Chuck Schumer

Chuck Schumer
Chuck Schumer
United States Senator
from New York
Assumed office
January 3, 1999
Serving with Kirsten Gillibrand
Preceded by Alfonse D'Amato
Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2009
Preceded by Dianne Feinstein
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 9th District
10th District (1983-1993)
16th District (1981-1983)
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1999
Preceded by Elizabeth Holtzman
Succeeded by Anthony D. Weiner
Member of the
New York State Assembly
from the 45th District
In office
January 1, 1975 – December 31, 1980
Preceded by Stephen J. Solarz
Succeeded by Daniel Feldman
Personal details
Born November 23, 1950 (1950-11-23) (age 60)
Brooklyn, New York
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Iris Weinshall
Children Jessica Schumer
Alison Schumer
Residence Brooklyn, New York
Alma mater Harvard College (A.B.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Occupation Politician
Religion Judaism
Website Senator Charles E. Schumer

Charles Ellis "Chuck" Schumer (pronounced /ˈʃuːmər/, born November 23, 1950) is the senior United States Senator from New York and a member of the Democratic Party. First elected in 1998, he defeated three-term Republican incumbent Al D'Amato by a margin of 55%–44%. He was easily re-elected in 2004 by a margin of 71%–24% and in 2010 by a margin of 66%–33%.

Before his election to the U.S. Senate, Schumer served in the United States House of Representatives from 1981 to 1999. He represented New York's 16th congressional district, which was later redistricted to the 10th congressional district in 1983 and to the 9th congressional district in 1993. A native of Brooklyn and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, he was a three-term member of the New York State Assembly, serving from 1975 to 1980.

Schumer was chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from 2005 to 2009, in which post he oversaw a total of 14 Democratic gains in the Senate in the 2006 and 2008 elections. Elected Vice Chairman of the Democratic Caucus in the Senate, in 2006,[1] he is the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, behind Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin. In November 2010, he was also chosen to hold the additional role of chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee starting at the opening of the 112th Congress.[2]


Early life and education

Schumer was born in Brooklyn to a Jewish family of Russian, Polish and Austrian immigrants.[3] His parents were Selma Rosen and Abraham Schumer.[4] He attended public schools in Brooklyn, scoring a perfect 1600 on the SAT, and graduated as the valedictorian from James Madison High School in 1967.[5] Schumer competed for Madison High on the It's Academic television quiz show.[6]

He attended Harvard College, where he became interested in politics and campaigned for Eugene McCarthy in 1968.[7] After completing his undergraduate degree, he continued to Harvard Law School, earning his Juris Doctor with honors in 1974. Schumer passed the New York State Bar Exam in early 1975 but never practiced law, entering politics instead.[8]

State Assemblyman and Congressman

Schumer's district from 1993 to 1999

In 1974, Schumer ran for, and was elected to the New York State Assembly, becoming, at age 23, the youngest member of the New York legislature since Theodore Roosevelt. He served three terms, from 1975–1980.[9][10][11] He has never lost an election.

In 1980, 16th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman won the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat of Republican Jacob Javits. Schumer ran for Holtzman's vacated House seat and won.

He was re-elected eight times from the Brooklyn and Queens-based district, which changed numbers twice in his tenure (it was numbered the 16th from 1981 to 1983, the 10th from 1983 to 1993 and the 9th from 1993). In 1982, as a result of redistricting, Schumer faced a potential matchup with his mentor, veteran Brooklyn congressman Steve Solarz.[12] In preparation, Schumer "set about making friends on Wall Street, tapping the city’s top law firms and securities houses for campaign donations. 'I told them I looked like I had a very difficult reapportionment fight. If I were to stand a chance of being re-elected, I needed some help,' he would later tell the Associated Press."[12]

United States Senator

In 1998, Schumer ran for Senate. He won the Democratic Senate primary with 51 percent of the votes against Geraldine Ferraro (21 percent) and Mark Green (19 percent). He then received 55 percent of the vote in the general election,[13] defeating three-term incumbent Republican Al D'Amato (44 percent).

In 2004, Schumer handily won re-election against Republican Assemblyman Howard Mills of Middletown and Conservative Marilyn O'Grady. Many New York Republicans were dismayed by the selection of Mills over the conservative Michael Benjamin, who held significant advantages over Mills in both fundraising and organization.[14] Benjamin publicly accused GOP Chairman Sandy Treadwell and Governor George Pataki of trying to muscle him out of the senate race and undermine the democratic process.[14] Schumer defeated Mills, the second-place finisher, by 2.8 million votes and won reelection with 71 percent of the vote.[15] Schumer won every county in the state except one, Hamilton County in the Adirondacks, the least populated and most Republican county in the state.[15] Mills conceded defeat minutes after the polls closed, before returns had come in.[15]

A SurveyUSA poll from April 2009 placed Schumer's approval rating at 62%, with 31% disapproving.[16]

