Schumer: Health Care Repeal "Not Going to Work"

New York Sen. Charles Schumer on CBS' "Face the Nation," Jan. 23, 2011

Sen. Charles Schumer called Republicans' plan to repeal health care reform a "rush" effort that "is not going to work" - and argued that Congress should be working together to improve existing health care reform rather than attempting to repeal it.

On CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Schumer, a New York Democrat, applauded Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for "wisely" saying he would not bring the repeal bill to the floor.

But he added that if the repeal measure did come up, Democrats would force a vote on every individual provision in the health care bill - including those provisions which many Americans (and some Republicans) have publicly supported.

"Mitch McConnell has the right to offer an amendment," Schumer said of the Senate Minority Leader, who has vowed to force a vote on the repeal. "If he does, if the Republicans offer an amendment on the floor, then we will require them to vote on the individual protections in the bill that are very popular, and that even some of the new Republican House Members have said they support.

"Are Republicans going to vote 'no' on a provision to maintain the donut hole benefits so that seniors pay less for prescription drugs? Are they going to vote against the ability of 21- to 26-year-olds to stay on their parents' health care? Are they going to vote to repeal … the free check-ups that seniors on Medicare get which save billions of dollars in prevention?" Schumer asked CBS' Bob Schieffer.

"Their repeal bill is going to be so full of holes it looks like Swiss cheese," Schumer said. "At the end of the day their effort to repeal is not going to work at all."

Schumer also criticized a recent proposal by the Republican Study Committee to reduce federal spending by $2.5 trillion over the next 10 years, largely by cutting or eliminating funding for more than 100 government entities. The proposal did not include any cuts to defense spending.

Schumer argued that excluding the military from possible budget cuts seemed "a little political."

"The proposal that the Republican study committee made focuses on only one part of the budget," Schumer said. "Because they have to get all their reductions out of that one part, they do things that most Americans wouldn't want - such as cut cancer research. But, for instance, they leave the military totally out."

"I'm for a strong military," Schumer continued. "I've always supported it. But everyone knows there's waste and inefficiency in the military budget. Defense Secretary Gates has proposed cutting $150 billion out of it.

"And if you want to be fair, if you want to convince people that you're really for cutting, you have to cut the waste across the board."