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Urban Outfitters Denied Liquor License by Williamsburg Committee

Urban Outfitters Denied Liquor License by Williamsburg Committee


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Community board puts kibosh on soused shopping

Wikimedia/Minnaert

A Brooklyn community board does not want Urban Outfitters to have a liquor license in its area.

Williamsburg, N.Y., residents who were hoping to get soused and shop for some flirty sundresses and phrenology busts will have to go somewhere else, as the local community board committee has denied Urban Outfitters' request for a liquor license.

According to DNAinfo, Urban Outfitters employees spent more than an hour mounting an impassioned defense of their application, insisting that alcohol would make the shop "an integral part of the community."

According to director of store development James Smith, Urban Outfitters was looking to create a three-story lifestyle center with a "mellow restaurant," a rooftop area, and a pop-up crafting space in the basement. Top Chef alum Ilan Hall was named as the chef behind the restaurant Urban Outfitters wanted to open. Hall said he was looking to open in Williamsburg because it is "a hot spot for new restaurants" and maintained that a liquor license was essential to surviving as a restaurant.

The board was not buying the part where the alcohol came in.

"I get the kumbaya moment, but why do you have to be blasted to do that?" asked board member Rob Solano. "I go to Ikea and have a sandwich with meatballs, and I don't need a drink. I have no idea where the alcohol fits in."

The committee decision will be followed by an official board vote next week, but DNAinfo notes that boards "nearly always follow their committees' recommendations."


Hire calling: why rental fashion is taking off

Previously, people would only rent clothes for special occasions, but now environmentally conscious customers are driving a boom in everyday-wear rental. Can it solve our fast fashion problem?

Urban Outfitters is one of the bigger names to announce a rental offering. Photograph: Linda Nylind/The Guardian

Urban Outfitters is one of the bigger names to announce a rental offering. Photograph: Linda Nylind/The Guardian

Last modified on Tue 21 Apr 2020 16.15 BST

It could be a wedding invitation. Perhaps a job interview is coming up. Or maybe it’s just a big night out. There are many reasons people shop for new clothes. But environmentally conscious and cash savvy consumers are increasingly opting to rent rather than buy when they want a new outfit.

Fashion rental is on the rise and not just for event wear. Where once someone may only have hired a tuxedo or formal wear for a special occasion, today companies are renting customers everyday clothing, handbags, even trainers for one-off fees or via low-cost subscription. Designer labels, children’s clothes and maternity wear are also proving popular with consumers who are reluctant to invest in items they may not need for long or those who want to keep up with fashion without feeding mass consumption.

“The benefits of renting fashion are wide-ranging,” says Samantha Dover, senior retail analyst at research firm Mintel. “Not only can renting clothes be a more environmentally friendly alternative to buying into fast-moving fashion trends, but consumers can also save space in their homes. Fashion rentals can fulfil temporary fashion, such as clothing for women during pregnancy, while some fashion rental companies are tapping into demand for more niche and everyday fashion products such as streetwear.”

Evidence suggests people are already shopping less frequently. The percentage of those buying clothes every two to three months declined between 2017 and 2018, according to Mintel, while there was a marked increase in those shopping just once a year. Importantly, there has been a consistent fall in the percentage of shoppers indulging their habit once a month or more.

The US has led the way in fashion rental with market leader Rent the Runway, operating since 2009. It offers users unlimited rentals for a regular monthly subscription of $159 (£127). The UK has been slower to catch on to the rental trend, though several services have emerged in recent years. Girl Meets Dress has a monthly fee of £99, for which subscribers can have unlimited dress hires. Wear the Walk, My Wardrobe HQ and Front Row rent out high end and designer labels for a monthly subscription, plus a rental fee for each item, typically between 10% and 15% of the retail price. Meanwhile, Dutch label Scotch & Soda recently announced plans to launch a men’s clothing rental service this autumn.

Sacha Newall, founder of My Wardrobe HQ, believes that renting clothes will become the norm in future and could address growing concerns about the negative impacts of fast fashion. “I used to work in the car sharing industry, where for every car shared 11 are taken off the road,” she says. “Apply a similar approach to the crisis in the fashion industry and you have the potential to make a real difference.”

Consumers are beginning to wake up to the effect that cheap, throwaway fashion is having. A damning parliamentary committee report recently outlined the contribution of the fashion industry to climate change. The findings were stark: the textile industry creates 1.2bn tonnes of CO2 a year, and is responsible for the consumption of vast quantities of water, while 35% of the microplastics in the ocean come from the synthetic fibres in abandoned clothing.

Newall adds: “Rental can be for fun. It’s a one-night stand. But you can look good with the virtue factor of knowing you haven’t done any damage to the environment.”

While more people are aware of the damage fast-moving, disposable fashion is doing to the planet, social media is encouraging consumption of clothing among some users. One in six young people say they do not feel able to wear an outfit again once it has appeared on social media, a study by charity the Hubbub Foundation found. Almost half of young women polled said they felt the need to wear a different look every time they went out.

“The increase in fashion rental should drive the production of clothes that are more durable, which is good in terms of sustainability,” says Heather Poore, Hubbub’s creative director. “But the rental model is new and still being tested. A lot of the focus is on high-end items. The real strength of it will become evident when the big, everyday brands start to trial it. Plus, you have to balance the potential mass scale of rental with sustainable ways to get clothes to people. Online deliveries already have a big environmental impact.”

Urban Outfitters is one of the bigger names to announce a rental offering. Its online rental service, called Nuuly, launches in the US this summer, in part to mitigate the high level of returns the retailer experiences. H&M has said it is looking into the renting model as part of its sustainability agenda. The Westfield Group has run trials of rental services.

The benefits of launching rental services can be considerable for fashion labels and retailers. Individuals who might otherwise feel unable to afford a brand can give it a try through rental, which may lead to future sales. Environmentally and ethically aware consumers are also increasingly seeking evidence of sustainable behaviour on the part of companies they deal with. Plus, rental can be a way for brands to generate extra revenue from excess inventory.

Shika Bodani, founder of rental service Front Row, believes that education is necessary to remove the stigma associated with rental in some brands’ eyes. “A lot of them are still worried that renting will devalue their brand, making their products appear second hand,” she explains. “It’s about changing the brands’ perspective. Educating people is easier. Once they understand the process, they soon see the attraction of the sharing economy. The rise of the conscious consumer is something fashion brands can’t ignore.”


Urban Outfitters Denied Liquor License by Williamsburg Committee - Recipes

Somewhere between the pictures of cute Corgi puppies or tucked in with requests to play "Hidden Chronicles" and the 14th not-so-clever Happy Birthday wish for a friend, you might have seen a Facebook post about the CEO of Urban Outfitters -- a man named Richard Hayne.

"This is Richard Hayne, president and CEO of Urban Outfitters. He’s also a supporter of Rick Santorum and donated over $13,000 to him. He’s against gay marriage and abortion," says the post, with an attached photo.

"His company pulled a pro-gay shirt back in ‘08, they also blatantly ripped off an Etsy designers work, featured a T-shirt for women that said ‘eat less’ and most recently had a card with a ‘tranny’ slur on (it).

"He also owns Anthropologie and Free People."

Hayne, 64, is indeed the chairman and CEO of Urban Outfitters Inc., a company that owns Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People -- popular stores with locations across the country. Hayne is worth $1.1 billion, according to Forbes.