Political style

Schumer's propensity for publicity is the subject of a running joke among many commentators. He has been described as an "incorrigible publicity hound."[17] Bob Dole once quipped that "the most dangerous place in Washington is between Charles Schumer and a television camera,"[18] while Barack Obama joked that Schumer brought along the press to a banquet as his "loved ones." [19][20][21][22] Schumer frequently schedules media appearances on Sundays, in the hope of getting television coverage, typically on subjects other than legislative matters. His use of media has been cited by some as a successful way to raise a politician's profile nationally and among his constituents.[23] Over the years, Schumer has gained a reputation as the go-to legislator among his colleagues for his political and legislative skills in defining issues and bringing them to solution. In Washington, he has been the lead consensus builder on the difficult issues of health care, immigration, and financial regulation.[24] Schumer has often been referred to as a hybrid of two of New York's most iconic U.S. Senators, the man with whom he served when elected in 1998, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and the man he defeated, Al D'Amato. Moynihan was known as a great intellectual and successful legislator in the senate and D'Amato was well regarded for his constituent service.[25]

Local issues

Schumer prides himself on visiting every one of New York's 62 counties each year and has successfully done so in each of the 12 years he has served in the United States Senate.[26] He has a reputation for focusing on local issues that are important to average New Yorkers not normally associated with United States Senators, ranging from tourism, to local taxes, to job creation.[27][28][29][30] When it was revealed that Adidas planned to end its contract for the manufacture of NBA jerseys with American Classic Outfitters, an upstate New York apparel company, and outsource production overseas, Schumer blasted the company citing the risk to 100 workers at the plant.[31] When it was revealed that Canon Inc. was considering relocating from its corporate headquarters in Long Island because of a dispute over road infrastructure funding, Schumer stepped in to advocate New York State redirect federal stimulus dollars to make the road improvements and keep the company and its jobs on Long Island.[32] Along with his House and Senate colleagues, Schumer successfully worked to kill a Bush-era privatization plan for custodial and utility workers at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The plan would have called for turning over custodial and utility work to a Georgia company.[33]

Committee assignments

Schumer currently serves on the following Senate Committees in the 111th United States Congress:

Legislative record

Health care reform

Schumer supported President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; he voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009,[34] and he voted for the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[35]

Gun control

While serving in the House of Representatives, Schumer authored the Assault Weapons Ban in 1994 with California Senator Dianne Feinstein, which expired in 2004. The National Rifle Association and other gun groups (see gun politics) have criticized him for allegedly not knowing much about guns, pointing to various errors regarding the subject. Supporters of gun control legislation, however, give him much of the credit for passage of both the Assault Weapons Ban and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act despite intense lobbying from opponents. The Assault Weapons Ban, which banned semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and handguns possessing certain cosmetic features, expired in September 2004 despite attempts by Schumer to extend it. He was one of 16 Senators to vote against the Vitter Amendment, which prohibited the confiscation of legally owned firearms during a disaster. While a target of the NRA-lobby, Schumer has supported hunters sponsoring legislation to provide millions in outdoor recreation grants to landowners who allow hunting and fishing on their private property. Field and Stream Magazine designated Schumer one of their 2008 Hero Awards for his efforts.[36] Schumer is also a supporter of providing hunters with tax deductions for donating venison and other game to feeding programs.[37] In response to a question in a debate during his 2010 reelection campaign, Mr. Schumer has denied having a hand gun or a permit for one and has produced a letter from NYPD stating that neither he nor his wife Iris Weinshall has a hand gun license from NYC. In a statement from Brian Fallon, a Schumer aide, he "insisted that except for winning an NRA marksmanship award at age 14, the senator does not own a gun or have a license to carry one." [38]


Schumer is strongly pro-choice, and has been given a 100 percent rating by the NARAL.[39]

Consumer protection

Schumer has focused a great deal of his legislative attention on consumer protection issues. Schumer passed landmark consumer protection legislation that required uniform disclosure information on the back of credit card applications, notifying prospective cardholders of annual fees and interest rates. This standardized information is now referred to as the Schumer box. The senator has also aggressively pushed to end the practice of ATM "double-dipping", whereby banks charge customers ATM fees twice, once when using a bank other than their own and again by the customer's own bank for using an ATM outside their personal bank's network.[40] Schumer has also been a leader on protecting US consumers, particularly children, from toxins in both children's toys and baby products. With Congresswoman Nita Lowey he has been working to ban the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, often found in baby bottles and plastic children's food containers.[41] The Canadian government has already banned the chemical in baby bottles and children's products.[42] Schumer is also seeking a ban on the use of cadmium, a carcinogen known to brain development in children, in toys and children's jewelry.[43] When sham companies began selling phony gloves, pills, inhalers, diuretics, shampoos and other products during the Swine Flu scare, Schumer urged the Federal Trade Commission to open an investigation to crack down on the practice. In the end, The FTC put 10 companies on notice and identified a total of 140 scams.[44]

