Pelosi, Schumer unveil strategy to thwart President Trump’s agenda

UPDATE — 1/23, 3:06 p.m. EST: The Senate’s top Democrat, New York’s Chuck Schumer, continued to lay out his opposition strategy on CNN Sunday, saying that the minority party is prepared to block President Trump’s Supreme Court choice.

“If the nominee is not bipartisan and mainstream, we absolutely will keep the seat open,” he said.

Sen. Schumer also blasted Trump’s selection of White House personnel. “We call it the swamp Cabinet. Billionaires and bankers,” he concluded.

 

In separate interviews on Inauguration Day, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) revealed their grand design to counter new President Donald Trump when the White House squares off with congressional Democrats.

Illustrating the iron laws of partisanship remain intact, the pair of congressional leaders vowed to blunt President Trump on a majority of issues.

“On most areas, we’re going to have to fight him, and we’ll fight him tooth and nail,” Schumer said on NBC’s Today Show Friday morning.

While Mr. Schumer was referring largely to Trump’s repeated pledge to dismantle former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, and president’s cabinet nominees, Schumer signaled a willingness to meet Trump half way.

Describing himself and congressional Democrats as a “bulwark,” Schumer hinted movement on many contentious issues would have to originate from the White House before Senate Democrats would demonstrate a readiness to cooperate.

“There are certain issues, if he sticks to good values that we believe in, we’ll work with him.  We’re not going to oppose things just because Trump’s name is on it,” Schumer added. 

Unlike Schumer, Ms. Pelosi used more aggressive language with MSNBC as she uncovered her strategy when meeting the Trump White House face to face.

Referring to how Democratic resistance to the GOP agenda in the 2000s, which included the privatization of Social Security, the Iraq War and prescription drug legislation led to her party winning control of the House in 2006, Pelosi suggested observers, “Look to how (Congress) worked with President George W. Bush,” as a blueprint for the future.

Pelosi mentioned President Trump will face the same objection, perhaps fierce opposition, should he propose similar policies, particularly efforts to demolish government assistance programs the Democrats have backed for decades.

Similar to Schumer, Pelosi did offer a somewhat conciliatory tone:  When recalling narrow areas where legislative achievements were scored with President Bush, Pelosi pointed to several compromises which led to “big” bills, specifically on renewable energy and tax policy.

Describing her willingness to negotiate trade offs with the Trump administration, Pelosi said:

“Our example is one where we have said, ‘We disagree here, let’s find our agreement elsewhere,’ ” Pelosi said.

Potential areas of policy agreement between the White House and Congressional Democrats include a national infrastructure program and the renegotiation of international trade agreements.

 

[The Hill] [Photo courtesy Getty Images via New York Magazine]