New York State Senator
In 2004, New Yorkers re-elected U.S. Senator Charles E. “Chuck” Schumer to represent the State of New York in the U.S. Senate for a second-six year term. Chuck started off his second term by being appointed to the Democratic Leadership team by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Chuck also earned a seat on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees the nation’s tax, trade, social security and health care legislation. Chuck also sits on the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; the Judiciary Committee; and the Rules Committee. He is the Ranking Member of the Administrative Oversight and the Courts Subcommittee and the Economic Policy Subcommittee. Prior to his election to the Senate, Chuck represented the Ninth Congressional District in Brooklyn and Queens for eighteen years. Before that, he represented the Forty-Fifth Assembly District in Brooklyn for six years.
For the past two and a half decades, Chuck Schumer has been a leader on national issues and a tireless fighter for New York. For his efforts, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle called Chuck "an accomplished, far-sighted legislator," while The New York Times wrote that Chuck "is a more serious lawmaker with more rooted values, sounder policy positions and a deeper commitment to the common good."
Serving three terms in the New York State Assembly, Chuck worked vigorously for his Brooklyn constituents. He sponsored legislation to protect local cemeteries from vandalism and passed laws limiting noise pollution by banning motorcycles from residential streets between 9 pm and 8 am. He was a staunch affordable housing advocate, and sponsored legislation that increased penalties for arson in houses of worship.
Throughout his 20 years in Congress, Chuck has been a pioneer in the fight against crime. His work in this area led Attorney General Janet Reno, the nation's top law enforcer, to state, "I have never met a public official more dedicated to fighting crime than Mr. Schumer."
In 1994, Chuck authored the Omnibus Crime Bill, which put 100,000 new policemen on the street, enforced the "three strikes and you're out" sentencing, and created after school programs for troubled teens. As of August 2000, the Crime Bill's COPS program had put 11,461 new officers on New York's streets.
Chuck was a leading sponsor of the Brady Bill, which instituted mandatory background checks for handgun purchases. Chuck co-wrote the Assault Weapons Ban, which outlawed the manufacture and importation of 19 types of semi-automatic weapons, including the Uzi, AK-47 and Tec-9. He also sponsored both the Hate Crimes Statistics Act and Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which organized data on crimes of bigotry and allowed federal authorities to prosecute these crimes. In 1992, Chuck authored the Anti-Auto Theft Act, which required car manufacturers to mark often-stolen vehicle parts with an indelible ID number. Chuck won the first federal funding for Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester to implement Project Exile, a program that enforces strict sentencing guidelines for illegal gun possession. Chuck also sponsored legislation in the Senate that provided $125 million in funding for rape kit testing and $100 million for the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners program to help law enforcement identify, arrest and convict perpetrators of sexual assaults.
In addition to his record on crime, Chuck has been a tireless advocate for women' rights. He is the author of the landmark Violence Against Women Act, which was the first federal legislation protecting women against domestic abuse. As Chair of the House Judiciary's Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice, Chuck passed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act and made blockading the entrances to family clinics a federal crime.
Since his election to the Senate, Chuck has made improving New York's economy his top priority. He has been particularly successful in bringing affordable air service to Upstate New York, helping deliver new airline Jet Blue to Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse and working with low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines to expand service to Albany and Western New York. His Group of 35 developed a comprehensive plan to address New York City's long-term economic needs by adding 60,000 new square feet of desperately needed office space to accommodate 300,000 new jobs projected over the next twenty years.
Chuck also established an Economic Development Initiative (EDI), a comprehensive effort to attract new businesses and financial resources to Upstate New York. As part of EDI, Chuck has held business roundtables throughout the state, organizing meetings between economic development officials and business leaders in Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse during his first year in office. Later he toured the state with the site selectors who help businesses decide where to locate offices and factories, and sent a brochure promoting Upstate's merits to CEO's in New York City.