Friends here in Florida who saw the Facebook post asked us to look into the connection between Hayne and Santorum, the former Republican U.S. senator who is running for president.

Hayne is from Philadelphia and attended Lehigh University near Allentown.

Santorum was elected to the U.S. House to represent a western Pennsylvania district in 1990, then was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994, where he served two terms.

The campaign donations

Hayne has not contributed to Santorum’s presidential campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tabulates campaign contributions.

But Hayne and his wife Margaret have contributed to Santorum and his political action committee in the past.

From 1994-2005 the Haynes contributed $13,900 to Santorum or a PAC he started, Fight-PAC, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

  • Margaret Hayne donated $2,400 to Santorum directly and $5,000 to his political committee. Her donations came in 1997 and 1998.
  • Richard Hayne gave $3,500 to Santorum and $3,000 to Fight-PAC. Hayne’s first donation was in October 1994 his last contribution was recorded in May 2005.

The donations ended when Santorum lost his Senate seat in 2006 to Democrat Bob Casey Jr.


Urban Outfitters Denied Liquor License by Williamsburg Committee - Recipes

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Host A Rocking Pre-Prom Party!

Help friends let their guards down by handing out silly disposable cameras like the ones from Urban Outfitters. Once you hand out disposable cameras, everyone will let loose and get silly in front of the camera, meaning pictures will look more natural and less posed than when the real cameras come out and moms start snapping away.

Awesome music that isn&rsquot too loud&mdashso people can still talk and not feel like they're already at prom&mdashis key. The right tunes will set the tone for the night and get everyone into party mode. I love playing the Nick and Nora&rsquos Infinite Playlist soundtrack when I want to get pumped up!

Set out food that&rsquos easy to eat, like crackers and cheese, chips and dip, or sliders. I love hors d&rsquooeuvres that take a twist on familiar faves like grilled cheese, making them gourmet but still appealing to picky boys who just want home-style cooking. Search Pinterest for easy food ideas!

And totally important&mdashdon&rsquot forget to set out breath mints for when everyone is done eating! Nobody wants to have smelly breath when they're slow-dancing with their crushes.

What&rsquos a funny photo without props to hold in it? Think mustaches, glasses, and fake tiaras. Party City sells a cheap set for only $4, or you can make your own using construction paper. Hit the crafts store

All you have to do is cut out shapes and glue sticks to them (find these at a craft store)

To take the best photos, pose outside where there's natural light. Stand with the light behind you and try to hit the photography "golden hour," if you can, which is the time when the sun is setting (this will give you a perfect golden glow!). But in the event of a rainy day, clear furniture out of a room that has a lot of windows, so you can take pictures in an open, airy space.


Shopping Under the Influence: A Guide

Uh oh. It seems like only yesterday we were fretting about the proclivity among a certain few of us to drink a few drinks and go home and get online and, well, yes, isn't it the perfect time to finally stock up on new summer clothes, or to buy all the books we've been meaning to read, or to purchase some really bargain-priced tickets to Tibet? Then in the morn we wake and realize we accidentally spent some outrageous amount of money (on our credit cards, no less) on something we may not even want, and probably do not actually need.  The dangers of Shopping Under the Influence (SUI), Buying Under the Influence (BUI), or Shopping While Intoxicated (SWI) have been fairly well-documented, including what may be the definitive modern-times piece in 2011, "Online Merchants Home In on Imbibing Consumers," in The New York Times

But the dangers of SUI are not confined to 2011, or even, for that matter, to the Internet. Everywhere the opportunity to drink and shop encroaches, sometimes under the same roof! As reported today in  The New York Post , an Urban Outfitters hopes to offer goods, food,  and  drink in the store they plan to open soon on Williamsburg's North Sixth Street. They've applied for a liquor license and everything.  Now, the real problem with SUI is the "I" part. In the moment, after a couple of beers, after a Long Island iced tea, after whatever it is you drink, it really does seem that whatever purchase you're about to make is a good idea, even if it's a  garden gnome  that costs $3,000. That's exactly what the retailers, online or off, want you to think, too. And that's exactly how this writer once ended up with quite a few different very fashionable hats one bleary night on 8th Street.

While stoical types will tell you that the only way to SUI well is to not do it at all, I believe there are some tips that can help you do it better. Because chances are, you are going to be exposed to a drink and a store, or a drink and your computer and an Internet connection, at some point in the very near future. You might as well be prepared, or as prepared as possible. Follow these rules:

Eat First. As with any sober trip to the grocery store, you should not be hungry when you go. If you're Shopping Under the Influence in your local market, you can be certain that if you're even the slightest bit hungry you'll buy all the Doritos under the sun, and then you'll eat them all, because Doritos are made to make you eat them. Last night, after after-work drinks, I went to the store under the auspices of "putting some food in the house" and brought home a large amount of brie, tamari almonds, and several bottles of wine. So you see. Clearly, before FSUI (Food Shopping Under the Influence) you should make sure you've dined properly. But this is also true of Clothing and Product Shopping Under the Influence. The fact is, food in your tummy helps take some of the oomph away from the booze, and that's good for your purchasing decisions. They say coffee helps, too.

Bring Friends. There is safety in numbers, but make sure these numbers do not work on commission. The retail employee of the store where you're SUI-ing will, chances are, tell you what he or she wants you to hear. And if you've had a bit to drink you may not be able to tell the difference between an honest recommendation ("That skirt looks amazing on you!") and a baldfaced attempt to sell you something ("Why doesn't everyone still wear Blossom hats? You have just the face for it!"). If you're going to SUI, particularly in a physical retail location, bring along a friend. If you're doing it online, or you just happen into a store alone on the way home from work drinks, you can always gchat someon e links or text a trusted friend pictures of what you think you might buy. Or crowdsource it on Twitter! Just don't put the decision in the hands of the store clerk who's eyeing your credit card. 

If It's a Gift, It Doesn't Count as SUI. As an anonymous source confesses, "Once I got drunk at some makeup thing and ended up buying my mom some exorbitant face cream. NEVER AGAIN." Not to worry: This is like appetizers eaten with friends, a no-calorie boon, not something to regret. Her mom loved the gift, and all was well in the world. 

Hide Your Credit Card. There's a benefit sometimes to operating on an all-cash basis, and that's the fact that your funds are limited to precisely what you have already withdrawn. Of course, this takes some self-control and ahead-of-time prep. But if you withdraw only a certain amount and leave your credit and even your debit cards at home, you will not be able to buy any more than you have money for, and that can be a very good thing the next day. 

Vet Return Policies Beforehand.  If the store's policy is "exchanges only," find another. If you're buying online, make sure "free returns" are an option. 

Only Shop Where (and When) You Can Walk. This is good for a lot of reasons. Because you shouldn't be driving a car if you've been drinking. Because proximity will make returns easier. Because you won't have to spend some of your hard-earned, much-needed shopping money on a cab, and because you won't fall asleep on the subway and have all your new duds stolen. Also, yes, if you are able to put forward money in exchange for goods, you should be able to walk. Otherwise you should be home asleep with your eyes closed.  In the cases of online shopping, of course, this does not apply. I do urge you, again, to check the return policy before you press "buy." 

Have a Safe Word. If you really, really, really do not want to be shopping under the influence, pick a word, and when things get out of control, say it over and over again until you are led from the store and, perhaps, to a nearby facility of some sort. (This word should probably not be "fire." I like "butterfly.")

