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Senator Schumer Responds President Trump's Criticism on Twitter; Trump On Capitol Hill As Dems Drop Out for White House Meeting. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 28, 2017 - 12:30   ET


[12:30:02] SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK, MINORITY LEADER: We have the children's health insurance program. We must reinstate cost sharing for health premiums and out of pocket costs. We have to deal with disasters, we have to fund our defense and our non-defense sides of the government in a reasonable way.

There's so much to do. We're eager to get that done in a bipartisan way.

Obviously, the president isn't, but hopefully Leader McConnell and Speaker Ryan are. And we look forward to sitting down with them to resolve this in an amicable way as we did in April when the president wasn't involve and we got it done.

Now on the tax bill, Republican president -- now on the tax bill Mr. President, the Republican tax bill. We're only a few days away from a final vote. But from all reports, the Republicans are still debating significant changes to the text of the bill.

Some are angling for a change to the pass through provisions, feeling that a gargantuan new tax poll for many high income individuals need to be widened even further. Right now, it's reported that 70% of these pass-throughs go to the top 1%. The changes that are being proposed would make it even worse. Help small business, yes. Don't open a giant loophole for wealthy hedge funds, big shot law firms, lobbyists. We don't need that.

Others are rightly worried about the impact this bill they would have on the deficit and debt. What I remind all my Republican colleagues is that with any more changes, it's virtually certain you'll be voting on a bill without any expert analysis of its impacts. You'll be voting without any estimate of whether it will grow or shrink the economy. You'll be voting without a good sense of the long term impacts of the changes you're making to the tax code.

Certainly, one week of mark up in the Finance Committee with only one expert witness is not a satisfactory process particularly considering the changing nature of this bill. Changing the tax code in broad brush is a difficult thing.

There are so many unintended consequences if our Republican colleagues should pass this bill and it becomes law, and I hope it won't. Week after week, we're going to find new things in this bill. Some intended and some not intended. And the people who voted for it are going to regret it.

And the public will ask why didn't you know? Well, in a tax bill it's impossible to know all these things unless you let it sit out there in the sun and bake. So people, experts from around the country, there are tens of thousands of tax lawyers paid to figure out ways around our tax code and help the wealthy who are their clients. And unless you examine the bill carefully in sunlight, unless you have a lot of hearings, unless you hear from all kinds of witnesses, the result is usually quite bad for America with so many unintended consequences.

So our Republican colleagues in their rush to get a bill done are legislating it in an irresponsible way, especially when it comes to coming to something as important and complex as the tax code. If the product were a great one, we all know this is not a great product. We don't even hear our Republican colleagues bragging about this product with a few exceptions. Everyone says this could be better or that could be better, this could be better.

Every independent analysis has shown that the tax code will end up raising taxes on millions of middle class families despite the early intentions of the president, the Republican leaders. The Tax Policy Center estimates that 60% of middle class families will see a tax increase. Sixty percent of middle class families will see a tax increase by the time the bill is fully implemented. While folks making over a million dollars a year would get an average tax cut of over $40,000.

Now some say, well, they're making more money, they should get a bigger tax break. No. I'd like to take every dollar of that $40,000 a millionaire gets and give it to the middle class. They are the ones who need the help not the wealthy people. They're the ones who buy the products, keep the economy humming. They are the ones throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s created the best economy America has ever had. Not just the few millionaires.

It's astounding. If the president and Republicans in Congress set out to pass a middle class tax cut as they claim, if that's where this set out, this bill completely misses the mark.

[12:35:09] Meanwhile, the big winners, big corporations, the very wealthy are doing great already. Estimates estates worth over $11 million get a tax break. Why is that? Why is that when average middle class people are struggling?

Corporations get a permanent reduction in their rates while individual tax breaks expire after a few years. The bill would even open up drilling in the Atlantic National Wildlife Refuge because this tax bill wouldn't be complete unless it helped big oil too.

All of this to saddle the next generation of Americans with larger deficits, even larger debt. Something many of my friends on the other side of the aisle had labored against their whole careers. We heard so many speeches from the other side about deficit reduction.

I think my colleagues were sincere. Why are they abandoning it now? They all know, every one of our colleagues knows that we can do a lot better job in a tax bill at reducing the deficit than we have here.

