Schumer: "Differences Among Democrats Are Small Compared To The Huge Chasm Of Republicans"


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN: Let me ask you to step back and look at how this bill passed. You know full well what the arguments were. You had in your party the Warren wing, as we call it now, and then those looking to compromise in the leadership. Then we had in the Republican Party the Tea Party at odds with their more moderate wanting to do a compromise.

So when you look at it, what does this "cromnibus," as we now call it, tell you about the state of the Democratic Party?

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER: Well, I think it shows that Democrats will work together with Republicans when we get things -- when they want to get things done in both cases.

CROWLEY: Some of them.

SCHUMER: Well, certainly enough to make the majority.

But I think the big news today was the fight, the open fight between Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz on the -- there are huge differences in the Republican Party. On the floor of the Senate, we saw the soul of the Republican Party being debated.

Ted Cruz was in the well pushing his so-called constitutional point of order, which risks shutting down the government. Five feet away from him was Mitch McConnell imploring senators to vote the other way. And the vote, unfortunately, was about 50/50 on the Republican side.

And so that makes me worry a great deal, because if, after the terrible, terrible brickbats Republicans took when they shut down the government a few years ago, half the Republican senators are still willing to risk it again, despite the fact that their leader went against it, I'm worried about the next two years.

The chasm in the Republican Party is huge.


SCHUMER: And one more point. It's going to get worse because, first, you have the presidential candidates in the Senate pulling things to the right. Second, when they're in the majority, the Tea Party is going to feel its oats.

We want to work with the Republicans to help the middle class, but I'm worried the Tea Party is going to pull them much too far over.

CROWLEY: OK. Let me -- I want to -- since you -- you brought up the schism in the Republican Party, I want to show you something that we have, and it's about how the potential 2016 candidates voted on this bill.

Now, these are the candidates who voted no, Senator Rand Paul, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Ted Cruz and, from your side, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders.

So there was commonality among 2016 candidates. They didn't like this bill. Isn't that representative of the Democrats also having a problem with their...


CROWLEY: Well, you did -- you do have the Warren wing.

SCHUMER: Yes. But...

CROWLEY: You did have her trying very hard. You had Nancy Pelosi on the House side.

SCHUMER: Yes, let me say this.

I think that the differences between -- among Democrats are small compared to the huge chasm of Republicans. On the fundamental issues that face us, the economic issues that we need to address to get the middle class moving again, to get middle-class incomes going again, there's amazing unity on the Democratic side, from Elizabeth Warren, through Hillary Clinton, all the way to Joe Manchin and some of the more conservatives.

You look like -- on issues like minimum wage, and equal pay, and infrastructure construction, helping people pay for college, the Democratic Party is unified. And if we put together a strong economic message aimed at the middle class, not only will it unify our party, as the Republicans are truly divided, but we can actually, actually do really well in 2016.

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