Avoid Trouble-Spot Stores (and Ugly Things).  Certain inexpensive retailers may lure you like a beacon, but their cheapness is really to your detriment, because you will buy with abandon. There is also a theory that goes that those under the influence may be, like magpies, more attracted to colorful things. One frequent SUIer who must remain nameless admitted the following: " I used to regularly go to happy hour, then saunter over to the Forever 21 on Broadway where I would buy trendy cheap shit. Never tried anything on. When drunk, I gravitate to colorful clothing. I have a neon green cardigan, a tropical print swing tank, a red blouse, and a burnt-orange mini skirt .   the blouse is gross and seems flammable." 

Try Things On. C'mon, we're all professionals here. 

Consider the Time. The best time to shop under the influence is really probably right after brunch, on a weekend, when you've eaten and enjoyed a bloody Mary or two but haven't spent hours of the evening sidled up to a bar before wandering into a Barneys Coop with your credit card out. Usually also the case with brunch is that you will be with companions who can, one hopes, be a stabilizing influence.

Savor Your Multitasking Spirit! So, if you're drinking at night, or in the day, chances are, you probably aren't, or shouldn't be, going to the gym (falling off a treadmill while intoxicated is worse than nearly any sort of SUI) or working on your home improvement plans (no climbing ladders), or operating heavy machinery. So why not shop? This is also your rationale for when the credit card bill comes. At the end of the day, drinks or not, you really have to be who you are. As a friend put it, "God, I'm realizing that I basically ONLY shop while drunk." Well, you have to do stuff sometimes! 

Main image via Shutterstock by  Christian Mueller . Insets via Shutterstock/Pressmaster Shutterstock/Andresr Shutterstock/MSPhotographic.


Contents

The modern five boroughs, comprising the city of New York, were united in 1898. In that year, the cities of New York—which then consisted of present-day Manhattan and the Bronx—and Brooklyn were both consolidated with the largely rural areas of Queens and Staten Island. [3] The total population was 3.4 million in 1900, leaping to 5.6 million in 1920 and leveling off at 7.9 million in 1950. The population was highly diverse in ethnicity, race, religion and class. [4]

The city went through an enormous growth in population, industry, and wealth. Major achievements included the building of the subway system by commercial companies. The city funded major new bridges between Manhattan and Brooklyn and Queens, which enabled commuting and the rise of an industrial base there. The city also expanded its port facilities, improved its traffic system, built hundreds of new elementary and high schools, and engaged in large-scale public health programs. Many early skyscrapers, including several of the world's tallest buildings, were erected in Manhattan as well.

Machine politics versus the reformers Edit

The politics of the consolidated city revolved around conflicts between the political machines and the reformers. In the quiet times, the machines had a solid core of supporters and usually exercised control of city and borough affairs they also played a major role in the state legislature in Albany. Tammany Hall from the 1880s and onward built a strong network of local clubs that attracted ambitious middle-class ethnics. [5] [6] In times of crisis however, especially in the severe depressions of the 1890s and the 1930s, the reformers took control of key offices, notably the mayor's office. The reformers were never unified they operated through a complex network of independent civic reform groups, each focusing its lobbying efforts on its own particular reform agenda. Membership included civic-minded, well-educated middle-class men and women, usually with expert skills in a profession or business, who deeply distrusted the corruption of the machines. [7] Consolidation in 1898 multiplied the power of these reform groups, whenever they could agree on a common agenda such as consolidation itself. [8]

There was no citywide machine. Instead, Democratic machines flourished in each of the boroughs, with Tammany Hall in Manhattan the most prominent. They typically had strong neighborhood organizations, known as "political clubs", as well as one prominent leader often called "the boss". Charles Murphy was the highly effective but quiet boss of Tammany Hall from 1902–1924. [9] "Big Tim" Sullivan was the Tammany leader in the Bowery and the machine's spokesman in the state legislature. [10] Republican local organizations were much weaker, but they played key roles in forming reform coalitions. Most of the time they looked to Albany and Washington, D.C., for their sphere of influence. [11] [12] Seth Low, the president of Columbia University, was elected the reform mayor in 1901. He lacked the common touch and lost much of his working class support when he listened to Prohibitionists eager to crack down on the liquor business. [13] [14]

The spirit of the progressive era infused New York politics, energizing the reformers with a condemnation of inefficiency, waste, and corruption. An emphasis was placed on expertise and scientific organization of large scale projects. [15] Tammany Hall went along, under the new leadership of Charles Francis Murphy. It promoted a reform image itself, sponsored reformers as mayor, and downplayed overt forms of corruption, graft, and bribery. [16] The Irish remained in control of Tammany, and the leadership had many opportunities for what Alderman George Washington Plunkett called "honest graft" such as an inside track to lucrative construction contracts without any stealing or committing illegal acts.

Three reformers became mayor. Seth Low, prominent Brooklyn businessman, experienced politician, and president of Columbia University, united reformers and the Republicans in a fusion ticket that won the mayor's race in 1902. Tammany was back in 1904 with a prestigious reformer, George B. McClellan Jr., the son of the famous Civil War general and an experienced politician in his own right. William Jay Gaynor, reform judge, won the Tammany nomination in 1909. Fusion reformer John Purroy Mitchel, a favorite of President Woodrow Wilson, was elected in 1913. Mitchel had strong support from the progressives, enabling him to reorganize the bureaucracy, crackdown on vice, and make taxation more efficient. Mitchel's support for the Allies in the World War alienated Germans, and the working classes were alarmed at his plans for vocational education. He was defeated in 1917 by John Francis Hylan Hylan was re-elected in 1921 and collaborated closely with Hearst until he was ousted by Al Smith and Tammany in 1925. [17]

Tammany realized it needed reformers on the ticket, but it had a hard time working with them. It needed McClellan to run for re-election in 1905 to beat off the tremendous challenge by independent publisher William Randolph Hearst. But in 1906 Tammany cut a deal and supported Hearst for governor, so McClellan broke with the machine. [18] Gaynor proved much more independent than expected and was denied renomination. [19]

Transportation Edit

The municipal consolidation precipitated greater physical connections between the boroughs. The building of the New York City Subway opened with the first IRT line in 1904. Initially the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) and Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) systems (with a third system, the Independent Subway System or IND, to be incorporated in 1925) were separate. They immediately became a force for further population spread and development.