Schumer has been a champion of college tuition tax credits, calling for and passing a $4,000 tuition tax credit for students as part of a host of tax credits and cuts passed to stimulate the economy in the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (AARA).[45]

He received an "A" on the most recent (2008) Drum Major Institute's Congressional Scorecard on middle-class issues.[46]

Homeland security

As a senator from New York, Schumer has worked to secure homeland security funds for New York State and City and provide resources to its first responders. He delivered over $20 billion dollars in to New York to support the states security and recovery efforts after the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York City and worked to deliver $200 million[47] in Homeland Security funds to protect New York City mass transit.[48]

Schumer has been a leader in the fight to continue fully funding the FIRE Grant program,[49] administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The program allows fire departments and first responders nationwide to apply for grant funding for major purchases that localities have difficulty absorbing, namely appparatus and emergency vehicles. When the Bush administration pushed a plan to reduce the program from $1 billion to just under $300 million, Schumer helped lead an effort with local firefighters to block the cuts.[50]

In 2006, Schumer led a bipartisan effort, with the help of Republicans like Congressman Peter T. King (NY), to stop a deal approved by the Bush administration to transfer control of six United States ports to a corporation owned by the government of United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dubai Ports World. (See Dubai Ports World controversy.) The 9/11 Commission reported that, despite recent alliances with the U.S., the UAE had strong ties to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks on World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The measure in the House was H.R 4807, and in the Senate, S. 2333; these were introduced to require a 45 day review of this transfer of ownership. On March 9, 2006, Dubai Ports World withdrew its application to operate the ports.

In 1995, Schumer sponsored the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995 (H.R. 896), a predecessor to the US Patriot Act in the US House of Representatives.[51]

Foreign policy

Schumer was a supporter of the Iraq War Resolution, is an American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) member, and a strident pro-Israel member of Congress, although he was very critical of President George W. Bush's strategy in the Iraq War; he suggested that a commission of ex-generals be appointed to review it.[52] Nat Hentoff of the Village Voice has criticized Schumer for his stance on the issue of torture.[53]

The senator also is involved with legislation to address the Darfur genocide. Last year, he cosponsored two bills calling for peace in Darfur. Both bills, S.455 and S.684, passed in the Senate. He also voted in favor of measures to help increase the efficiency of peace keepers serving in Darfur.[54]

Schumer, along with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have been highly critical of the trade imbalance between the United States and China, and its alleged cause of Chinese currency intervention.[55] They have asked the White House, under both the Bush and Obama administrations, to find China "guilty of currency manipulation" under a 1988 law. Schumer and Graham have introduced legislation in three successive Congresses to apply tariffs onto Chinese goods for the purpose of raising the value of the Chinese yuan.

In a June 3, 2008 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Schumer wrote that cooperative economic sanctions from the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China could topple Iran's theocratic government. In discussing the importance of Russia's cooperation, Schumer stated that "Mr. Putin is an old-fashioned nationalist who seeks to regain the power and greatness Russia had before the fall of the Soviet Union." He followed it up by noting that "The antimissile system strengthens the relationship between Eastern Europe and NATO, with real troops and equipment on the ground. It mocks Mr. Putin's dream of eventually restoring Russian hegemony over Eastern Europe."[56] The East European Coalition sent Schumer a letter on June 10, 2008 regarding the article. In their letter they wrote "As a supporter of democracy for the nations of Eastern Europe, which suffered greatly under "Russian hegemony over Eastern Europe," your suggestion that these nations be used as bargaining chips in order to appease Russia is troubling, inexplicable and unacceptable."[57]

In 2009, Schumer criticized Scotland's release of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, and called for the United States to impose economic sanctions on the United Kingdom if Megrahi's release was tied to a massive oil deal between the United Kingdom and Libya.[58]

LGBT rights

Schumer at New York City's gay pride parade in 2007.

In March, 2009 Sen. Schumer announced his support for same-sex marriage, noting that it "was time."[59] Schumer previously supported civil unions. At a private risotto dinner with gay leaders at the Gramercy Tavern on March 22, 2009, Schumer said he not only now supports same-sex marriage, but also backs a full reversal of the Defense of Marriage Act.[60] When the New York State Senate took up a bill to legalize gay marriage in December 2009, Schumer, along with other state-wide officials, aggressively lobbied wavering senators to support the legislation.[61]

Clinton impeachment

Schumer has the distinction of voting "no" on the impeachment charges of President Bill Clinton in both houses of Congress. Schumer was a member of the House of Representatives (and Judiciary Committee member) during a December 1998 lame-duck session of Congress, voting "no" on all counts in Committee and on the floor of the House. In January 1999, Schumer, as a newly elected member of the Senate, also voted "not guilty" on the two impeachment charges.