Chuck is the author of legislation that would eliminate many of the barriers that delay low-cost generic medications from coming to the marketplace. Chuck's bill would save consumers 60% when they choose a generic drug over the name brand by the third year the generic alternative is on the market. Chuck is also the author of legislation that would create an electronic national organ registry that would immediately link donors and recipients nationwide. Chuck has also written bi-partisan legislation to stabilize the Medicare + Choice program to help correct funding disparities that have caused over 1.6 million Americans, many of them senior citizens, to lose their HMO coverage.
Improving access to quality education is another of Chuck's long-term priorities. He led the charge in Congress to make college tuition tax deductible, and for the first time in history, parents will be able to deduct a portion of their children's tuition. Chuck has developed a "Marshall Plan for Teachers," which would provide a series of incentives to attract the best and brightest to teaching, and successfully authored several amendments to the Education bill which would double funding for recruiting and retaining math and science teachers.
Chuck, as the Ranking Member of the Administrative Oversight and the Courts subcommittee, plays a key role in judicial nominations. He held hearings in June 2001 to examine the role of judicial ideology in the judicial confirmation process. Chuck is the author of bipartisan legislation to allow federal trials to be televised and also of legislation that would modernize the nation's voting system by providing guidance, expertise and $3.5 billion in grants to states and localities to upgrade their voting equipment. Chuck was also a strong supporter of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation.
A member of the Banking committee in the House and the Senate, Chuck worked for a decade to pass the 1999 Financial Services Modernization legislation, which modernizes regulations governing the US banking, securities and insurance industries. He played a key role in drafting language to ensure that financial companies serve traditionally underserved areas and has exposed unequal lending practices of banks and predatory lending practices of subprime lenders in minority communities. Chuck is currently the Ranking Member of the Banking committee's Economic Policy subcommittee.
In 2005, Chuck was appointed to the Finance committee and the Finance subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight. Occupying a seat once occupied by his former colleague, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Chuck now leads the fight against the privatization of Social Security and to ensure the solvency of the program through a bipartisan solution. He is working to maintain Medicaid funding for our seniors and to prevent a tax-hike for middle-class Americans by maintaining the deductibility of state and local taxes on federal income tax returns. Chuck is concerned about the growing trade deficit with China and co-sponsored a bill that will help U.S. businesses by forcing China to adhere to its WTO obligations.
Chuck has also had a powerful effect on a wide-ranging number of issues, including:
• Consumers: The "Schumer Box," enacted in 1988, requires that credit card companies clearly inform consumers of their terms.
• Immigration: Chuck forged an agreement in 1986 that resulted in an overhaul of the immigration system. He is also the author of pending legislation that would crack down on fraudulent immigration consultants.
• AIDS: Chuck authored the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS Law.
• Israel: Chuck is a staunch advocate for our Middle East ally and has been a leader in bringing restitution to Holocaust survivors and their families.
• Terrorism: Chuck was one of the authors of the 1996 Antiterrorism Act. He successful fought to maintain the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act, which maintains sanctions on rogue states, and demanded the State Department stop omitting Palestinian terrorists from its website offering rewards and information for the capture of those suspected of killing American citizens.
Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, Chuck has worked tirelessly to help New York recover and rebuild. On September 13, Chuck, along with Senator Clinton, secured a commitment from President Bush to provide $20 billion in federal funding to help New York pay for recovery and relief efforts. Chuck also helped create the federal Victims Compensation Fund, which helps the families of those lost on September 11 or anyone physically injured in the attack continue with their lives by providing the family with all of the money the person killed or injured would have earned over his or her lifetime, all within five months of filing the claim. Chuck and Senator Clinton also successfully lobbied for $5 billion in aid for New York in the economic stimulus package pending before the Senate.
A product of the Brooklyn public schools, Chuck, who was born on November 23, 1950, is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He was elected to the New York State Assembly at age 23 -- making him one of the youngest members since Theodore Roosevelt -- and to Congress at 29. In 1998, Chuck became New York's junior Senator, and he now holds the senior position. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Iris Weinshall, and their daughters, Jessica and Alison.