The opening of the Williamsburg Bridge in 1903 and the Manhattan Bridge in 1909 further connected Manhattan to the rapidly expanding bedroom community in Brooklyn. The world-famous Grand Central Terminal opened as the world's largest train station on February 1, 1913, replacing an earlier terminal on the site. The Pennsylvania Station, a similarly large and grand railway station several blocks to the west that was torn down in 1963, had opened in 1910. [20]

Immigrant life Edit

European immigration escalated exponentially during the early 20th century the new arrivals were mostly Catholics or Jews, especially Italians and Poles as well as Yiddish-speaking Jews from Eastern Europe. [22] [23] There were smaller but steady streams of "Old immigration" sources in Ireland, Britain and Germany. The residents of Little Germany, in what is now the East Village, dispersed to more affluent neighborhoods and were replaced by growing numbers of poor immigrants on the Lower East Side. [24]

In 1850 about a third of the 50,000 American Jews lived in New York they spoke German (not Yiddish), were active in Reform congregations, and took major leadership roles in the city's banking, financial, merchandising, and clothing industries. An entirely different group of 1.4 million poor Yiddish-speaking Jews from Russia and Eastern Europe fled pogroms and anti-Semitism between 1880 and 1914. Over one million lived in New York, where by 1910 they comprised a fourth of the city's population. Many became entrepreneurs setting up small shops the majority operated sewing machines and worked in the city's many small clothing factories. [25]

Violent confrontations between ethnic groups were strikingly common. Local ethnic gangs controlled their neighborhood turfs and beat up boys who wandered across the line. Each ethnic group had violent youth gangs Irish gangs were especially aggressive. [26] [27] One serious episode took place in 1902, when the procession of 25,000 to 50,000 Jews marching for the funeral of Jacob Joseph, the chief rabbi of the Orthodox community, passed the Hoe factory. They were attacked by workers or boys throwing debris from the factory windows. The Jews fought back and quickly had the factory and its 1,800 men and boys under siege, breaking all its windows. The (mostly Irish) police broke it up and beat many of the men attacking the factory. They arrested 11 of the Jews and 4 of the factory workers. Jewish oral tradition blamed the anti-Semitism of both the Irish factory workers and the police. However, recent historical research shows that the factory workers were mostly Germans, not Irish, and that the police were following standard practice in quelling a riot. On the whole, the police kept a tight lid on inter-group violence. [28]

Education Edit

Progressive Era reformers strongly promoted free public schooling through high school, on the assumption that ignorance was a waste and that learning developed the personality as well as skills needed in a modernizing society. Public school enrollment rose from 553,000 in 1900, to 1.1 million in 1930, and then declined a bit. The wide range of schools included elementary, junior high schools, as well as comprehensive, academic, and technical senior high schools. In addition, the system operated training schools in music the arts, science, cooking, the needle trades, printing, and the like, with special schools for handicapped children and a large evening program for adults. [29] The availability of free public education through high school was especially attractive to poor Jewish immigrants who placed a high value on human capital.

The city's other ethnic groups, most notably the Italians, typically placed a much higher value on home ownership, which required boys and girls to start earning money by age 14 or so. [30] [31] In the Italian community, girls left school as soon as possible to work at home or to take factory jobs. The shift came in the 1930s, as more of them stayed in school, although at only half the rate of Jewish girls. Some historians argue that the Italians were becoming modernized by American culture their families became less patriarchal and permitted more individualistic careerism for women. Historian Miriam Cohen, however, says that these more modern attitudes were caused by changing opportunities for all young women in New York. [32]

Catholic priests strongly recommended parochial schools at least for elementary students and were rapidly expanding the Catholic high school system, especially for German and Irish youth whose families had been in the city for decades. The Catholic school system grew from an enrollment of 79,000 in 1900, to 286,000 in 1930, peaking at 332,000 in 1960. Upscale private schools also flourished, as well as training schools for adults, such as the Arthur Murray School of Dancing and many music schools. Tens of thousands of adults took correspondence courses through the mail. [33]

Jewish boys and young men thrived in the New York public schools. The problem came with girls attending high school. Jewish men still had doubts about educating girls, and poor families needed the money they could earn in full-time jobs. Those who came to America as young girls picked up English quickly, but the older they were on arrival, the harder the language appeared. Many young Jewish women nevertheless tried, opening their way to clerical and white-collar jobs. Probably most saw their dreams realized in their children rather than themselves. [34]

Higher education Edit

Columbia University developed an international reputation as a major research center in a wide range of the arts, sciences, humanities, and medical fields. New York University in 1890 was still primarily an undergraduate school with a strong Protestant flavor. However it began adding graduate programs, a law school and a medical school, as well as a graduate school of education and a business school. It became one of the nation's largest universities, with an enrollment of 9,300 in 1917 and 40,000 in 1931. [35]

Fordham University took the lead among the Catholic colleges, adding a medical school, a law school, a business school, and other units. Its football team had a national reputation. Fordham became coeducational in 1964. [36] In addition there were many smaller specialized schools such as Wagner College (Lutheran), Yeshiva University (Jewish), St. John's University (Catholic), Pratt Institute, Juilliard School of Music, Parsons School of Design, Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, and The New School for Social Research. There were numerous medical and law schools. [37]

The city's Protestant elites sent their young men to university-preparatory schools in New England and then to Ivy League colleges, and their young women to the Seven Sisters colleges or to finishing schools. After 1900, Columbia had a reputation as heavily academic and was no longer attractive to upper-class young men. [38] Jewish enrollment reached 40% at Columbia College in 1914 a quota system was installed to cut the proportion to 20%. The public universities, City College and Hunter College, were about 80% Jewish. [39]

Journalism Edit

By the turn of the 20th century, the city had 15 to 20 daily newspapers, and many weeklies. Most newspapers were sold at newsstands or hawked by newsboys, as opposed to subscriptions. The Wall Street Journal provided detailed coverage of business affairs. The New York Times had shrunk to almost nothing by the 1890s. However, after its purchase by Adolph Ochs of Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1896, it reached an upscale audience with unbiased and detailed news. There were numerous ethnic papers. [40] [41] The ethnic papers played a major role in keeping immigrants in touch with the old country. More important, they taught them how to become Americans and understand the complexity of American popular culture. [42]

Starting in 1895, William Randolph Hearst, a mining heir from San Francisco, challenged Joseph Pulitzer, from St. Louis, Missouri, for dominance on the newsstands. Both Hearst's Journal and Pulitzer's World favored the Democrats, and both sought to maximize their sales through yellow journalism with exclusives based on sensationalism, sports, sex and scandal, and features such as comic strips, puzzles, recipes, and advice columns. By 1898, both papers reached the million per day circulation level. [43] Hearst became a leader of the left wing of the Democratic Party and was nearly elected mayor in 1905 and governor in 1906. He had bitter battles with Al Smith over control of the Democratic Party, losing out in 1925. He then moved his base to California. After enthusiastically supporting Franklin Roosevelt for president in 1932, he broke with Franklin D. Roosevelt, moved to the right, and became a critic of the New Deal, using his national magazines and New York Journal to confront Roosevelt's agenda. [44]

Disasters Edit

On June 15, 1904, over 1,000 people, mostly German ethnics, were killed when the excursion steamship General Slocum caught fire and burned in the East River. It was a major blow to the German-American community.

On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in Greenwich Village took the lives of 145 mostly Italian and Jewish female garment workers, which eventually led to great advancements in the city's fire department, building codes, and workplace regulations. [45] Reaction to the disaster spurred the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, and took place in the context of broader union movements coordinated by the American Federation of Labor. [46]

On the night of April 14–15, 1912, the ocean liner RMS Titanic was en route in the North Atlantic to New York when it sank, killing 1,500 of the 2,200 people. On April 18 the rescue ship RMS Carpathia arrived and was met by some 40,000 onlookers. Immediate relief in the form of clothing and transportation to shelters was provided by the Women's Relief Committee, the Travelers Aid Society of New York, and the Council of Jewish Women, among other organizations. [47] Two Titanic memorials are located in Manhattan. On April 13, 1913, the 60 feet (18 m) Titanic Memorial Lighthouse in Lower Manhattan was constructed on the roof of the Seamen's Church Institute. [48] Straus Park, on the Upper West Side, commemorates Isidor Straus and his wife Ida, who both died in the disaster. [48]

