Topline Message Guidance – Democratic Prebuttal to the Joint Session

In his first month in office, President Trump has forsaken his promises to the working class – favoring the interests of the rich and powerful while adding to the burdens of working families. President Trump also says he’s going to be a president of great impact but thus far the only evidence of action or impact we have are his broken promises to working people.

So far, President Trump has not kept his promises to the American people:

  • Jobs are continuing to leave America despite the President’s one-off intervening.
    • Carrier Plant – The President is very proud of keeping one half of  one plant here in the United States, while, even at Carrier, 1,300 jobs are still leaving, and thousands more leave our shores each month from all over the country.
    • There is no plan to stop that from continuing to happen.
  • One of President Trump’s first actions in office, made it harder for working families to afford a mortgage.
  • When millions of middle-class Americans were due a long-awaited bump in overtime pay, the Trump Administration indicated it will likely take that away.
  • After vowing not to cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid during the campaign, he proposed cuts to Medicaid and chose Cabinet secretaries who spent their careers trying to destroy the promise of Social Security and Medicare.
  • President Trump loaded his Administration with Wall Street insiders and is already trying to roll back Wall Street reform, despite saying during the campaign that he was going to stick up for the average American against Wall Street.
  • Big promises to take action on infrastructure, trade, and the ACA “on day one” have not been fulfilled – the Trump Administration still has not presented a proposal to Congress on any of these issues.
  • President Trump halted the implementation of a rule that would have better protected Americans’ retirement savings from abusive practices.
  • President Trump’s administration refused to label China a currency manipulator, even though he said he’d do it on “day one”.

One fact checker said that of the 60 explicit promises he made about his first 100 days, only 6 have been kept, and 45 have “no action” taken whatsoever.

We expect the President to resort to the same populist message in tomorrow night’s speech that he used in his campaign and inauguration — full of grandiose promises to the working class – to gloss over the reality of what his administration is actually doing. It will be all the usual bluster and blame.

  • President Trump presents himself as a populist but governs from the hard, hard-right.
  • Populist platitudes will be a dime a dozen, but the focus should be on the President’s actions rather than his empty words.

 

DEMOCRATS ON OFFENSE

Affordable Care Act:

At the beginning of the year, the question was whether Democrats would stay united in the fight over the Affordable Care Act. Now, it is clear that the Democrats are united in preventing President Trump and Congressional Republicans’ plan to repeal (with no actual plans to replace) the Affordable Care Act.

  • Republicans have not been able to coalesce around a plan.
  • Democrats have shown a united front in preventing the loss of coverage for millions of Americans and increased health care costs for millions more, while the Republicans have been in complete disarray.

o   Republicans are unable to agree on:

  • The timeline to repeal the ACA
  • What to replace it with,
  • And even whether they should be calling it “repeal and replace” anymore.

LEADER SCHUMER REMARKS:

 

 
For Immediate Release

Date: February 27, 2017

 

CONTACT: Matt House, (202) 224-2939

   
Schumer Prebuttal to President Trump’s Speech to Joint Session of Congress: Populist Platitudes Will Cover Up Hard-Right Agenda

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, alongside House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, offered prebuttalremarks ahead of President Trump’s first speech to a joint session of Congress. Below are his remarks:

Thank you Leader Pelosi, who continues to be an excellent leader of the Democrats in the House, and thanks to the National Press Club for hosting us this afternoon.

Before I get into tomorrow’s speech, I want to briefly take a step back and look at the first month of the Presidency, and how Democrats in the Senate have stood up to the President. After the election, we Democrats were down in the dumps. Republicans returned majorities to both houses of Congress and prepared for the first Republican President in 8 years.

My daughters came to me – they were as upset as I was election night – and I taught them the old Shirelles’ song, those of you my age may remember it, “Momma said there’d be days like this, there’d be days like this, Momma said.”

But, a few days after, I realized a few days after the election that if it had gone the other way, and Hillary had been President and I, Majority Leader, I might have had more fun. Leader Pelosi and I might have been able to get more things done, which is why we’re here. But now, my job, as Minority Leader, – our job – is even more important.

We Democrats are steeled for the fight and it is already paying some dividends. Frankly, we have had a better first month than I think most would have imagined.

Just look at the two biggest debates the Senate has taken this far; on the Affordable Care Act and the cabinet.

First, on the ACA: At the beginning of the year, all the pundits were wondering if Democrats would stay united in the fight over the Affordable Care Act: Would Republicans be able to convince some red state Democrat to join them in their so-called “repeal and replace” effort? But one month later, Republicans have not been able to coalesce around a plan or pick off any Democratic support.

Democrats have shown a united front while the Republicans’ internecine warfare has been on full display– they can’t agree on the timeline to repeal the ACA, they can’t agree what to replace it with, or even whether they should be calling it “repeal and replace” anymore.

Who would have thought, one month into the fight over the ACA, it’s the Republicans, not the Democrats, who are in disarray and pointing at one another like an Abbot and Costello show.

I predict the discord in their party will grow as Republicans return to Washington after a week of angry town halls. I believe the odds are very high that we’ll keep the ACA. It will not be repealed.

The debate on the President’s cabinet is a second area where Democrats have done much better than expected.