The Democrats have from the very beginning told our Republican colleagues we want to work with them on tax reform. We want to lower taxes on the middle class. We want to reduce burdens on small businesses. We want to erase the incentives that send jobs overseas and bring jobs back home. And we want to do all these things in a way that doesn't add to the deficit.

Republicans from the very beginning have said to us we're not interested in working with you. We're going to draft it ourselves, use reconciliation so we don't need your votes. And you can count for our bill. You can vote for our bill if you want.

That's not bipartisanship what the Republican leadership has done. Now, I know there are some Republicans on the other side who wish we could work together. Well, we can.

And today at 11:00, I think more than a dozen, certainly a large number of Democrats went to the Press Gallery and said we want to work with our Republican colleagues to create a better bill. They came and visited me last night. I encouraged them to do it.

This leader, this leader is not going to stand in the way of bipartisan reform. That meets the goals that we've talked about. Helping the middle class, reducing the deficit. Not unduly or in any way aiding the 1%.

Bipartisanship and compromise, Mr. President, are very possible on tax reform. It's an issue crying out for a bipartisan solution. There are a lot of areas we agreed. We have to work to find a middle ground that's acceptable to both parties. I dare say it would be a better bill for the American middle class than the one we are looking at right now.

Finally, Mr. President and briefly because I know my colleagues are waiting on the Katsas nomination. The D.C. Circuit is often called the second most powerful court in the nation because it adjudicates so many highly charged political issues including cases that deal with the limits of executive power and regulation --

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: You are listening to the Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, they're moving on now to a judicial nomination, but he's been rallying against the Republican tax cut plan. You're about to see the president of the United States, he is on Capitol Hill trying to sell the Senate Republican tax cut plan.

The president coming up for the weekly luncheon of Republicans as Senator Schumer has saying Republicans keep calling this a middle class tax cut bill, he instead calls it a boom to big corporations that will hurt the middle class. Again, the president up there to sell this bill in a closed door meeting with Senate Republicans. They want to have the vote this week, they're short the votes at the moment.

And before he discussed the tax bill, Senator Schumer also explaining his reason to bow out along with the House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, of a scheduled White House meeting this afternoon. They were supposed to sit down with the top two Republicans, the top two Democrats in Congress to meet with the president about some very big year end decisions about government spending levels. Keeping the government up in running. The Fed spending. Could they get a deal on immigration about the so-called Dreamers? That meeting now canceled. Let's come back in the room. We'll keep that picture up there to wait for the president of the United States.

There's always posturing in politics, there's always showmanship in politics. But at this moment, if you listen to Leader Schumer, he seems to think that this is good for the Democrats for the end the year in terms of their negotiating position in these conversations about spending levels and the like and being -- let's not forget as we're in late November of 2017, next year is the midterm election year and everything that is done in this final weeks of 2017 is about framing for 2018.

This got out because he would much prefer to negotiate with not forget as we are in late November of 2017, next year is the mid-term elections and everything that is done in the final weeks of 2017 is about framing for 2018.

[12:40:04] CARL HULSE, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well this work out for Senator Schumer because he would much prefer to negotiate with Republicans on the hill as they did on the prior's ending deal than with the President. Democrats out in the country don't like it when they are cutting deals with Trump. He wants to make a deal with the appropriators, send it over to the White House and have them signed. And, you know, he wants to able to say Democrats urged the bipartisan tax deal. To me what's interesting and other people have noted this well.

Democrats feel no pressure to vote for this tax bill. An in the past, with the President, one party comes out with the tax bill Democrats and Republican states would go well, we will have to find a way to vote for this. They don't even feel that right, now. Democrats --

KING: That's what happened with the Bush tax cuts for example back in the day, just got a statement from the White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders. I'll read it to you as we continue to watch for the President at Capital Hill. "It's disappointing that Senator Schumer and Leader Pelosi she said refusing to come to the table and discuss urgent issues. The President's invitation to the Democrat leader still stands and he encourages them to put aside their pettiness, stop the political grand standing and show up and get to work, these issues are too important." The meeting will proceed as scheduled with Leader Ryan -- Speaker Ryan, excuse me, Leader McConnell and administration officials who are committed to getting things done.