The Malbone Street Wreck, the worst disaster in the history of any rapid transit system in the United States, occurred on November 1, 1918. Many unionized subway workers went on strike against the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT), so the BRT assigned one of its office workers to be motorman on one train. This particular motorman had almost no training, instead of the usual 20 days minimum of training, and was recovering from the 1918 flu pandemic, which had just killed his daughter. During the rush hour, he made a series of bad mistakes, lost control on a downhill slope, and was racing at high speed when he crashed at a sharp curve outside of Prospect Park station. The Malbone Street Wreck killed 93 of the 650 passengers and seriously injured over hundred more. With a statewide election impending, it became a major campaign episode, leading to the election of Al Smith as governor. [49] [50] [51]

On September 16, 1920, radicals in the city perpetrated the Wall Street bombing, a terrorist attack outside the headquarters of the House of Morgan, killing dozens of people and injuring hundreds. Officials blamed anarchist and communist elements, fueling the ongoing Palmer raids, but the culprits were never caught. [52]

Public health and sanitation Edit

Cleanliness was a heavily promoted virtue, supported by the middle class and led by the public health community of physicians and experts. [53] Street cleaning became a major item of the city budget and produced the sort of jobs that the machines wanted to distribute to their working class clientele. [54] Horses were used for transportation in 1900, as they had been throughout the history of the city. There were 200,000 of them in the city, producing nearly 2,500 short tons (2,300 t) of manure daily. It accumulated in the streets and was swept to the sides like snow. The stench was so strong that urbanites welcomed motor vehicles as a profound relief. [55]

The city took the lead internationally to combat diphtheria, an often fatal disease that struck thousands of children annually. Researchers applied laboratory-based advances in bacteriology and immunology to the treatment and prevention of this disease, thereby eradicating it as a major threat. [56] A few tens of thousands of people died in the "Spanish flu" epidemic of 1918–1919. [57]

Gambling Edit

At the turn-of-the-century in 1900, gambling was illegal but widespread in New York City. The favorite activities included games of chance such as cards, dice and numbers, and betting on sports events, chiefly horse racing. In the upper class, gambling was handled discreetly in the expensive private clubs, the most famous of which was operated by Richard Canfield who operated the Saratoga Club. [58] Prominent players included Reggie Vanderbilt and John Bet-a-Million Gates. [59] The chief competitor to Canfield was the "Bronze Door," operated 1891-1917 by syndicate of gamblers closely linked to the Democratic machine represented by Tammany Hall. [60] These elite establishments were illegal, and paid off the police and politicians as needed. The working-class was served by hundreds of neighborhood gambling parlors, featuring faro card games, and the omnipresent policy shops where poor folks could bet a few pennies on the daily numbers, and be quickly paid off so they could gamble again. Betting on horse racing was allowed only at the tracks themselves, where the controls were tight. The most famous racing venue was Belmont Park, a complex of five race courses, a 12,000 seat grandstand and multiple stables, centered around a lavish clubhouse. Middle-class gamblers could frequent the city's race tracks, but the center of middle-class moral gravity was strongly opposed to all forms of gambling. The reform movement was strongest in the 1890s. It was led by men such as the Reverend Charles H. Parkhurst, the leading Presbyterian pastor and president of the New York Society for the Prevention of Crime [61] reform mayor William L. Strong, and his police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt. Reformers passed laws in the state legislature against any emerging gambling venue. Such laws were enforced and most of the small towns and rural areas, but not in New York's larger cities, where political machines controlled the police and the courts. [62]

Politics Edit

The Democrats, under the leadership of Al Smith and Robert F. Wagner embraced reform in the 1910s and 1920s, especially to the benefit of their core constituency, the working class. [63] Smith became governor in the 1920s but lost the presidential election in 1928, even though he did very well in Catholic strongholds. Wagner served in the United States Senate from 1927 to 1949, where he was a leader of the New Deal Coalition, paying special emphasis to supporting the labor movement. [64]

The 1924 presidential election, in which most New Yorkers voted for Calvin Coolidge, was the last time New York City was ever won by a Republican presidential candidate.

After 1928, scandal engulfed City Hall. Flamboyant Mayor Jimmy Walker resigned and fled to Europe after state investigations showed he had taken bribes. Coupled with the harshness of the Great Depression, this gave an opening to the reformers. They won in 1933 with a Fusion ticket headed by Fiorello La Guardia. [65] He was a liberal Republican Congressman with strong Italian and Jewish connections who appealed across party lines. La Guardia dominated city politics as mayor, 1934 to 1945. He supported President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal in turn Roosevelt heavily funded the city and cut off patronage for La Guardia's enemies. [66] La Guardia revitalized New York and restored public faith in City Hall. With the help of Robert Moses he directed the building of low-cost public housing, public playgrounds, parks, and airports. He reorganized the police force, defeated the still-powerful Tammany Hall machine, and reestablished the merit system in place of patronage jobs. La Guardia was a domineering leader who verged on authoritarianism but whose reform politics were carefully tailored to address the sentiments of his diverse constituency. He defeated a corrupt Democratic machine, presided during the Depression and world war, made the city the model for New Deal welfare and public works programs, and championed immigrants and ethnic minorities. He succeeded with the support of a sympathetic president who was equally hostile to Tammany Hall. He secured his place in history as a tough-minded reform mayor who helped clean out corruption, bring in gifted experts, and fix upon the city a broad sense of responsibility for its own citizens. His administration engaged new groups that had been kept out of the political system, gave New York its modern infrastructure, and raised expectations of new levels of urban possibility. [67] [68]

Ethnics come of age Edit

Immigrant families continued establishing themselves, and more started moving into the neighborhoods outside of Manhattan in a sign of municipal maturation, the 1920 census showed Brooklyn for the first time overtaking Manhattan as the most populous borough. But the great period of European immigration which had only just passed its peak was halted abruptly by the Immigration Act of 1924 which severely limited further immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe.

Harlem Renaissance Edit

After 1890, black people started moving into the formerly Jewish neighborhood of Harlem on Manhattan's upper West side. Much larger numbers arrived during the era of World War I as the Great Migration brought in blacks to fill more jobs at a time when immigration was suspended. [69] Harlem became the political capital of black America, with highly controversial leadership from Marcus Garvey in the early 1920s. [70] Sustained civil rights activism took place in the 1930s and 1940s, often led by Baptists minister Adam Clayton Powell Jr., who was elected to the United States Congress in 1942. [71] Unemployment was a major problem in the Depression years, but New Deal relief agencies such as the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration provided considerable employment on an equal basis. Much of the organize protest was a demand for jobs and stores owned and operated by whites in Harlem. [72]

The Harlem Renaissance from 1920 to 1940 brought worldwide attention to African American literature. For many years, especially in the 1920s, Harlem was home to a flourishing of social thought and culture that took place among numerous Black artists, musicians, novelists, poets, and playwrights. The most famous writers included Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, Claude McKay, and Zora Neale Hurston. [73]

Jazz Age Edit

The Jazz Age featured celebrities, among the most notable in the city were Madame Polly Adler jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald dancer Martha Graham speakeasy host Texas Guinan publisher Henry Luce of Time magazine writer Dorothy Parker and the pundits at the Algonquin Hotel editor Harold Ross at The New Yorker magazine and such nationally famous sports heroes as Babe Ruth and Bill Tilden. [74]

Fun-loving Tammany Mayor Jimmy Walker presided over a period of prosperity for the city, with the proliferation of the speakeasy during Prohibition.

