U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is already reaching out to Republicans in an attempt to work on bipartisan legislation to help the middle class.
He told dozens at the Marketplace Mall on Monday that he already has called a few new senators since his reelection last week — Schumer will serve a third six-year term representing New York in the Senate. The stop was part of an upstate tour to thank voters.
Schumer said he wants to help the middle class by bringing good-paying jobs to Upstate and making permanent the Bush administration’s tax cuts for the middle class, but not for millionaires. Schumer said millionaires are less likely to go out and spend the money at a mall like Marketplace than the middle class is.
Schumer also told those gathered that American workers can compete against any workers in the world as long as countries play by the rules. He said China has not, and he is working on bipartisan legislation to impose a tariff on Chinese goods if China does not open its markets.
The Schumer-Graham bill, co-sponsored with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also calls for increased pressure on China to raise the value of its currency, which has been held at rates favorable to Chinese exporters at the expense of American exports and jobs.
An older couple who attended asked the senator about Social Security.
“Some want to privatize social security, which is their way of saying get rid of it,” Schumer said. “Over my dead body.”
Jeoff Carlson of Henrietta told Schumer he was one of the independents who voted for him and asked him what he is going to do about a lot of new people trying to redirect the nation’s focus when they join the new Congress in January.
“I hope we’ll be able to work together for the good of this country,” he said. “We have to work together.”
Someone else asked about helping the Buffalo Bills.
Schumer said he would tell the team “Don’t move from Buffalo and keep summer training in Rochester.”
The team trains each summer at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford.
Schumer’s post-election tour has become a tradition since he won his first of 15 elections in 1974 — he first ran for the state Assembly. He said he felt so good about winning that he went down to his local grocery store to thank voters personally, and he has done it ever since.
“I was very gratified by the returns I got in this area,” Schumer said. “My message has always been to focus on the middle class. I believe you have to earn the voter’s trust and respect every single day. Thank you. I won’t let you down. I will be working hard for you.”