He goes on to say there are critical year end issues that they should talk about. And as we say that so, Senator Schumer and Leader Pelosi say, "we're not coming." Sarah Sanders speaking in behalf of the President says," We're still having the meeting and we expect you to be there." Leader McConnell and Speaker Ryan putting out a joint statement and while watching the motorcade and listening to Senator Schumer as saying," They'll be there too." If they say we have important work to do. Democratic Leaders have continually found new excuses not to meet with the Administration to discuss these issues. Democrats are putting government operations and resources for men and women in the battlefield at great risk. And they go on to saying there's a meeting at the White House this afternoon. If Democrats want to reach agreement, we will be there.

I often say that one of the problems in Washington is that life is the fifth grade. We have a fifth grade standoff stand off at the moment.

ASAWIN SUEBSAENG, THE DAILY BEAST: And I mean you were mentioning earlier how there is so much posturing in Washington D. C. politics. Well the back breaking level postpone here is a little bit funny. And the degree to which these Official White House statements are written, sounding as if they were written by people with no capacity whatsoever for self awareness is stunning, but all too common.

When the White House and in this case White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calls out who the President have formerly affectionately referred to as Chuck and Nancy for their prolonged pettiness on the matter, it says if they are operating in a world where they are willfully ignoring that so much to discuss with the President attention for rage tweeting at his political enemies.

JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, and the reality here is that the President through various means but Twitter is definitely a big one has lowered the price for Democrats of that kind of tactic. He has lowered the price for them not cooperating. And as Carl said, its good politics for them to, yes, be open to a deal, but not with President Trump if he is going to behave this way. And let's not forget that Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan understood in April as they no doubt understand today that they have to get a spending deal that they can't have a government shut down. They don't want a government shutdown even if the President has tweeted in the past that maybe he would like to see that.

And so, they are going to do what they need to do to try get a deal. And that is what enraged President Trump last spring when they actually succeeded in getting a deal that didn't include border -- that wall funding that he wanted and a lot of other priorities that he had laid out. They got the job done without the President. They cut him out and he doesn't want that to happen again. But the Democrats would be just fine with that

KING: He doesn't want that to happen to again. And you make key point. Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell understand their majorities are at risk next year. They cannot have a government shutdown. The President is not on the ballot and he has shown no affiliation or affinity with being the leader of the Republican Party and making the tough choices that it's necessary for him to take one for the team, if he will.

So in this remarkable on going forward and we were talking about this while we were watching some of the developments earlier. We are about to end the first year of the Trump presidency.

Recent history -- any American history going back a long time tells us the most important year for any President in terms of getting things done is year number one. Again, they will not repeal and replace Obamacare. We'll see if they can cut taxes and even if they do cut taxes, it's not going to be the sweeping reform but let's -- if they get that one, that's another one. The president promised infrastructure in his first year, not going to happen.

Now he is getting traditional nominations. There is an administrator regulatory roll back. There are non-legislative things that are happening that the administration will rack up and successes, and counter successes. But if this, him being up on Capitol Hill today, the break down in this bipartisan meeting, does he understand, does he understand how important the next two, three weeks are to him and how he will be remembered?

MARGARET TALEV, BLOOMBERG: What you're seeing right now is effectively a political hot potato over whose fault it is that there will be a government shut down.

[12:45:04] That's kind of the only way to look at what's happening in this exact moment right now. And it is really Ryan and McConnell who are stuck in the middle over this, right. Because what the president seems to be signaling with the tweet earlier today was that Democrats wanted to do all kinds of stuff that he can't do on immigration, therefore, there is not a deal.

That became the predicate for the Democrats to say, you know what, that's fine. We're just not even going to come. Don't worry about it. And so, you've got so much more immediate implication for the Republican leadership in both chambers. But ultimately this confers on the president in two ways, number one an ultimate eventual Presidential election in a few years.

But in the meantime they continued even marginal good will of enough Republican members so that it affects everything from the course of legislation whether you agree to an amendment, investigations of which there are so many active ones into the President. There are absolutely implications.

KING: And the open question of whether you will lose a Republican senator when Alabama votes two week from today. And whether you'll have a Democrat in that seat of given what is happening. We're not going to discuss the specifics of that was right now, but I'm fascinated by the moment. Because to your point, Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell doing the right Republican thing, if you will, issuing a statement saying, we're still going to the White House, Democrats, how dare you. You better come down to discuss this with the President. But let's honest that it's no secret to anybody who watches or pays attention of the last 10 and half months. They don't trust the President on these big issues. And they're not necessarily on board --

TALEV: -- avoidable but only been there for a meetings and plans, for days they we're all planning on going. You know, from Ryan and McConnell's perspective it's just another thing where they look at President Trump and say why did you have to go and do that for? KING: He has made hard things even harder as opposed to he was the candidate who was going to come to Washington and show them like a businessman and how we get together and do deals.