He shares that distinction with Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). All three had been US House members elected to the US Senate in the 1998 elections. Bunning and Crapo voted "yes" on all four counts in the House and "guilty" on the two impeachment charges in the Senate.

U.S. Attorney firings

As chair of the Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, Schumer took a lead role in the investigation of the dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy.[62]

Although he was at one point criticized for being a lead investigator of the affair while also chairing the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, such criticism was not sustained after the full dimensions of the controversy became apparent.[63][64]

On March 11, 2007, Schumer became the first lawmaker in either chamber to call for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign for the firing of eight United States Attorneys. In an interview on CBS News' Face the Nation, Schumer said that Gonzales "doesn't accept or doesn't understand that he is no longer just the president's lawyer."[65] When Gonzales' chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, resigned on March 13, Schumer said during a press conference that Gonzales was "carrying out the political wishes of the president" and declared that Sampson would "not be the next Scooter Libby," meaning that he did not accept that Sampson had sole responsibility for the attorney's controversy.[66]

Schumer, like other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee from both parties, was angered during Gonzales' testimony on April 19, 2007; Gonzales answered many times that he didn't know or couldn't recall details about the controversy. When Schumer's turn came to ask his last round of questions, he instead repeated his call for Gonzales to resign, saying that there was no point to further questioning since Gonzales had "answered, 'I don't know' or 'I can't recall' to close to a hundred questions" concerning the firings (most press reports counted 71 instances) and didn't seem to know about the inner workings of his own department. Gonzales responded that the onus was on the committee to prove whether anything improper occurred. Schumer replied that Gonzales faced a higher standard, and that under this standard he had to give "a full, complete and convincing explanation" for why the eight attorneys were fired.[67]

Mukasey nomination

Gonzales resigned on September 17, and Schumer personally introduced Bush's choice to replace Gonzales with former federal judge Michael Mukasey.

Despite appearing troubled by Mukasey's refusal to declare in public that waterboarding was illegal torture, Schumer announced on November 2 that he would vote to confirm Mukasey.[68] Schumer said that Mukasey assured him in a private meeting that he would enforce any law declaring waterboarding illegal. Schumer also said that Mukasey told him Bush would have "no legal authority" to ignore such a law.[69]

Schumer voted to recommend Michael Mukasey for confirmation as U.S. Attorney General. Schumer, along with fellow Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, allowed the confirmation to move on to the full Senate.

Subprime mortgage and foreclosure crisis

On April 6, 2005 Alan Greenspan testified to Congress about the enormous portfolio of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Schumer responded to the testimony "I see an analogy to Social Security," Mr. Schumer said. "Social Security has a problem and there are ideologues who want to undo it. Fannie and Freddie have problems, and there are ideologues who want to undo them. But there are ways to fix the problems short of what's been proposed. When the sink is broken, you don't want to tear down the house."

Without identifying anyone in particular, Schumer also suggested that some people who have advanced tougher regulation of the two housing finance companies were really pushing a broader agenda to eliminate the companies and their mission of providing affordable housing. He proposed that the OFHEO raise Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's conforming loan ("affordable") limits from $417,000 to $625,000, thereby allowing these GSEs to back mortgages on homes prices up to $780,000 with a 20 percent down payment.[70]

Following the meltdown of the subprime mortgage industry in March 2007, Schumer proposed a federal government bailout of subprime borrowers in order to save homeowners from losing their residences and to shore up communities that were seeing neighborhoods destabilized due to foreclosures and the resultant decreases in neighboring home values.[71] As part of a package of regulatory reforms Schumer has pushed in response to the subprime foreclosure crisis he called for the creation of mortgage industry regulator to protect borrowers from deceptive lending practices and called for the Securities and Exchange Commission to relocate from Washington to New York so that it was in closer proximity to the industry it was charged with overseeing.[72]

Schumer's top nine campaign contributors are all financial institutions who have contributed over $2.5 million to the senator.[73]

IndyMac Bank controversy

On June 26, 2008 Senator Schumer took the extraordinary step of publicly releasing letters he had written to regulators regarding IndyMac Bank, the seventh largest Savings and Loan and the ninth largest originator of mortgage loans in the United States and a severely troubled institution. Schumer wrote he was "concerned that IndyMac's financial deterioration poses significant risks to both taxpayers and borrowers and that the regulatory community may not be prepared to take measures that would help prevent the collapse of IndyMac." Many depositors at IndyMac panicked or from another perspective justifably acted and withdrew funds in the 11 days before IndyMac failed.[74]

An audit by the Treasury Department's Inspector General would find that the primary causes of IndyMac’s failure were associated with its business strategy of originating and securitizing Alt-A loans on a large scale. When home prices declined in the latter half of 2007 and the secondary mortgage market collapsed, IndyMac was forced to hold $10.7 billion of loans it could not sell in the secondary market. IndyMac's reduced liquidity was further exacerbated when account holders withdrew $1.55 billion in deposits in a “run” on the thrift following the public release of the letter. While the run was a contributing factor in the timing of IndyMac’s demise, the underlying cause of the failure was the unsafe and unsound manner in which the thrift was operated.[75]

