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New Senate Dem leader Schumer: 'Harmful GOP policies will crash in 115th Congress'

"If they propose policies that will hurt Americans ... their efforts will crash and break apart like waves upon the rock of the Senate minority," Sen. Charles Schumer said Tuesday.

By
Doug G. Ware

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Democrats' post-Harry Reid era in the U.S. Senate began Tuesday as new leader Charles Schumer promised that the newly-minted 115th Congress will be accountable for its actions under the coming Donald Trump administration.

The four-term New York senator marked the beginning of the new Congress Tuesday with his remarks. Chosen last month to replace Reid after his 12-year stint as the chamber's top Democrat, Schumer said he and his colleagues will support Trump when it's warranted -- and oppose him vigorously as necessary.

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"If the president-elect proposes legislation ... 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," he said in his debut address on the Senate floor. "When he doesn't, we will resist. But what we will always do is hold the president-elect and his Republican colleagues in Congress accountable."

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Schumer said he and his colleagues plan to hold Trump to the promises he made during the campaign -- to create jobs, grow the economy, raise incomes, protect citizens' rights and care for members of the armed forces.

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Schumer also criticized Trump's personnel choices, several of which Democrats plan to oppose.

"Too many of his Cabinet picks support the same, hard-right, doctrinaire positions that many in the Republican Party have held for years -- policies that the American people have repeatedly rejected," he said. "If Donald Trump lets the hard-right members of Congress and his Cabinet run the show ... if he adopts their timeworn policies -- which represent the elites, special interests and corporate America, not the working man and woman -- his presidency will not succeed."

Many Democrats have wondered for weeks what Schumer's party line would be, and his answer Tuesday was one that rang of a cautious approach to bipartisanship.

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"On Jan 20th we won't be in reality TV -- we'll be in reality. We Democrats will fight to make sure government works for every American, in reality," he said on Twitter Tuesday. "We Democrats will hold President-Elect Trump accountable to the working people of America, not the conservative ideologues in Washington."

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In another tweet, Schumer warned against a "Twitter Presidency."

"We will fight for our principles, we will fight for our values, and we shall fulfill our solemn constitutional duty to hold the other branches of government accountable," he said at the end of his speech.

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"If they propose policies that will hurt Americans, deny health care, cut their benefits, unleash irresponsible Wall Street risk-taking at the expense of consumers, their efforts will crash and break apart like waves upon the rock of the Senate minority. That is our challenge, that is our charge, and we will rise to meet it."

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