'This Week': Sen. Charles Schumer

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., on upcoming showdowns in Congress and clemency for Edward Snowden.
3:00 | 01/05/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Sen. Charles Schumer
11 million that are here. Let's bring that question to senator chuck schumer. What's the answer? It's likely we'll get immigration reform this year, the reason is simple, I think, there are large parts of the republican party that want this, businesses, evangelical churches, high-tech growers, so it's not like some of the budget issues where all of the republicans are on one side. Second thing, the republican leadership realizes that if we don't do immigration and get immigration reform done, it hurts them politically. It made a difference in them not taking back the senate in 2012 and it made a difference in the obama election in 2012, and I think it's hit home in a much harder way now. Finally, you want to get the economy going? Cbo said that our bipartisanship immigration bill would raise gdp 3.5%. That's more than any republican program of cutting taxes or any democratic program of spending. I think it's going to happen. What was indicative, I think, was the budget debate. For the first time speaker boehner said he's not going to let the minority of his caucus tea party minority, run the show. They're the people who have been opposed to immigration reform. Many of the mainstream conservatives in the senate are for it. I think it's likely we're going to get a bill this year. I heard a glimmer of hope from senator rand paul also on unemployment benefits. Senator paul would be willing to support that. Is that the answer? Well, it's not the only answer, but we're going to bring unemployment insurance up on monday, we hope our republican colleagues will join us, if they don't -- the current bill isn't paid for -- the current bill is a three-month bill, not hurt people that need this. Most of the people that I meet who are on unemployment have worked for 25 years. I think it's a bit insulting to american workers when rand paul says that unemployment insurance is a disservice, they want to work, they don't want unemployment benefits. They're just hanging on with unemployment benefits. You cut them off, they may lose the house they paid for, it may take their kids out of college. I hope he would reconsider, pass the three-month extension. It's going to be an election in 2014. I would make this larger point, the tectonic plates of our politics have changed. Two issues that have dominated are, health care and budget deficit. This year, dealing with declining middle-class income and not enough job growth, will be the number one issue. If, on the first day of the new session, the republican party say they won't support the unemployment extension, they're going to show themselves so far out of the mainstream it's going to hurt them in the election. Your analysis shows that the economy is going to turn on obamacare. Are you confident it will be working? I am. Look at new york, it's working well in new york. We didn't have a federal exchange, we had a state plan. We had 16 insurance companies competing. We're ahead of projections, and I hear from people left and right, I'm getting much better health care now than I had before. That's going to start happening around the country. At the same time, the 75% to 85% of people who aren't affected by the individual insurance because they either medicare or medicaid, are going to find the parade that right-wing talk radio put out, aren't going to happen. The assets over 2014 are going to increase. The liabilities are going to decrease. But all of it will be dwarfed by the issue, who's going to get middle-class incomes rising again? They dropped over the last decade. That's why the middle class is so angry and sour. That inequality also being addressed by the new new york mayor, bill de Blasio this year in his inauguration this week, the centerpiece of his plan is to increase taxes to pay for education. You haven't come out in support of this? I support an increase in taxes at the federal level from 35% to 39%. It's a more difficult issue at the state level because people can leave and go to connecticut or new jersey or somewhere else. So, I left it to them. You support it or not? I'M LEAVING IT UP TO de Blasio and cuomo out of this one. Finally, clemency for edward snowden? No, I don't believe so. Snowden said that he's in the grand tradition of civil disobedience in this country. It is a grand tradition. Part of that tradition, you pay the consequences, if you break the law because your conscience says you have to, you stand That's what martin luther king jr. Did. So, what snowden ought to do is come back and stand trial. And face the consequences and he'll have his ample opportunity to say why he did what he did. And all of that. And you know, there are a lot of dispute and a lighter sentence? I disagree with rand paul that we should plea bargain with him prior to him coming back. If he's truly in the tradition of civil obedience, he comes back and faces the trial and the consequences that the government says he should. George, there are a whole lot of issues that dispute, how much does metadata helps us in the war on terror? The administration says a lot. The critics say no. How much damage did snowden do in hurting our agents? We don't know the details. And how is the data used? Were american citizens in the content particularly of their -- of their logs and metadata was content listed without a warrant? All of this could come out in trial. It would be beneficial for the country to have the discussion. So running away, being helped by russia and china, is not in the tradition of a true civil disobedient practitioner.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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