When we entered the confirmation process on the cabinet, we really didn’t expect to defeat any of the nominees, we expected the Republicans to be under tremendous pressure to vote in lock-step, we had two goals: first, we didn’t want to let them rush these nominees through – Majority Leader McConnell at one point suggested that we approve the whole Cabinet on January 23rd, the first day after Trump was inaugurated – and second, that we expose that cabinet for what it is: a swamp cabinet of billionaires and bankers who lacked basic competence, and whose views are a betrayal of what Donald Trump promised in the campaign.

We believe that we have achieved both of our goals. This will have a good effect for Democrats and, more importantly, America in the coming months.

Now, when HHS Secretary Price tries to cut Medicare and Medicaid, the public will know his record and be on his case about it.

When Betsy DeVos tries to shift money away from public schools, the public knows her record and will be on her case.

When Scott Pruitt undermines environmental protections for clean air and clean water, the public will be wise to his record and on his case.

And of course, Labor won’t have to deal with the viciously anti-labor Andrew Puzder.

Because of what Democrats did during the confirmation process, now these cabinet officials will have to look over their shoulders after everything they do.

On both issues, the cabinet and ACA, contrary to what most people thought the first month would be like, the Democrats are united and on offense while the Republicans are divided and on defense. We’re doing a lot better than we thought.

Now, what about the speech tomorrow night and the Trump administration so far?

In his first month, as Nancy said on TV yesterday, President Trump hasn’t done very much, but what he has done is forsake his promises to the working class – favoring the interests of the rich and powerful while shifting the burden onto working families.

It reminds me of the old joke about two men at a diner. One says to the other, “gee, this food is terrible.” And the other man replies, “yeah, but the portions are small.”

The President hasn’t done much:

•   So far, the President and Republicans in Congress have undone a few regulations that were an afterthought of the Obama Administration, but they have made these actions out to be the greatest thing in the world.

•   Jobs continue to leave America despite the President’s boasts. The President is very proud of keeping one half of one Carrier plant here in the United States, while, even at Carrier, 1,300 jobs are still leaving, and thousands more leave our shores each month from all over the country. There is no plan to stop that.

•   The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was dead in the water the day President Trump took office. Leader McConnell said during the election that he didn’t think had the votes for it and wouldn’t bring it up. So an executive order removing the U.S. from the TPP doesn’t mean a thing.

•   And on the big promises that could help working America– infrastructure, trade, and even on the ACA – the Trump Administration still has not presented a proposal to Congress.

Folks close to the President say he’s going to be a president of great impact. Thus far he’s demonstrated himself to be a president of little impact, and all too often, the little he’s done seems to be a broken promise to working people. This foretells that, in future months, burden after burden will be shifted off the special interests and onto the working people.

Just look at look at the promises he’s broken to working people so far:

•    He broke his promise to working Americans when he loaded his Administration with Wall Street insiders and is already trying to roll back Wall Street reform, despite saying during the campaign that he was going to stick up for the working man against Wall Street.

•    He broke his promise to working Americans when, as one of his first actions in office, made it harder for them to afford a mortgage.

•   He broke his promise to working Americans when he halted the implementation of a rule that would have better protected their retirement savings from abusive practices.

•   When millions of middle-class Americans were due a long-awaited bump in overtime pay, the Trump Administration indicated it will likely take that away.

•   He broke his promise to working Americans when his administration refused to label China a currency manipulator, even though he said he’d do it on “day one.”

•   He broke his promise to working Americans when, after vowing not to cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid during the campaign, he proposes cuts to Medicaid and choses Cabinet secretaries who spent their careers trying to eviscerate Social Security and Medicare.

One fact checker said that of the 60 explicit promises he made about his first 100 days, only 6 have been kept, and 45 have “no action” taken whatsoever.

Just to repeat: the first month of the Trump Presidency is less of bang and more of a whimper – and what he’s done so far has shifted the burden off of the special interests and the wealthy and onto working families. The portions are small and the food is terrible.

With respect to the speech tomorrow night, I fully expect the President to resort to the same populist message he used in his campaign and inauguration — full of grandiose promises to the working people of America – to gloss over the reality of his administration. It will be all the usual bluster and blame.

Populist platitudes will be a dime a dozen, but the focus should be on the President’s actions rather than his empty words.

Because as we’ve seen, the things he talks about doing usually don’t happen.

So tomorrow night, if past is prologue, the President will use populist rhetoric in his speech, but he won’t back it up with real actions.

He’ll talk like he favors working people, but his actions will desert them.

He’ll present himself as a populist, but govern from the hard-right.

In that respect, President Trump’s address to Congress is far less important than past Presidential addresses, because his speeches don’t indicate what he’s actually going to do.

The matter of real importance is how this President will govern: will he govern like his campaign, against both establishments, or will he govern from the hard right, like his Vice President and his Cabinet want him to?

His speech tomorrow will mean nothing the very instant after it’s delivered unless he backs up his words of loyalty to working families with real actions.

His speech tomorrow will mean nothing if he, and his Cabinet of billionaires and bankers, continues to govern from the hard, hard right – which is very far from the American mainstream even from the Republican mainstream.

His speech tomorrow will mean nothing if this President continues to do as he’s done these first few weeks: breaking promises to working people and putting an even greater burden on their backs, while making it even easier to be wealthy and well-connected in America.

 

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