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Schumer: Mainstream GOP Will Not Follow McConnell ‘Over the Cliff’ of Obstructionism on Scalia Successor


Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” while discussing President Barack Obama nominating a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) predicted Republicans in the U.S. Senate would not follow Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “over the cliff” in blocking President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill that spot.

Partial transcript as follows:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks to Martha and Senator Sanders there. And let’s get more on this now from the number two Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer of New York, also member of the Judiciary Committee. So let’s look at the math right here. You heard Senator Cruz say he’s going to filibuster. Mitch McConnell says it’s not going to happen. You only have 46 votes in the Senate so there’s not going to be a nominee here.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Well, the job, first and foremost, is for the president to nominate and for the Senate to hold hearings and go through the process. You know, the Constitution, Ted Cruz holds the Constitution, you know, when he walks through the halls of Congress. Let him show me the clause that says president’s only president for three years. Does this mean we don’t hold hearings on anything? The president shouldn’t nominate Cabinet ministers? It certainly might mean the Republicans shouldn’t repeal ObamaCare in the fourth year. And so our job is to go forward with the process and then we’ll see what happens. That’s what Democrats —

(CROSSTALK)

SCHUMER: Well, no, I’m not sure that’s true. You know, the kind of obstructionism that Mitch McConnell’s talking about, he’s harking back to his old days, you know, he recently he said, well, I want regular order. But in 2010, right after the election or right during the election, he said, “My number one job is to defeat Barack Obama,” without even knowing what Barack Obama was going to propose. Here, he doesn’t even know who the president’s going to propose and he said, no, we’re not having hearings; we’re not going to go forward to lead the Supreme Court vacant at 300 days in a divided time. This kind of obstructionism isn’t going to last. And you know, we Democrats didn’t do this. When in the — we nominated — we voted 97-0 for Justice Kennedy in the last year of Reagan’s term.

STEPHANOPOULOS: After voting down Justice (INAUDIBLE) and Justice —

SCHUMER: Yes. Well, but we had nominations. And that’s the point here. The president’s going to nominate. I believe that many of the mainstream Republicans, when the president nominates a mainstream nominee, will not want to follow Mitch McConnell over the cliff —

STEPHANOPOULOS: So that’s what you think the president should do, send someone who he thinks can credibly get Republican support rather than send someone who will send a powerful message about the direction he wants to take supporting (ph)?

SCHUMER: I think he — I think first the American people don’t like this obstruction. When you go right off the bat and say, I don’t care who he nominates, I am going to oppose him, that’s not going to fly. A lot of the mainstream Republicans are going to say I may not follow this. But second, I think the president, past is prologue, will nominate someone who is mainstream. Look — His nominees in the past have gotten Republican votes.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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