Tin Pan Alley developed toward Broadway, and the first modern musical, Jerome Kern's Show Boat, opened in 1927, as the theater district moved north of 42nd Street.

During this time, New York City became known for its daring and impressive architecture, including notably the skyscrapers which transformed the skyline. The race to the sky culminated in the dueling spires of two Art Deco icons—the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building—during the late 1920s. These two skyscrapers were not topped off until their soaring heights seemed rather overoptimistic. The construction of the Rockefeller Center also occurred during this time, becoming one of the largest-ever private development projects at the time. The city grew outward, too, with residential development replacing most of the farmland of eastern Brooklyn, eastern Bronx, and much of Queens.

Great Depression Edit

The Great Depression, which was to affect the rest of the world, began with the Stock Market Crash of 1929. The recently completed Empire State Building would be known as the "Empty State Building" for many years because it could not attract sufficient tenants in the bleak business climate. When New York Governor Franklin Roosevelt became president, the Hooverville shacks named after his predecessor dotted city parks. The city became a showcase for New Deal spending, especially through the Public Works Administration and the Works Progress Administration. There were massive building projects including highways, bridges, public housing, new schools, and expansion of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Parkway planner Robert Moses took charge of building many bridges, parks, public housing units, and parkways with mainly federal money. Moses was a great proponent of automobile-centered modernism whose legacy of massive construction projects is still controversial. [75] [76] He opposed the massive subway expansions proposed in 1929 and 1939. However, the last large expansion of the subway system, combined with the merger of privately owned Interborough Rapid Transit and Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit subway companies with the city-owned Independent Subway System under city ownership, made the subway largely what it is today.

World War II Edit

New York, long a great American city with many immigrants, became a culturally international city with the brain drain of intellectual, musical, and artistic European refugees that started in the late 1930s. The 1939 New York World's Fair, marking the 150th anniversary of George Washington's inauguration in Federal Hall, was a high point of technological optimism, meant to mark the end of the Depression. After the start of World War II, though, the theme was changed from "Building the World of Tomorrow" to "For Peace and Freedom", and the shadow of the war underway in Europe dampened the proceedings. [77]

The economy of New York City was boosted by the war effort, but not to the extent of cities with heavy industries such as Pittsburgh, Chicago, Los Angeles or Detroit. The clothing industry produced uniforms, and machine shops focused on war materials. The Brooklyn Navy Yard again increased its production of warships. The large printing industry was scarcely affected. The port facilities again played their role in shipping supplies and soldiers to Europe. The Port of New York handled 25% of the nation's exports. By the war's end, the Navy Yard was the world's largest shipyard with 75,000 workers. When peace arrived in 1945, New York was clearly pre-eminent in the world, as the only major world city unscathed by the war. [78]

Finance Edit

New York became the financial center of the United States before the Civil War, specializing in railroad securities. By 1900 it grew even more dominant and was starting to approach London as a world financial center. [79] [80] There were thousands of successful bankers and financiers a central figure was J.P. Morgan, whose House of Morgan set up national financing programs for the steel, agricultural implements, shipping, and other industries. It also financed much of the British and French war efforts in World War I. [81] John D. Rockefeller, of Standard Oil, expanded from a dominant position in oil to other industries as well as banking. Andrew Carnegie dominated steel until he sold out to Morgan in 1901. After 1900, Rockefeller and Carnegie largely devoted their interest to philanthropy, as to a certain extent did Morgan. With the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York became a powerful player under its dynamic president Benjamin Strong. [82] By 1917, New York was funding the world war efforts of Britain, France and for other Allies. By the 1920s, New York had surpassed London as a world banking center. The New York Stock Exchange was the national focus of wealth making and speculation until its shares suddenly collapsed late in 1929, setting off the worldwide Great Depression. [83]

Garment industry Edit

The garment industry involved the manufacture of ready-to-wear clothing for men and women, as well as the wholesaling of these products to stores around the country. New York City dominated the national industry, with Chicago and Los Angeles trailing far behind. It originated in the nineteenth-century "rag trade" of Jewish tailors, cutters, pressers, peddlers, and shopkeepers. By 1900 it was a largely Jewish owned and operated industry, and most workers were Jewish, although other new immigrants were being hired. [84] The Yiddish-speaking East European Jews were strong supporters of labor unions, which they related to their socialist influences back in Europe.

The International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) formed in 1900 and was a major player in the American Federation of Labor. It grew rapidly in its first two decades and took credit for abolishing sewing work in the tenements, establishing a six-day, 54-hour week, writing union contracts that gave preference to ILGWU members applying for a job, and setting up arbitration machinery. The union was much larger and stronger than the hundreds of small shops with which it dealt. However, in the 1920s the ILGWU was ripped apart by battles between the established leadership, the Communists. By 1928 the establishment won out the Communists only controlled the Furriers union, which they ruled by paramilitary violence. [85] ILGWU membership had dropped to 40,000 (the great majority of whom were women). The early years of the Great Depression further undermined the union. Under the leadership of David Dubinsky, the ILGWU became a major supporter of Roosevelt's New Deal, and it grew rapidly in membership in the late 1930s and during World War II. [86]

The Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America was a more radical breakaway group that formed in 1914. It focused on ready-made clothing for men, and provided banks, recreation, medical care, and even restaurants and housing for the membership. It expelled its Communists in the 1920s. Under the leadership of Sidney Hillman, it played a central role in forming the militant Congress of Industrial Organizations in the mid-1930s, and giving Hillman a powerful voice in the New Deal Coalition. [87] After 1970, both unions lost membership and merged in 1995.

With the Democratic Party in the city largely controlled by the conservative Irish, Dubinsky and Hillman and their unions formed a new political party in 1936, the American Labor Party. It ran a ticket only in New York State, where it enthusiastically endorsed Roosevelt's three re-elections. When the Communists infiltrated the Party in 1944, the ILGWU broke away and formed the Liberal Party of New York. The Liberal party was led for many years by Alex Rose, the leader of the hatter's union, a small garment industry union. [88] [89]

On the waterfront Edit

The Port of New York and New Jersey was the largest American port by far, serving both passenger and merchant vessels. The port was the main point of embarkation for U.S. troops traveling to Europe during World War I. The congestion at the port led experts to realize the need for a port authority to supervise the extremely complex system of bridges, highways, subways, and port facilities in the New York-New Jersey area. The Port of New York Authority was created in 1921, under the supervision of the governors of New York and New Jersey. By issuing its own bonds, it was financially independent of either state the bonds were paid off from tolls and fees, and not from taxes. It became one of the major agencies of the New York metropolitan area to handle large-scale projects, especially under the leadership of Austin Tobin.