Director of the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), John Reich immediately blamed IndyMac's failure on the release of the letter. Reich said Schumer gave the bank a "heart attack" and opined, "Would the institution have failed without the deposit run? We'll never know the answer to that question."[76] Reich and top deputies later resigned or were removed amidst a Treasury Department audit and investigation revealing that Indymac had been allowed to backdate its financial reports.[77]

Schumer conceded his actions may have caused some depositors to withdraw their money prematurely but suggested that "if OTS had done its job as regulator and not let IndyMac's poor and loose lending practices continue, we wouldn't be where we are today. Instead of pointing false fingers of blame, OTS should start doing its job to prevent future IndyMacs." He pointed out that "IndyMac was one of the most poorly run and reckless of all the banks," saying "It was a spinoff from the old Countrywide, and like Countrywide, it did all kinds of profligate activities that it never should have. Both IndyMac and Countrywide helped cause the housing crisis we're now in."[78][79]

Despite IndyMac's condition before the failure, the financial media criticized the Senator sharply. CNBC financial analyst Jerry Bowyer charged that Schumer was responsible for the "second largest bank failure in US history."[80] While opining that IndyMac's failure was only a matter of time, banking consultant Bert Ely termed Schumer's actions "wrong and irresponsible".[81]

On October 18, 2008, the Wall Street Journal published a story suggesting that Senator Schumer's letter may have been prompted by an investment company's interest in IndyMac.[82] His reported close ties to the Founders of One West Bank have long been an interest to many action groups. On December 22, 2008, the Washington Post reported that OTS regional director in charge had been removed from his position for allowing IndyMac to falsify its financial reporting [83][84] That same day, Rush Limbaugh not only continued to blame the Senator but recast IndyMac's July bankruptcy as an "October Surprise" planned by Democrats to help win the 2008 election.[85]

Financial industry regulation

Then-congressman Schumer in 1987, in opposition to the repeal of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933, wrote in a New York Times op-ed: Don't Let Banks Become Casinos, wrote “Citing the pressures of rigorous worldwide competition in financial services, large American banks are pleading for the repeal of the Glass–Steagall Act, a law that keeps banks out of the more volatile and risky world of securities transactions. Their entreaties should be resisted..."[86]

Senator Schumer in 1999, in support of Congress’s repeal of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933, commented: "There are many reasons for this bill, but first and foremost is to ensure that U.S. financial firms remain competitive."[87]

The Securities and Investment industry is the largest donor to Schumer’s senatorial campaigns.[88]

On December 14, 2008 the New York Times published an article on Schumer's role in the Wall Street meltdown. The article stated that Schumer embraced the industry’s free-market, deregulatory agenda more than any other Democrat in Congress, even backing measures now blamed for contributing to the financial crisis.[89] Schumer took steps to protect industry players from government oversight and tougher rules, a review of his record shows. Over the years, he has also helped save financial institutions billions of dollars in higher taxes or fees. He succeeded in limiting efforts to regulate credit-rating agencies. This article also charged that Schumer blocked ratings agencies reforms proposed by the Bush Administration and the Cox SEC.[89]

In his book released in March 2010, "No One Would Listen," Madoff whistleblower Harry Markopolos passes along an unsourced claim that Schumer called the SEC for information about the Madoff investigation.

Technology and the Internet

In 1991, when President George H. W. Bush proposed placing the DARPA network into the public domain, Schumer argued that "it would be a waste of the taxpayers' money" to essentially give away the Defence Department technology. The DARPAnet became the basis for the Internet.

In June, 2011, the senator and colleague Joe Manchin (D-WV) sought a crackdown on bitcoin currency, saying it facilitated illegal drug trade transactions. "The transactions leave no traditional [bank transfer] money trail for investigators to follow, and leave it hard to prove a package recipient knew in advance what was in a shipment," using an "'anonymizing network' known as Tor."[90] One opinion website said the senators wanted "to disrupt [the] Silk Road drug website."[91]

Controversy & Criticism

"Porky" Amendments Incident

While debating the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Schumer drew criticism when he asserted that Americans did not care that 'porky' amendments had been inserted into the bill. Said Schumer, "And let me say this to all the chattering classes that so much focus on those little, tiny, yes porky amendments. The American people really don’t care."[92][93]

Controversial Statements over Gaza

Schumer, speaking at an Orthodox Union event in Washington, DC, in June 2010, made comments that were later criticized [94] regarding Israel's military blockade of the Gaza Strip. He called on Israel to "strangle them economically until they see that's not the way to go". He also said "they don't believe in the Torah, in David." He explained that the current Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is not only justified because it keeps weapons out of the Palestinian territory, but also because it shows the Palestinians living there that "when there's some moderation and cooperation, they can have an economic advancement."[95][96]