HULSE: Well Republicans know who's going to be blamed for this. Because as Mitch McConnell said Republicans own the shut down brand. They know that it's going to come to them. McConnell has promised no shutdowns while Republicans control Congress. They got bailed out of the last shut down in 2013 by the terrible roll out of the Obamacare program. But these things are deadly politically. There's nothing down the road that's going to save them from this if they do go ahead with it. That's my take anyway.

DAVIS: Well and to your point about the deal making, the one instance that we saw of President Trump actually trying to play the role that he said he would during the campaign was the Chuck and Nancy moment couple months ago where he got in a room with them and lo and behold they actually made some headway. Now, of course, the Democrats came out and said oh, we have a deal, and the White House it's not quite a deal. But they did -- there is no doubt if you talk to the people in the room on both sides that there was headway made and the politics of it were so toxic for the President and the way that he played was so enough and just so many Republicans that he swung a pendulum all the way to the other end so that he is blowing up whatever hope he had of having a bipartisan deal and now he may actually blowing up his chance of having a quick Republican deal on the second wall.

KING: But it was the staff corrected the President on that one because they fear the one he does have a very loyal base.


KING: And his approval ratings are in the 30s, but he has kept his base pretty solid through out this first year. But they were afraid of the deal with Chuck and Nancy was something a legislation to protect the dreamers to allow the so-called dreamers stay in the United States to give them status. And the president was not, Leader McConnell heading Republican the luncheon there. Interesting time to be Leader McConnell in Washington 52, Republican votes, the President who you are not happy with on any number of fronts but you have a shared promise.

The Republicans don't like. They don't trust their President, most of them. But they do have a shared promise to cut taxes this year after other issues. But back to the point of that that deal was, I'll protect the Dreamers, I will sign legislation that protects the dreamers against un-status and the initial framework did not give the President his border wall money and the base revolted saying how dare you. And there was the whole, just the optics with Chuck and Nancy sitting on the oval office with Mitch and Paul -- of Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell there as well. The president blindsided them, blindsided them with this.

SUEBSAENG: Right. And the way he got his glowing media coverage for striking that alleged deal, the great deal framework, whatever you want to call it was basically stabbing his own guys on the back, Conservatives and Republicans. And the only reason he stuck by it for the fourth period of time, he did was because as a buddy who was talking with people within the White House at the time knew was that he was loving the plot, he was getting particularly on cable news. That's a hell of a reason to stick to a political strategy as supposed.

KING: Its getting to the finish line is a challenge. So, let's try to take our viewers behind door and inside this room. Fifty-two Republican senators at the end of what has been a very frustrating year.

[12:50:04] At the end of what has been continuing getting to know you feeling out, not great relationship with the leader of their party, the President of the United States for all the reason we just have discuss has build up a fair amount and on being kind of level of distrust. They don't know he is a real conservative. They don't know that he will have their backs in the 2018 election year. Yet, they are in that room in the final weeks of this year.

Priority number one, let's circle back to it is today, tomorrow, by the end of the week, if they are going to deliver a tax cut bill by Christmas, the Senate has to act in the next five to 10 days at a maximum, right?

HULSE: Right. I presume and they'll start out with a standing ovation in there, because that's usually what works with the President. I think that, you know, the big question for me then going forward is if the Senate passes this, can they make it in a way that the House would just accept it and avoid these negotiations which could be problematic.

I mean, there's a path to getting this done in the next week and on President Trump's desk. Now, whether they're going follow that path and really get there, I don't know. But this, you know, these meetings to me, there's not going to be a lot of policy details. There's going to be a lot of -- this is great for the economy, we need to act on this and, you know, put some points on the board.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But underneath that rhetoric, you do see some of the discussions as they moved to pace in the Senate, go to this idea of a trigger for example and the presumption of a trigger is that you won't get the economic growth they were supposed to get out of the tax reform plan as proposed. So I think the group of lawmakers that continue to be key on this on the Senate side on the Republican side continue to be those with either nothing to lose because they're retiring anyway or who are framing their life legacy in a different way and don't care as much.