Passenger ships flourished before the coming of transatlantic air carriers in the 1960s. One line of business catered to upscale tourists headed in both directions, with American and British lines in competition. Passenger steamships also carried steerage passengers at low rates. The vast majority were immigrants to the United States, although some immigrants were returning to Europe. Two German companies dominated the immigration traffic to New York from Central and Eastern Europe, the Hamburg-America line and the North German Lloyd. They built elaborate networks of ticket agencies in Europe, offering low-cost one-way packages. Immigrants headed to other cities typically held prepaid tickets paid by their relatives who had already established themselves in the New World. Most new arrivals already had some idea of what they were coming to, from family letters and widely available pamphlet literature. [90] The great majority of travelers from Europe came through New York City, and the immigrants did their paperwork at Ellis Island. A small percentage were rejected because of obvious disease the steamship companies had to pay their fair back, so they screened for sick passengers ahead of time in Europe. [91]

World War I Edit

The city played a major role in publicizing and financing World War I, as well as producing uniforms and warships. There was fear of German sabotage, especially in the aftermath of the Black Tom explosion in 1916. [92]

The Bronx's history after 1898 falls into several distinct periods. [93] The first is a boom period during 1898–1929, with a population growth by a factor of six from 200,000 in 1900 to 1.3 million in 1930. The Great Depression brought a surge of unemployment, especially among the working class, and a slowing of growth. The mid-to-late century were hard times, as the Bronx declined in the 1950s through the '70s from a predominantly moderate-income to a predominantly lower-income area with high rates of violent crime and poverty. An economic and developmental resurgence began in the late 1980s and continued through the 1990s. [94] [95]

Politics in the borough from 1922 to 1953 was under the tight control of the Democratic organization, with Edward J. Flynn at the helm. Generally referred to as "the boss", he ran the political machine like a business executive, paying particular attention to choosing top lieutenants, and providing services to grateful voters. In sharp contrast to the leaders of Tammany, he cooperated very smoothly with Franklin Roosevelt both as governor and as president. [96]


Too raunchy for the road: Rejected vanity plates of 2019

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Some are clever. Some are creative. But some are too racy for the road. Many requests for vanity plates are rejected each year.

“Surprised, disappointed,” Janet Lohr said.

Lohr is a customer service assistant with the Ohio Department of Public Safety in Columbus and a member of the five-person requisition committee that recommends whether to approve or deny vanity plates in the Buckeye State.

“Confused some days by what some people want on a particular plate,” Lohr said.

Lohr says the committee reviews roughly 300 applications each morning. She says the committee is diverse, allowing for different opinions based on life experiences and knowledge of current culture. They also use tools online to research the meanings.

“We use Google, Urban Dictionary, slang dictionary,” Lohr said.

Lohr appreciates the creativity.

“I liked at one point it was “AU Digr,” Lohr remembered. “AU meaning the element of gold. So you have gold digger."

The committee follows three rules for denial:

The committee sends its recommendations to management, who then sends the recommendations to the Registrar’s office for final review. An applicant can appeal the decision.

“It gets a little complicated some days,” Lohr said. “Creativity is good, but be careful because we do check different things.”

In 2016, Ben Hart moved from Ohio to Kenton County and applied for the customized license plate “IM GOD”, because he said he was an atheist and wanted to evoke a conversation.

But despite having an Ohio plate with the same phrase for 12 years, Kentucky denied his request, because it fell under the categories of “vulgar or obscene.”

So Hart took the Bluegrass State to court. And not only did a federal court grant his request, but it also ordered the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to pay Hart’s attorneys’ fees, totaling more than $150,000.

FOX19 NOW asked Ohio Registrar Charles Norman what he would say to those who argue the denials violate an applicant’s First Amendment rights.

"There is case law that guides our processes and procedures for plate issuance that addresses some of the requests the BMV receives that are overtly obscene or profane," Norman said.

FOX19 NOW has obtained the 2019 list of rejected vanity plate names in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. You can review the lists below.

WARNING - There are names on the lists some might find offensive.


This $18 Bra From Urban Outfitters Is So Comfy, It Feels Like I'm Not Even Wearing a Bra

I've had a roller coaster of a relationship with bras. When I was younger and far more insecure with my body, I did whatever I could to feign cleavage and mask the fact that I'm small-chested. Victoria's Secret bombshell bra, chicken cutlet-like inserts, padded sports bras — you name it, and I probably had it stashed away in my undergarments drawer, just waiting to enhance my mosquito bites. Hell, I even wore a real bra under my sports bra during my high school soccer games because I didn't want any of my teammates to know just how small my boobs really are. What a time, man, what a time.

Nowadays, I'm a proud member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee. All those overly padded underwire bras that used to suffocate my tatas are now replaced by nude sports bras and bralettes that let 'em breathe and do their thing. My favorite one is, by far, the Out From Under Cindy Seamless Triangle Bra. As soon as I tried it on in the Urban Outfitters fitting room, I thought to myself, "Holy sh*t, this is so comfortable, it feels like I'm not wearing anything!" I excitedly snatched up the $18 bra in two different colors (black and white) and soon after bought it in beige, too. Since then, I've rarely gone a day without wearing one of them, much to the chagrin of my other now-lonely bras that don't get much action anymore.

As possibly the No. 1 advocate of this absurdly comfy bra, I'm here to tell you all the reasons you should head to Urban Outfitters and try it out for yourself. Watch out, underwire bras — you may get tossed in the trash after your owner reads this.


Housing agency ends Trump-era anti-transgender shelter rule

WASHINGTON – The Department of Housing and Urban Development is withdrawing a Trump-era policy that would have allowed taxpayer-funded homeless shelters to deny access to transgender people.

The move is partially symbolic the proposed policy never truly took hold on the ground and was still being hotly debated last fall when former President Donald Trump lost his bid for reelection.

One of President Joe Biden's first actions after taking office was signing a Jan. 20 executive order on combating discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. Biden directed every executive branch agency to examine further steps that could be taken to combat such discrimination.

“Access to safe, stable housing — and shelter — is a basic necessity,” said new HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge. “Unfortunately, transgender and gender non-conforming people report more instances of housing instability and homelessness than cisgender people. Today, we are taking a critical step in affirming HUD’s commitment that no person be denied access to housing or other critical services because of their gender identity.”

The 2012 Equal Access Rule bars federally funded housing programs from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity. But under Trump and his housing secretary, Ben Carson, HUD proposed a modification to the rule that would have allowed single-sex homeless shelters to deny transgender people access.

Democratic Virginia Rep. Jennifer Wexton, who clashed publicly with Carson over the issue in 2019, hailed Thursday's announcement as an expected but necessary step to ensure protections for one of the country's vulnerable populations.

"It’s a relief to see it officially withdrawn," Wexton said. "Housing saves lives, especially for the trans community who face disproportionate rates of violence and homelessness. HUD’s actions today will advance equality and protect the well-being of transgender Americans across the country.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


Contents

Schumer was born in Midwood, Brooklyn, the son of Selma (née Rosen) and Abraham Schumer. [6] His father ran an exterminating business, and his mother was a homemaker. [7] [8] He and his family are Jewish, [9] and he is a second cousin, once removed, of actress Amy Schumer. [10] [11] [12] His ancestors originated from the town of Chortkiv, Galicia, in what is now western Ukraine. [13]

Schumer attended Brooklyn public schools, scoring 1600 on the SAT and graduating as the valedictorian of James Madison High School in 1967. He competed for Madison High on the television quiz show It's Academic. [14] He attended Harvard College, where he originally majored in chemistry before switching to social studies after volunteering on Eugene McCarthy's presidential campaign in 1968. [15] After graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1971, Schumer attended Harvard Law School, earning his Juris Doctor with honors in 1974. He passed the New York state bar in early 1975, but never practiced law, choosing a career in politics instead. [16]

In 1974, Schumer ran for and was elected to the New York State Assembly, filling a seat previously held by Schumer's mentor, Congressman Stephen Solarz. [17] Schumer served three terms, from 1975 to 1981, sitting in the 181st, 182nd and 183rd New York State Legislatures. [18] [19] [20] [17] He has never lost an election.