Flight attendant incident

After being asked by a flight attendant to turn off his cell phone during take-off of a US Airways flight from New York to Washington D.C. on December 13, 2009, Schumer called the flight attendant a "bitch." Schumer made the comment to fellow New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who was seated next to him, but was overheard by a Republican House aide who happened to be on the plane. After the story was reported on, Schumer issued an apology through a spokesperson for the "off-the-cuff comment".[97]


While discussing an immigration bill on the U.S. Senate floor, New York Democrat Charles Schumer likened Indian tech giant Infosys Technologies to a chop shop. When his statement set off a wave of outrage in India, the senator acknowledged his characterization was incorrect.[98] The remark was also criticized by the United States-India Business Council. Ron Somers, head of the USIBC, said that the remark was "outrageous in this day in age, when the world is so interconnected by the Internet, that draconian measures would be floated by the U.S. Congress that tar-brushes Indian companies as ‘chop shops'.”"[99]

Bicycle Safety

Schumer is noted for his love of bicycling around his home town of Brooklyn, New York.[100] However, in 2011 he was reported to have joined with a group of residents of his street in Park Slope, Brooklyn to have successful street safety improvements[101] removed from the street in front of his home.[102] While Schumer has not taken a public position on the traffic-calming project, whose most prominent feature is a two-way protected bike path, his wife, Iris Weinshall, is a prominent advocate against the street safety improvements, and the New York Post reported that Schumer himself has lobbied behind the scenes against the bike path.[103] In addition, a major Schumer campaign contributor[104] has fought a controversial pro bono legal battle against the safety project, drawing criticism.[105]

Controversy Surrounding Shuttle

In mid April of 2011 Schumer made comments to the New York Daily News that directly insulted the state of Texas for its desire to have one of the retiring space shuttles added to the NASA Johnson Space Center. He cited it being more appropriate for the shuttle to be placed in New York City than the NASA Johnson Space Center. Schumer said the following, “I’ve heard that Houston is making a big pitch to get NASA to reverse itself. Well let me say to Houston what we say in Brooklyn: forget about it. They are not getting the shuttle, uh, Houston may want it but we have it, we’re fighting for it, and we’re gonna to keep it. And I say to the people in Houston when people all around the world in London and Tokyo and Paris and Buenos Aires say, “”gee I can’t wait for my trip to Houston”” then you can have a shuttle. Until then its staying in New York because New York is where it belongs. More people will see the shuttle in New York than in anywhere else. We are the world’s capital for tourism and uh this is where the shuttle belongs at. The bottom line, again, to Houston you better give up the fight cause we’re keeping the shuttle and you don’t mess with New York" As a result of his comments, local Houston politician and radio personality Michael Berry organized a Texas-wide boycott of New York companies as well as a phone campaign that shut down the phones at Senator Schumer's office. The New York Chamber of Commerce was also targeted in the phone campaign. The boycott is to remain in place until Schumer offers an official apology.[citation needed]

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

Schumer was the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, part of the Democratic Senate Leadership, with primary responsibility for raising funds and recruiting candidates for the Democrats in the 2006 Senate election. When he took this post, he announced that he would not run for Governor of New York in 2006, as many had speculated he would. This step avoided a potentially divisive gubernatorial primary election in 2006 between Schumer and Eliot Spitzer, then New York's attorney general.

His tenure as DSCC chair was very successful. In the 2006 elections, the Democratic Party gained six seats in the Senate, defeating incumbents in each of those races and regaining control of the Senate for the first time since 2002. Of the closely contested races in the Senate in 2006, the Democrats lost only one, in Tennessee. Senate Majority Leader-to-be Harry Reid persuaded Schumer to serve another term as DSCC chair.

In September 2005, two staff employees of the DSCC illegally obtained a copy of the credit report of Lieutenant Governor of Maryland Michael S. Steele, a Republican senatorial candidate, posing as him and using his Social Security number. Upon learning this, the committee's executive director notified the U.S. attorney's office, and suspended the involved staffers. They are currently under investigation by the FBI. Schumer has not been implicated in the incident, and a spokesperson for the DSCC has said, "Chuck's only involvement was to report this matter to the authorities immediately after first learning about it."[106]

In 2009, for the 111th Congress, Schumer has been succeeded as the DSCC chair by Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey.

Personal life

Schumer and his wife, Iris Weinshall, were married September 21, 1980. The ceremony took place at Windows on the World at the top of the north tower of the World Trade Center.[107] Weinshall was the New York City Commissioner of Transportation from 2000 to 2007.[108] The Schumers have two children, Jessica and Alison. They live in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Schumer told a Utica television station that his father was raised in the Utica area.