KING: I don't mean to interrupt, but there you see the President of the United States with leader McConnell and Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, senator who is up for reelection next year. The senator on the left of your screen was Steve Bannon, the President's former top strategist of the White House who is threatened to primary challenge. The President to say (INAUDIBLE), let's see if he talks.

(OFF-MIC) KING: Resisting an opportunity, passing on an opportunity there to speak to reporters. That is again if you just look at that shot, the President of the United States with the Republican leader, now Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. You look at it and you say, there is the leadership of your Republican Party at least on the Senate side with the President of the United States. That's one way to look at it.

The other way to look at it is perhaps is there a more dysfunctional relationship in this town of many dysfunctional relationships than Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell who the President has repeatedly blamed for the failure of Obamacare, has repeatedly by name singled out in speeches and in tweets saying he's the problem?

HULSE: Well, not only that, they have a big disagreement on Roy Moore, right, and what to do about him? And which in the news right now. I think Mitch McConnell has shown very clearly that he is willing to put up with some of this to keep Republicans in the majority and to get this tax bill through. He kind of just lets the rest of it slide off of his back. But it is not a relationship.

DAVIS: It is odd, but now is very much I think it's for both of them a moment of like their lanes, right. So President Trump is up there to rally the troops. He is -- as Carl said, I'm sure he is going to get a standing ovation. He is going to give a big cheerleading speech about why tax cuts are good and we love tax cuts and we're going to get this done and we're going to deliver.

But Mitch McConnell is the one who actually Hatch -- Mitch McConnell and Orin Hatch and the other Republicans in the Senate who actually have to make this thing, you know, get over the finish line are in their mode of cutting deals and having talks. And I think they know by now having been through health care, having been through many iterations of this debate with the White House and with this President that they can't really count on him for a lot of detailed policy back and forth. A lot of cutting of deals with wavering, a lot of him giving of comfort to wavering senators who aren't sure if he's going to maybe pull the rut out from under them the way he did at some point. Crucial points on the health care bill.

And so, that's what they need from him right now is sort of the cheerleading. And I'm going to be here for you and reassurance. I think this canceled meeting this afternoon introduces another kind of element into this luncheon which is going to interesting. I wouldn't be surprised if President Trump is pretty angry about what Democrats have done against (ph) that in some interesting ways. And so --

TALEX: But you need that --

DAVIS: When you talk about behind the door.

KING: Let's say, it's a punch and counter punch moments.


KING: And the sense that the Democrats know just what they're doing, because they understand that. They're trying to provoke the President.

SUEBSAENG: Right. And something that Republicans in Capitol Hill 100% realize is that if this goes south or if this goes sideways that the leader of their own party is not going to be gracious in that defeat. And that all of it, all the blame will be shoveled on to them faster than they can say it.

KING: Right, the argument they try to make to him about that is Mr. President, would you like Speaker Pelosi or Leader Schumer if you keep dumping on your party, that's one of the (INAUDIBLE) going forward. But the interesting question there, you make a key point. Can they convince the President to discipline himself in the sense that if they don't have -- if the Senate passes the tax cut bill and the House has to reconsider it are we not then back in Obamacare issue where the House passed the bill, the President celebrate it and called it mean?

[12:55:11] TALEV: (INAUDIBLE) in a place where you've got have Bob Corker who doesn't care, Jeff Flake who doesn't care, John McCain who really doesn't care. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins who kind of care, but, you know, they got some other --

KING: They will look for opportunities to send the President a signal.

TALEV: And all of these people are the people of the president has gone after. And so the kind of cumulative strategic impacts of beating up on your own guys and beating up on Democrats, leave him not very much maneuvering room and a very squared to put it on which raises the stakes of the Alabama special election which raises the states of the calendar.

KING: And if anybody out there had a dysfunctional thanksgiving dinner with a large group maybe some in-laws or neighbors (INAUDIBLE), that's happening behind those closed doors right there up on Capitol Hill. We'll get some developments and find out what happens inside that room.

Thanks for joining us today. A lot of moving parts on the Inside Politics. See you back here tomorrow. Wolf Blitzer picks up our coverage right after a quick break. Have a great day.