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Schumer pushes infrastructure bill, says Republicans were ashamed of tax overhaul

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
Sen. Charles Schumer at Syracuse City Hall.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) joined elected officials and activist groups in Syracuse Monday to protest the Republican tax overhaul passed by Congress in December. Demonstrators fear the tax cuts will be paid for by cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. 

Schumer said Republicans were ashamed of their tax reform bill and rushed it through Congress without a single Democratic vote. 

“So much of the benefit goes to the wealthiest and most powerful corporations and to the wealthiest individuals," Schumer said. "The top one percent got a tax break. Now they’re doing great. I don’t begrudge them. But they don’t need a tax break. The average struggling, working family throughout central New York and America needs a tax break."

Schumer said the worry now is Republicans will want entitlement reform to pay for the tax cuts.

"Here’s the equation that we all worry about: they give a huge tax break to the wealthiest individuals and the biggest corporations, they then create a $1.5 trillion deficit, and then they say cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, cut your healthcare to pay for it," Schumer said. "It’s outrageous!”  

Bill Spreter, president of the central New York chapter of the New York State Alliance of Retired Americans, said President Donald Trump's proposed budget breaks the promise he made on the campaign trail, that he would not cut entitlement spending.

“Since we’ve passed this massive tax cut of $1.5 trillion, we have to pay for it, so it’s going to come out of the hides of the seniors and the people retiring on Social Security,” Spreter said.

Protesters voiced their support for Schumer and Democrats' proposal of an infrastructure bill that would be paid for by rescinding the tax breaks for the wealthy.

"Building roads, upgrading our water and sewer, making sure our schools are modern, making sure our veteran facilities are modern,” Schumer said.

Republicans are defending the tax overhaul, pointing to higher paychecks for workers and bonuses some companies have given to employees.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.