ideas, on Sunday, March 26, 2017. (Screen grab from ABC's "This Week.")

( – Democrats did not win the presidency, the House or the Senate last year, but never mind: Democrats are willing to work with Republicans, as long as Republicans go along with Democrats – on health care, tax reform and infrastructure.

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, “We Democrats, provided our Republican colleagues drop replace and stop undermining the ACA, are willing to work with our Republican friends--”

“Right now you're going to make a proposal?” host George Stephanopoulos interrupted Schumer:

“As long as they say no more repeal,” Schumer responded. “That's a loser. Seventeen percent of Americans liked Trumpcare. That's it. They didn't want it. And stop undermining ACA. And we'll work with them.

“We have ideas, they have ideas, to try to improve Obamacare. We never said it was perfect. We always said we'd work with them to improve it. We just said repeal was off the table.”

Getting personal, Schumer also said it wasn’t “presidential” of President Trump to say he would “destroy” Obamacare (a system that is imploding all on its own): “That's petulance,” Schumer said. “Being petulant, not a president. It's not going to work.

“The job of the president is to make Americans' lives better. And if he, out of anger or vengeance or whatever, starts undermining ACA, it's going backfire on him because he's the president and the American people know he's in charge and they want him to make things better.”

Schumer said Republicans who continue to insist on repealing Obamacare will “get nowhere.”

“So they ought to get rid of repeal. Drop it. It's been a flop for them because of the substance of repeal. And work with us to improve it.”

Schumer also said the Republican tax cut plan will “get nowhere” if the GOP repeats the mistakes it made with Obamacare:

If you analyze, George, what went wrong with ACA, the president exhibited two traits that are not very helpful. And if he repeats them in tax reform, they'll get nowhere.

The first is basic lack of competence. You cannot run the presidency like you run a real estate deal. You can't tweet your way through pit. You can't threaten and intimidate and say I'll walk away. It's more complicated.

But even more to the point, the president campaigned as a populist against the Democratic and Republican establishments. But he's been captured by the hard right wealthy special interests. That's who loved his proposal on the Trumpcare, because it gave huge tax cuts to the rich.

If they do the same thing on tax reform, and the overwhelming majority of the cuts go to the very wealthy, the special interests, corporate America, and the middle class and poor people are left out, they'll lose again.

Asked if the Democrats will fight Trump on tax reform, Schumer said they won’t, but again -- only if Trump does what Democrats want:

"If he aims a proposal aimed at the middle class and the poor people, doesn't give breaks to the rich -- they're doing great, God bless them, I'm glad they're doing great; they don't need another tax break -- we could work with them.

“But I don't think they're headed in that direction, and they're going repeat the same mistake they made on Trumpcare with tax reform.”

Asked if Democrats could work with Republicans on an infrastructure bill, Schumer said maybe – again, if Republicans do it the Democrats’ way:

“Again, it's a question of values,” Schumer said. “Infrastructure's something we Democrats have put in a proposal. It has the support of our entire caucus, $1 trillion of infrastructure, which creates about 15 million new, good-paying jobs. So we like it.

“But here's where the president seems to be headed again -- special interests. Wealthy special interests. Let's do it by tax breaks. The tax breaks he's proposing, 82 cents on the dollar, goes to the financiers. That's one problem. So you're not getting bang for the buck.

“Two, in the places where those tax breaks will work, you're getting huge tolls. The American people don't want tolls on every highway. And third, it building nothing in rural America and large parts of exurban America because they just can't pay those tolls. So if they want to actually spend some money…we'll talk to them for sure.”

Schumer said Trump ran as a populist but “the minute he got into office,” he moved “so far to the hard right that it’s virtually impossible for us to work with him.

“If he changes, he could have a different presidency. But he's going to have to tell the Freedom Caucus and the hard right special wealthy interests who are dominating his presidency -- but he didn't campaign for them, he campaigned on the opposite -- he's going to have to tell them he can't work with them and we'll certainly look at his proposals.”

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