While Congress is in session, Schumer lives in a rented house with fellow Democratic politicians George Miller, Dick Durbin, and Bill Delahunt.[109]

In January 2007, he published a book called Positively American, outlining strategies with which Democrats could court middle-class voters.[110]

Electoral history

1998 New York Democratic United States Senatorial Primary Election

Chuck Schumer 51%
Geraldine Ferraro 21%
Mark J. Green 19%

1998 New York United States Senatorial Election

Chuck Schumer (D) 55%
Al D'Amato (R) (inc.) 44%

2004 New York United States Senatorial Election

Chuck Schumer (D) (inc.) 70.6%
Howard Mills III (Republican) 24.6%
Marilyn F. O'Grady (Conservative) 3.4%
David McReynolds (Green) 0.5%
Donald Silberger (Lib.) 0.3%
Abraham Hirschfeld (Builders Party) 0.2%
Martin Koppel (Socialist Workers) 0.2%

2010 New York United States Senatorial Election

Chuck Schumer (D-Inc.) 3,047,775 67%
Jay Townsend (R) 1,480,337 33%


  1. ^ Democratic Caucus - Leadership
  2. ^
  3. ^ Ancestry
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  28. ^ "Schumer vows to fight Aqua New York's proposed rate hike". November 23, 2009. Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  29. ^ Colvin, Jill (November 30, 2009). "Sen. Schumer rips Adidas for outsourcing of NBA jerseys". New York: Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
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  31. ^ Rhett, Joshua (November 24, 2009). "Adidas Might Slam Dunk Nearly 100 American Workers in NBA Uniform Change". Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  32. ^ "Schumer: Shift stimulus money for roads near Canon". July 20, 2009. Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
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  35. ^ "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  36. ^ "The Governator Reprises His Role as a Villain,which he is, Wins Top Honors | Field & Stream". Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  37. ^ By Anonymous (November 30, 2009). "Schumer proposes hunter tax break – Utica, NY – The Observer-Dispatch". Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  38. ^ Chuck Schumer says he’s not armed (updated) - Monday, October 25, 2010 - Albany Times Union, Capitol Confidential
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  40. ^ Egbert, Bill (December 7, 2009). "Sen. Schumer rips banks' 'double-dipping' on ATM fees". New York: Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  41. ^ "Schumer to introduce BPA bill". April 18, 2008. Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  42. ^ Layton, Lyndsey; Lee, Christopher (April 19, 2008). "Canada Bans BPA From Baby Bottles". Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  43. ^ "| Press release - Charles E. Schumer Senate webpage". Sen. Charles E. Schumer. January 13, 2010. Retrieved August 3, 2010. 
  44. ^ "Schumer: Feds to crack down on phony flu products | News from The Post-Standard". Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  45. ^ Dick Blume / The Post-Standard. "Schumer pushes for new college tuition tax credit while visiting Syracuse University | News from The Post-Standard". Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
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  47. ^ Ryan, Tom (April 8, 2009). "NY City transit, ports to get $200 mln in security funds". Reuters. Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  48. ^ "News – Schumer: New York to Get $18M in Security Funding". WNYC. January 22, 2010. Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  49. ^ "Schumer, Boehlert, vow to fight Bush's FIRE grant restrictions". February 10, 2005. Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  50. ^ John Doherty. "Schumer lobbies for Maybrook FD". Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  51. ^ NEIL A. LEWIS (April 21, 1995). "TERROR IN OKLAHOMA: IN CONGRESS; Anti-Terrorism Bill: Blast Turns a Snail Into a Race Horse". NY Times. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  52. ^ Let ex-generals rate war, W told at the Wayback Machine (archived May 15, 2006)
  53. ^ Nat Hentoff, the Village Voice, What the Democrats Must Do, November 26, 2006. Retrieved January 26, 2007.
  54. ^ Ebey Soman, Socyberty, Senator Schumer on Darfur Genocide, September 16, 2009. Retrieved November 1, 2009.
  55. ^ "Chinese Currency Stirs Debate in U.S. Congress". NPR. April 17, 2006. Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  56. ^ Schumer, Chuck (June 3, 2008). "Russia Can Be Part of the Answer on Iran". Wall Street Journal: pp. A19. 
  57. ^ Central and East European Coalition. "Dear Senator Schumer" (PDF). Retrieved August 10, 2008. [dead link]
  59. ^ Schumer Declares His Support for Same-Sex Marriages
  60. ^ Katz, Celeste (March 23, 2009). "Schumer Comes Out For Gay Marriage (Updated)". New York: Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  61. ^ Peters, Jeremy W. (December 4, 2009). "Paterson Sidelined in Push for Same-Sex Marriage". The New York Times. Retrieved April 1, 2010. 
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  63. ^ "Transcript: Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter on 'FNS'". Fox News. March 19, 2007.,2933,259448,00.html. Retrieved April 11, 2007. 
  64. ^ "Transcript: Newt Gingrich, Senator Charles Schumer on 'FNS'". Fox News. 2007-04—08.,2933,264836,00.html. Retrieved April 11, 2007. 
