Schumer predicts bipartisanship early in 112th Congress

One of the Senate's top Democrats said Thursday he expects the next six months to be an unusually productive time in Congress.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) expressed hope the productive lame-duck session had touched off an end — at least a temporary one — to the acrimony between the parties that marked much of the last two years on Capitol Hill.

ADVERTISEMENT
"My prediction: The next sixth months will be more like the lame-duck, where there was a lot of productivity, than like the previous two years, when there was a lot of dart-throwing," Schumer said on MSNBC.

Congress just wrapped up an unusually successful lame-duck that saw Democrats and Republicans join together (in some instances) to vote to extend tax cuts, ratify the New START treaty and repeal "Don't ask, don't tell," among other items.

Schumer, who is playing a new role in the Senate on party messaging, said Republicans' heightened responsibility (by virtue of their control of the House) and lawmakers' desire to start legislating more would make for a more productive Congress.

There's good reason to think "the next sixth months to a year will be very good — not as partisan as the last two," Schumer said.

The New York Democrat also credited Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a frequent target of Democratic charges of "obstructionism" in the last two years, for being a reliable negotiating partner.

"If he wanted to be in the position of just saying no, he probably could've stopped everything in this session," Schumer said. "He's a very smart, capable politician. And he knows that if he's in the same crouch he was in the last two years, of just trying to stop everything, his party won't win, they'll lose."