After the presidential election, a heated discussion surfaced about how congressional Democrats should approach President-elect Donald Trump and work with (or work in opposition to) his administration. Some Senate Democrats are already speaking out about Trump's proposed policy plans.
Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) strategy for the coming Trump administration was characterized as surprisingly cooperative, according to a November 16 New York Times report. The report drew ire from various journalists including Daily Intelligencer reporter Jonathan Chait, who argued that these attempts to reach across the aisle were troubling and "doomed to fail."
Schumer has since vowed to fight the administration and Republican congress on Trump's proposed wall and pledge to repeal Obamacare, the New York Daily News reports. In a Tuesday statement, Schumer attacked Tom Price, Trump's nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, for his opposition to Medicare, Real Clear Politics reported.
Here are the Senate Democrats speaking out against Trump on specific issues.
Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and others spoke out on the proposed cuts to Medicare and the appointment of Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) for the head of the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Let me say unequivocally to you now: I have fought to protect Medicare for this generation and for future generations,” Sen. Donnelly said in a November 21 video. “I have opposed efforts to privatize Medicare in the past, and I will oppose any effort to privatize Medicare or turn it into a voucher program in the future.”
Both U.S. Senators from Connecticut — Sen. Christ Murphy and Sen. Richard Blumenthal — also spoke out against Price, along with Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Debbie Stabanow (D-Mich.). From Bloomberg:
"Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, both of Connecticut, also announced their opposition to Price in separate statements. Murphy said the nomination is 'the first test' of the fate of Medicare and Obamacare in Congress.
"Bernie Sanders of Vermont accused Trump of 'hypocrisy' for picking Price, while Debbie Stabenow of Michigan also criticized the choice."
The President-elect's conflicts of interest prompted Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) to introduce a resolution asking Trump to formally remove himself from his private business.
The bill was co-sponsored by 22 Democratic senators.
Senators-elect Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) both emerged as strong voices in opposition to the President-elect's immigration plans after the election.
"Harris pointedly held her first news event after the election at the offices of an immigrant-rights group. The 52-year-old, a daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, told those threatened by Trump’s promises of a border wall and deportation force that 'you are not alone, you matter, and we’ve got your back.'
"Harris also filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission this month to open a leadership PAC dubbed Fearless for the People, after her campaign slogan. She made her legal achievements a campaign centerpiece, particularly her role in a 2012 settlement that won $20 billion for Californians hurt by foreclosures during the financial crisis.
"Cortez Masto claimed the mantle of the retiring Democratic leader she’ll succeed, Harry Reid, by vowing on election night to be 'one hell of a check on Donald Trump.'
"Spokesman Reynaldo Benitez said by email that Cortez Masto 'will do everything in her power to keep immigrant families together and protect important programs like [Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], and will be a strong voice against hate and racism.'"
Progressive Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have promised to hold Trump accountable to his populist campaign platform and pledge to "drain the swamp."
Warren blasted Trump over appointing lobbyists in a November 15 letter. Sanders and Warren released a joint statement Tuesday skewering Trump's choice for Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
"During the campaign, Donald Trump told the American people that he was going to change Washington by taking on Wall Street. Donald Trump’s choice for Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, is just another Wall Street insider. That is not the type of change that Donald Trump promised to bring to Washington – that is hypocrisy at its worst,” the statement asserts.
Sanders and Warren (like Schumer) initially said they work with Trump on infrastructure plans, Slate reports.
"We must hold him to his words [of promising to close] tax loopholes that only help the rich [and] unrig the system," Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) told Politico November 14. "The problem in getting infrastructure is not the Democratic caucus."
Two of the most vocal Democratic critics of Trump — Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) — are retiring.
Sen. Boxer introduced a bill to repeal the Electoral College on November 15, in response to former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's growing lead in the popular vote. In a statement, Boxer asserted: "Hillary Clinton currently leads the popular vote by nearly a million votes (990,758). By the time all the ballots are counted, the New York Times estimates that Clinton may win the popular vote by more than two million votes and more than 1.5 percentage points."
Clinton leads by close to 2.3 million votes at time of writing, MSNBC reported on Wednesday.
On November 11, current Sen. Minority Leader Reid released a strongly-worded statement on the election results. "The election of Donald Trump has emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry in America," he claimed. In a November 14 speech, Reid demanded that Trump rescind the appointment of former Breitbart head Steve Bannon as chief strategist and called Bannon a "champion of white supremacists."
Numerous other Senate Democrats followed suit and issued demands to remove Bannon from the President-elect's administration, Politico reports.