  65. ^ Goldfarb, Zachary. "March 11: Schumer calls on Gonzales to resign – The Talk". Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  66. ^ 13 maart 2007 (March 13, 2007). "YouTube – Schumer Calls For Gonzales' Resignation". Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
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  68. ^ "Bush attorney general nominee gets key Democratic support –". November 2, 2007. Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
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  71. ^ Poirier, John (March 19, 2007). "Top five US subprime lenders asked to testify-Dodd". Reuters. Retrieved March 17, 2008. 
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  77. ^ "Treasury’s Watchdog Reviewing Backdating of Capital at Thrifts". March 27, 2009. Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
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  79. ^ "Schumer: Don't blame me for IndyMac failure". July 13, 2008. Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
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  81. ^ "IndyMac bank crisis signals new takeover era". The Seattle Times. July 14, 2008. Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
  82. ^ Schmidt, Susan (October 18, 2008). "Schumer Ripped IndyMac as Democratic Donors Probed Books". Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  83. ^ Appelbaum, Binyamin; Nakashima, Ellen (December 23, 2008). "Regulator Let IndyMac Bank Falsify Report". Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  84. ^ Irregularity Uncovered at IndyMac
  85. ^ "Rush Limbaugh Program Transcript, Dec. 22, 2008". December 22, 2008. Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
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  87. ^ New York Times, November 1, 1999, p 1.
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  89. ^ a b A Champion of Wall Street Reaps Benefits
  90. ^ Wolf, Brett, "Senators seek crackdown on 'Bitcoin' currency", Reuters, June 8, 2011 11:17am EDT. Retrieved 2011-07-29.
  91. ^ "Senators Charles Schumer, Joe Manchin discuss targetting bitcoin ...",, June 9, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-29.
  92. ^ Elizabeth Moore (February 12, 2009). "Sen. Schumer's "pork" comment draws ire". News Day.,0,3020515.story. Retrieved February 12, 2009. 
  93. ^ "Schumer: The American People Don't Care About Pork Projects In Stimulus". YouTube. February 10, 2009.,0,3020515.story. 
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  97. ^ Hernandez, Raymond (December 16, 2009). "Word Prompts Apology From Schumer". The New York Times. Retrieved December 27, 2009. 
  98. ^ Tripti Lahiri (August 13, 2010). "Sorry, Infosys Is a ‘Body Shop’". The Wall Street Journal. 
  99. ^ Narayan Lakshman (2010-08-11). "News / International : ‘Chop-shop' remark causes outrage". The Hindu. Retrieved 2010-09-07. 
  100. ^ "Exploring New York By Bike". The Huffington Post. June 22, 2009. 
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  102. ^ "What Happens When Senator Chuck Schumer Doesn't Like the New Bike Lane?". Streetsblog. February 7, 2011. 
  103. ^ "Not in Chuck's back yard!". New York Post. February 6, 2011. 
  104. ^ "Here it comes — the inevitable Prospect Park West bike lane lawsuit!". New York Post. February 15, 2011. 
  105. ^ In Anti-Bike Lane Case, Gibson Dunn Strays From Pro Bono Standards
  106. ^ They're not a credit to Schumer at the Wayback Machine (archived January 3, 2006)
  107. ^ Photo from Senate bio. Retrieved January 26, 2007. Archived December 27, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  108. ^ Biography of Commissioner Weinshall at the Wayback Machine (archived July 7, 2006)
  109. ^ New York Times – Taking Power, Sharing Cereal, January 18, 2007
  110. ^

External links

New York Assembly
Preceded by
Stephen J. Solarz
New York State Assembly, 45th District
1975 – 1980
Succeeded by
Daniel Feldman
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Elizabeth Holtzman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 16th congressional district

Succeeded by
Charles B. Rangel
Preceded by
Mario Biaggi
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 10th congressional district

Succeeded by
Ed Towns
Preceded by
Thomas J. Manton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 9th congressional district

Succeeded by
Anthony D. Weiner
United States Senate
Preceded by
Alfonse D'Amato
United States Senator (Class 3) from New York
Served alongside: Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Kirsten Gillibrand
Political offices
Preceded by
Jim Saxton
(R-New Jersey)
Chairman of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee
Succeeded by
Carolyn Maloney
(D-New York)
Preceded by
Dianne Feinstein
Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee
2009 – present
Party political offices
Preceded by
Robert Abrams
Democratic nominee for United States Senator (Class 3) from New York
1998, 2004, 2010
Succeeded by
Most recent
Preceded by
Jon Corzine
Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Succeeded by
Bob Menendez
Preceded by
Position created
Vice Chairman of the Senate Democratic Conference
Preceded by
Byron Dorgan
Chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Mike Enzi
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Mike Crapo

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