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Sunday Study Guide: Schumer, Coburn, Roundtable

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

  • Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer has represented  New York in the U.S. Senate since first being elected in 1998. He holds the third highest position in Democratic leadership, the vice chair of the Democratic Conference. Prior to the Senate, Schumer served 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and five years in the state legislature. 
  • This week Schumer voiced hope there will be compromise on the approaching fiscal cliff. He said he “was heartened, very heartened, by the tone that Speaker Boehner showed” in his press conference and thinks the White House will reach out to business leaders to help bring about a deal. He said, “I think it’s pretty clear that [voters] said, ‘Come to a compromise, get a handle on spending, but raise some revenues.’”
  • Schumer, who is chair of the Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on immigration, also hopes the Latino voters’ role in the election outcome will spur immigration reform. He said, “The election gave great momentum to immigration reform, because it showed Republicans they cannot succeed if they continue with such a harsh position.”
  • Here is his latest appearance on Meet the Press.


Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)

  • Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has served in the U.S. Senate since 2005. Prior to serving in the Senate, Coburn served in the U.S. House of Representatives for six years, the first Republican to represent the second Congressional District since 1923.   
  • Coburn, a member of the “Gang of six” tasked with determining a deficit reduction plan, wrote in an op/ed piece that Congress should not focus simply on “turning off” sequestration, but “should do the hard work of replacing arbitrary across-the-board cuts with specific reductions of an equal amount.”  He wrote, “[A]cross-the-board spending cuts are, frankly, a stupid way to budget. The cuts, also known as sequestration, absolve politicians of the responsibility of leading and making real decisions.”
  • Coburn releases an annual “Wastebook,” in which he identifies “examples of mismanagement, wasteful spending and special interest deals.” When he released the latest edition in October, he wrote, “Washington spent much of the year deadlocked over whether to cut spending or increase taxes to address our fiscal crisis, all the while, allowing or even supporting these questionable projects” which are “a direct result of Washington politicians who are preoccupied with running for re-election rather than running the country, which is what they were elected to do in the first place.” Coburn also partnered with then-Sen/ Obama in 2006 to sponsor a bill, creating http://www.usaspending.gov/, which tracks all federal spending.
  • He is also the author of “The Debt Bomb.” Watch his most recent appearance on the show here.

Roundtable: Castro, Schmidt, Goodwin, Woodward, Todd, and Cramer

Rep.-elect Joaquin Castro (D-TX) was just elected to the U.S. House of Representatives this past week to represent the 20th Congressional District of Texas . Castro said this election told him compromise is what voters want. He also said, “This election was a clear signal from the American people that they want both parties to cooperate” and that the GOP must recognize “Latinos are a part of the American family, and oftentimes these policies [of the Republican Party] make Latinos feel as though they’re not accepted by many folks in the Republican Party.”

Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, who was a senior strategist in the McCain-Palin campaign in 2008, recently said the Republican Party must stand up against its most extreme elements. He said, “[I]t's time for Republican elected leaders to stand up and to repudiate this nonsense, and to repudiate it directly.” Watch his most recent appearance on Meet the Press here.   

Doris Kearns Goodwin is a presidential historian and Pulitzer prize-winning author. She recently said of President Obama’s place in history, “I think he sees himself as a figure in history and that’s a good thing; it means he wants to be remembered in time for having done things that matter, for having changed America in a good way. And you want a president in there doing that.” Goodwin is also the author of “Team of Rivals,” which inspired Steven Spielberg’s new movie, “Lincoln,” out this month.  Here is her most recent appearance on the show.

The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward recently said of the media’s effect on the election outcome, “this line that somehow the mainstream or liberal media did Romney in and really was helping Obama -- I just don't think comports with the facts.” He is also the author of “The Price of Politics,” which details the negotiations between the White House and Congress and Republicans and Democrats over the deficit deal. Watch his most recent appearance on the show.

NBC News Political Director and Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd wrote in Friday’s First Read the question in the White House is whether or not to attempt a major deal now. “Some are skeptical, even inside the White House; after all, they’ve been burned before (see: debt-ceiling fight). On the other hand, this might be their best (and perhaps only) opportunity to go big on tax reform and deficit reduction – and get it done on their terms.” Here is his most recent appearance.

CNBC’s Jim Cramer said remarks from President Obama and Speaker Boehner made him “feel like maybe you don't have to be insane to believe you can get a positive resolution here” but before the fiscal cliff can be bridged, “we have to hear more beyond what we heard today.” Watch is latest Meet the Press appearance.


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