Trump's executive actions 'unworkable, weak and far too narrow': Schumer

George Stephanopoulos interviews Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on "This Week."
10:00 | 08/09/20

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Transcript for Trump's executive actions 'unworkable, weak and far too narrow': Schumer
As we come on the air this morning, the number of covid cases here in the U.S. Is crossing 5 million, more than any other country in the world. And the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs during the pandemic are facing a new week without extended benefits after the collapse of talks between the white house and congress. Late yesterday, president trump announced that he would take action on his own, signing a series of documents that he claimed would address the crisis facing workers, renters and the unemployed. To cheers from his country club members, he blamed it on failed talks with Democrats in congress. Nancy Pelosi and chuck Schumer have chosen to hold this vital assistance hostage. On behalf of very extreme partisan demands. And we're joined now by the senate democratic leader chuck Schumer. Senator, thank you for joining us this morning. Let's talk about the president's proposals. First of all, trump wants to replace the $600 the unemployment federal benefit replaced with $300, he said the states will kick in another $100. Does he have the power to do that? Will you go to court to stop him? Let me first say, George, overall, we have this huge crisis, the largest economic crisis since the depression, the greatest health crisis since the pandemic, and unfortunately the president's executive orders described in one word could be in three words, unworkable, weak and far too narrow. The event at the country club is just what trump does, a big show but it doesn't do anything, and as the American people look at these executive orders they will see they don't come close to doing the job. One, what they proposed and second what's left out. What's proposed. On the unemployment benefit, first, the $600 a week has been very successful. It's kept millions of people out of poverty, it's pumped more money into the economy, consumer spending is probably the best thing in the economy. The president says keep people from working. Evidence shows that's not the case. Americans want to work. With 10%, 11% unemployment, you can't find a job and people shouldn't be given a pay cut. Second, this is an unworkable plan. Most states will take months to implement it because it's brand new, it's sort of put together with spit and paste. Many states because they have to chip in $100, they don't have money, they won't do it. To boot, it depletes the hurricane trust fund to defer this money to pay for this money at a time when we're at the height of hurricane season. Can the president do that, is it legal? Is it legal? Well, you know, I'll leave that up to the attorneys, it doesn't do the job. It doesn't come -- it's not going to go into effect in most places for weeks and months because it's so put together in a crazy way, if he would have renewed the $600 as we did in heroes bill through January things would proceed smoothly. The payroll tax cut? Most employers -- it's a deferral, and so it accumulates until January when it expires, employees are just going to continue to withhold the money. I talked to some, they don't want their employees to be stuck with a huge bill in December, so it's not going to pump money into the economy, and second, the president said if elected I will forgive all this, that depletes money out of social security and medicare trust funds. If you're a social security recipient or medicare recipient, you better watch out if president trump is re-elected. Let's talk about how you get back to the table. You say these proposals are narrow and unworkable. Republicans say your trillion-dollar offer is just a budget gimmick. You're not cutting any programs, will you compromise more? Well, look, we've compromised a great deal. But one more point on the executive orders what they leave out, nothing on testing, we have a regime that's not testing, the president has messed up testing unlike any other countries. Nothing to help reopen schools safely. They need lots of money to reopen schools, not only for ppe but for bus routes, because kids can't sit next to each other. For ventilation systems, for hot spots, lot of schools want to convert their gyms and cafeterias for classrooms. We're going to see layoffs. This isn't an abstract concept. A firefighter is a firefighter. A person who drives a bus, a person who picks up the garbage, those are important jobs. It's not in there. There's no money to help us with elections. There's no money to help us with post office, very little money to -- no money to feed children and no real help for eviction of people, so they leave out a lot. So what we have Democrats proposed. What we proposed originally the $3.4 trillion heroes bill was carefully done and it meets the needs, huge needs, two-thirds of the American people by survey data prefer our $3.4 trillion to their $1 trillion, which doesn't do the job, but in an effort to compromise, speaker Pelosi told the negotiators from the president's office, we'll come down a trillion, you come up a trillion, that would bring us to 2.4, then to 2. We can get in the middle. They said absolutely not. I said to them, it's your way or the highway, they said yes, that's not the way to create the deal. Here's my hope, George, that now that they've done these executive orders, and the American people will see how narrow, how not doing the job they are, that Republicans who hung their hat on these executive orders will be forced by the economy, by the healthcare crisis, where a thousand people are dying a day, and we're not making the progress. Get the American people to come to the table and come up with an Let's talk about where you could compromise more. One provision you're pushing is appeal a cap on state and local tax deductions. That's a long-term goal of yours. Why does that have to be in the emergency covid bill? Well, first, state and local governments are hurting and one of the reasons was the elimination on the cap of state and local, it hurt state revenues. This idea that it's rich people, go to Long Island, talk to a typical couple, maybe he's a firefighter and she's a teacher, they need that deduction. This affects the middle class, in suburbs, in the red states and the blue states, but we're willing to come down a trillion dollars and we'll compromise and meet them halfway. They don't want to meet halfway, they don't want to meet any way and that's what the American people should understand that we've made a big offer, a huge offer, in an effort to get this thing going, we'll make -- we'll make that -- we'll cut that trillion and it won't be so easy because these are real needs of people. This isn't an abstract game. So many Republicans say, they don't want to spend one nickel. Mitch Mcconnell said 20 Republican senators don't want to spend any money, not even the trillion that the president has proposed, and that's sort of reminiscent of Herbert Hoover, when the stock market crashed. Herbert Hoover and some of the conservatives said, don't spend any money and we had the great depression. We're fighting for people's needs. We need testing. We need our schools to open safely. We need to prevent firefighters and teachers and others from being laid off. That's what we're doing. This isn't a game. They're so wrapped up in their ideology. We hate government. Well, I got to tell you something, the Republican mantra, let the private sector do it alone just doesn't work when you have a huge recession and a huge healthcare crisis. I want to ask about election interference. The intelligence community put out a new warning Friday about foreign election interference, China wants Biden to win, Russia is actively interfering now to help trump. Iran is also looking for opportunities. I know you received classified briefings. Does that public statement accurately reflect what's happening right now and what, if anything, can be done to counter the interference? First, I can't talk about what happened in the briefing. There are public reports and firms have said that Russia is attempting to interfere in our elections. The deputy of the dni said it just yesterday. So, yes, it's absolutely true that Russia is trying to interfere from public information and public statements. We are trying, Democrats are trying to stop it in the defense bill. We want to put tough sanctions on Russia. Chris van Hollen has a bill, bipartisan, I believe it's with Marco Rubio to stop it. Trump is resisting. Why does he not want to stop Russia from interfering in this you have to ask that question. Your colleague Richard Blumenthal said it's so alarming, so chilling that it should be declassified. He says every American has the right to see. Without compromising sources, yes. They should know another thing, these hearings that Johnson and graham are doing, some of it is now public is based on false Russia intelligence about Joe Biden, in other words, false Russia reports on Joe Biden. They should be ashamed of themselves for what they're doing. Letting the Russians manipulate us or try to manipulate us. Senator Schumer, thanks for your time this morning. Thank you, George.

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

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