Will They?

SEN. SCHUMER: ‘We Could Say, “We’re Shutting Down The Government… Until You Pass Immigration Reform.” It Would Be Governmental Chaos’

Dem Flashback: ‘Holding Pieces Of Legislation Hostage … Is Wrong,’ ‘Just Ridiculous,’ ‘Really Bullying Behavior’

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “…basically, it's sort of like this. Someone goes into your house, takes your wife and children hostage and then, says, let's negotiate over the price of your house. You know, we could do the same thing on immigration. We believe strongly in immigration reform. We could say, ‘we’re shutting down the government, we’re not gonna raise the debt ceiling, until you pass immigration reform.’ It would be governmental chaos.” (ABC’s “This Week,” 10/6/13)

  • SEN. SCHUMER: “You cannot negotiate with a hostage situation like that. You cannot negotiate with a gun to your head.” (CNN, 10/7/13)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): “I join the American people in their disgust in what happened in terms of the shut down of government. That’s an unthinkable tactic to use in a political debate.” (ABC News’ “This Week,” 10/20/2013)

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): “I think the lessons from last year that holding pieces of legislation hostage to our economy and to the certainty that American people want is wrong, and I don't believe that will happen again next year either.” (MSNBC, 12/18/13)

  • MURRAY: The American people are “sick of partisanship, sick of showboating and saber rattling. They were tired of turning on their televisions at night and seeing elected officials saying: It is my way or the highway, and they had no more patience for politicians holding the economy and the Federal Government hostage to extract concessions or score political points.” (Sen. Murray, Congressional Record, S.8870, 12/17/13)

SEN. HEIDI HEITKAMP (D-ND): “I am hopeful we can get good people to step forward, to stand up to behavior that can only be described in some ways—it has been talked about as hostage-taking here. It is really bullying behavior when the small minority does this. Let’s step forward. Let’s do the right thing.” (Sen. Heitkamp, Congressional Record, S.7202, 10/4/13)

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): “…I'm not going to hold this country hostage and have millions of people suffering because of what I like and don't like. I came here to represent the people, to do the best I can for my country and my state of West Virginia. And I'm going to do that. I hope that our leaders will move ahead.” (CNN, 10/15/13)

  • MANCHIN: “…this is not the place for it Joe, I can't hold the government hostage or the country hostage and inflict pain on innocent people. I won't do that.” (MSNBC, 10/14/13)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): “…stop holding this government and the American people hostage.” (CNN, 10/10/13)

  • SANDERS: “What they are saying to the American people tonight is: Maybe we lost the Presidential election. Maybe we lost seats in the Senate and in the House. It doesn’t matter. We can now bring the government to a shutdown, throw some 800,000 hard-working Americans out on the street, and we are going to get our way no matter what. I think that is a horrendous precedent to be established for this body. Let’s be clear. If we surrendered to that hostage-taking tonight, without a shadow of a doubt these guys would be back 2 weeks from today. At that point they would say to us: Here is our laundry list of demands. If you don’t give us what we want, we are going to bring down the financial system of the United States of America, bring down the world financial system, and if it leads to a worldwide recession, well, that is the way it goes. But what is most important is we get our way and we don’t care about the repercussions. ... Ultimately, what we are dealing with tonight is an extraordinarily antidemocratic act. Every Member of the Senate has strong feelings. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. But when they are in the minority—they do not control the White House, they do not control the Senate—they cannot force the American people to give them what they want.” (Sen. Sanders, Congressional Record, S.7050-1, 9/30/2013)

SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI): “We need to act now so our veterans have the certainty and the peace of mind they need to move forward with their lives. We should not be involved in wrangling, in folks trying to find political advantage, and take political hostages, score points in some way.” (Sen. Stabenow, Congressional Record, S.870, 2/11/14)

SEN. ANGUS KING (I-ME): “So, I'd like to get back to democracy with a small ‘d’, following the Constitution, and abide by the rules as they've been established, and not go through this constant hostage-taking situation to get something in that process that you couldn't get through the normal process.” (Fox News, 10/16/13)

  • KING: “Police, intelligence people, and military officers tell us they don’t negotiate with hostage-takers, and the reason they don’t is because they would empower, enable, and ensure it will happen again, and that is what worries me. ” (Sen. King, Congressional Record, S.7223, 10/5/13)

SEN. PAT LEAHY (D-VT): “It is a form of extortion that has no place in a democracy. … They want to hold the country hostage. They want to put our backs up against the wall, or the backs of the American people. Why?” (Sen. Leahy, Congressional Record, S.7313, 10/9/13)

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): “…moving from one self-inflicted wound to another when the kinds of hostage taking demands are made has to stop.” (MSNBC, 10/10/13)

  • BLUMENTHAL: “…we are willing to compromise and collaborate but not with hostage-taking tactics that in effect say to everyone else in the country: It is our way or the highway.” (Sen. Blumenthal, Congressional Record, S.7252, 10/7/13)

SEN. BILL NELSON (D-FL): “One doesn’t hold the country hostage and disrupt people’s lives to get their particular agenda done…” (Sen. Nelson, Congressional Record, S.7512, 10/16/013)

  • NELSON: “There is real hurt going on in this country, and it's time for folks like you to start slamming your fists down and saying, ‘We've had enough of this.’” (Sen. Nelson, Press Conference, 10/8/13)

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI): ‘Get off of hostage negotiations’ “I think what we want to see is the government put back to work, as well. And I think there's support for that in the Senate. That way we get off of hostage negotiations that are going on right now. We get to regular negotiations. Everybody I know in Rhode Island knows the difference between negotiating and negotiating while holding hostages. … This is negotiating with hostages with a very real threat to shoot them, and very real damage to the country if we do. … I think that's fundamentally wrong, and it's fundamentally un-American.” (CNN, 10/10/13)

  • WHITEHOUSE: “…we want you to do what you're supposed to do, which is be responsible about paying the country's bills and not use this as an opportunity to take hostages or extract ransom.” (Sen. Whitehouse, Politico Discussion, 2/6/14)

SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH): “Holding the economy and critical services hostage to score political points is irresponsible.” (Sen. Shaheen, Congressional Record, S.7319, 10/9/13)

SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): “They just want to make a political point, and they are holding the country hostage in order to make it.” (Sen. Menendez, Congressional Record, S.7377, 10/10/13)


Related Issues: Immigration, Senate Democrats, Middle Class, Appropriations