Schumer Says Immigration, Tax Overhaul on Potential Agenda

No. 3 Democrat is poised to become the next leader if his party retakes the Senate

New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer is poised to become the next Senate Democratic leader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer is poised to become the next Senate Democratic leader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted October 18, 2016 at 1:28pm

Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York is beginning to lay out a possible agenda should he become the Senate majority leader next year.

The third highest-ranking Democrat is poised to succeed Harry Reid, who is retiring. Schumer said in an interview on CNBC that he wants to “get things done” and pointed to immigration and tax proposals as potential areas of bipartisan agreement.

“I don’t want to just put things on the floor of the Senate that fail, [then] say, ‘See? We tried,’ and go home and use it as an election issue,” Schumer said.

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The New York Democrat said he would work to find common ground, particularly with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, should she become president.

“The two things that come, that pop to mind — because Schumer, Clinton, and Ryan have all said they support these — are immigration and some kind of international tax reform tied to a large infrastructure program,” Schumer said.

Schumer also said he would actively reach out to his GOP colleagues to build consensus.

“I’m not going to compare myself to Harry Reid,” Schumer said, “but you will find that Chuck Schumer’s calling you up and saying, ‘What is on your mind? How can we work in a way that you and I can, or my caucus and your caucus can, agree on things?’”

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Schumer declined to speculate how Senate rules could change if Democrats take control with a narrow majority. Currently 60 votes are needed for cloture or to end debate on a Supreme Court nomination or pieces of legislation. But gridlock has prompted some senators to explore whether to lower that threshold.

“I’m not going to speculate about if we get to a bad place,” Schumer said. “I’m going to work hard to get to a good place.”

Contact Bowman at bridgetbowman@rollcall.com and follow her on Twitter @bridgetbhc.