In 1980, 16th district Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman won the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat of Republican Jacob Javits. Schumer ran for Holtzman's vacated House seat and won. [17] He was reelected eight times from the Brooklyn and Queens-based district, which changed numbers twice in his tenure (it was numbered the 16th from 1981 to 1983, the 10th from 1983 to 1993, and the 9th from 1993). In 1982, as a result of redistricting, Schumer faced a potential matchup with Solarz, but the matchup did not materialize. [17] [21] In preparation, Schumer "set about making friends on Wall Street, tapping the city's top law firms and securities houses for campaign donations. 'I told them I looked like I had a very difficult reapportionment fight. If I were to stand a chance of being re-elected, I needed some help,' he would later tell the Associated Press." [21]

Schumer introduced The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (also known as RFRA) on March 11, 1993. [22]

As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Schumer was one of four members of Congress who oversaw the House investigation (leading the Democratic defense of the Clinton administration), [23] of the Waco siege hearings in 1995. [24]

In 1998, Schumer ran for the Senate. He won the Democratic primary with 51% of the vote against Geraldine Ferraro (21%) and Mark Green (19%). He received 54% of the vote in the general election, [25] defeating three-term incumbent Republican Al D'Amato (44%).

In 2004, Schumer was reelected with 71% of the vote, defeating the Republican nominee, Assemblyman Howard Mills of Middletown, and conservative Marilyn F. O'Grady. Many New York Republicans were dismayed by the selection of Mills over the conservative Michael Benjamin, who held significant advantages over Mills in both fundraising and organization. [26] Benjamin publicly accused GOP chairman Sandy Treadwell and governor George Pataki of trying to muscle him out of the Senate race and undermine the democratic process. [26] Schumer defeated Mills by 2.8 million votes. [27] He won every county in the state except Hamilton County, in the Adirondacks, the least populous and most Republican county. [27] Mills conceded defeat minutes after the polls closed, before returns had come in. [27]

An April 2009 SurveyUSA poll placed Schumer's approval rating at 62%, with 31% disapproving. [28]

Notable former aides to Schumer include former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner, former New York State Senator Daniel Squadron, and New York State Assemblymembers Phil Goldfeder and Victor M. Pichardo. [29] [30]

After the 2016 presidential election, Schumer opined that the Democratic Party lost due to not having "a strong, bold economic message" and called on Democrats to push for reforms in the affordability of college and trade laws. [31]

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

Schumer chaired the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, part of the Democratic Senate leadership, with primary responsibility for raising funds and recruiting Democratic candidates in the 2006 Senate election. When he took this post, he announced that he would not run for governor of New York in 2006, as many had speculated. This averted a potentially divisive gubernatorial primary election in 2006 between Schumer and Eliot Spitzer, then New York's attorney general.

In 2006, DSCC staffers obtained a copy of Maryland's 2006 Republican Senate candidate Michael Steele's credit report. A staff researcher used Steele's social security number to obtain his credit report from TransUnion. The report was paid for with the DSCC credit card issued to the researcher's supervisor. After an internal investigation, the Maryland Democratic Party determined the credit report was obtained illegally and reported the incident to the U.S. Attorney. [32] The staffer resigned and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of computer fraud and was sentenced to 150 hours of community service. [33] The supervisor resigned from the DSCC. [34]

Under Schumer, the Democratic Party gained six seats in the Senate in the 2006 elections, defeating incumbents in each of those races and regaining Senate control for the first time since 2002. Of the closely contested races in the Senate in 2006, the Democratic Party lost only Tennessee. The incoming Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, persuaded Schumer to serve another term as DSCC chair.

In 2009, for the 111th Congress, Schumer was succeeded as DSCC chair by Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey.

Senate Democratic leader

The Senate Democratic caucus elected Schumer minority leader in November 2016. Schumer had been widely expected to lead Senate Democrats after Reid announced his retirement in 2015. He is the first New Yorker, as well as the first Jewish person, to serve as a Senate leader. [35] On January 20, 2021, Democrats gained a Senate majority with the swearing-in of newly elected Georgia senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, following the 2020–21 election runoff and special election runoff, making Schumer the majority leader, replacing Republican Mitch McConnell. [36]

Political style

Schumer's propensity for publicity is the subject of a running joke among many commentators. He has been called an "incorrigible publicity hound". [37] Bob Dole once quipped that "the most dangerous place in Washington is between Charles Schumer and a television camera" [38] Barack Obama joked that he brought the press to a banquet as his "loved ones". [39] [40] [41] [42] Schumer often schedules media appearances on Sundays. Some have cited his use of media as a successful way to raise a politician's profile nationally and among his constituents. [43] Schumer has appeared on The Daily Show seven times. [44]

In Washington, Schumer has been a lead consensus-builder on the difficult issues of health care, immigration, and financial regulation. [45]

As chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies for the Second Inauguration of Barack Obama, Schumer played a key role in organizing the event, gave the opening speech and served as master of ceremonies. [46] A photograph of a smiling Schumer peering from behind Malia Obama as Obama took the oath of office went viral and became a meme. [47] Although it was called a "photobomb", [48] it was not technically one as he was standing in the correct place. [49] [47] The Huffington Post quipped, "clearly, inauguration day belonged to Chuck Schumer." [50]

Local issues

Schumer prides himself on visiting each of New York's 62 counties every year and has done so in each of the 16 years he has served in the Senate, the only New York senator to have done so. [51] He has a reputation for focusing on local issues important to average New Yorkers not normally associated with United States senators, ranging from tourism to local taxes to job creation. [52] [53] [54] [55] When it was revealed that Adidas planned to end its contract for the manufacture of NBA jerseys with American Classic Outfitters, an upstate New York apparel company, and outsource production overseas, Schumer blasted the company, citing the risk to 100 workers at the plant. [56]

When it was revealed that Canon Inc. was considering relocating from its corporate headquarters in Long Island because of a dispute over road infrastructure funding, Schumer stepped in to advocate that New York state redirect federal stimulus dollars to make the road improvements and keep the company and its jobs on Long Island. [57] Along with his House and Senate colleagues, Schumer successfully worked to kill a Bush-era privatization plan for custodial and utility workers at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The plan would have called for turning over custodial and utility work to a Georgia company. [58]

In November 2017, Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced $1,908,486 in funding for Head Start and Early Head Start programs at the Community Action Organization of Erie County, Schumer saying the federal funding would yield "real results to young students in Western New York by providing them with the resources they need to succeed both in and out of the classroom". [59]

In January 2018, Schumer requested that the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs complete final acquisitions for two 60-acre and 77-acre parcels in Pembroke, New York, and initiate construction of the New Western New York National Veterans Cemetery, saying the completion of the cemetery would ensure "Western New York's military veterans will have the proper burial, at a site close to the homes, families, and the very communities they dedicated their lives to defend and serve." [60]

Drugs

In May 2001, Schumer and Senator John McCain introduced legislation intended to make it more difficult for makers of brand-name drugs to keep cheaper generic drugs off the market. [61] A coalition of consumer groups supported the legislation and Schumer told reporters that its enactment would reduce prescription drug costs by over 60% per prescription in addition to saving consumers $71 billion over the next decade. [62]

In October 2001, during a press conference, Schumer stated his desire that generic ciprofloxacin be available for government use. At that time Bayer held exclusive patent rights for its commercial product, Cipro. Schumer also said he believed the federal government had the authority to order the immediate production of generic ciproflaxin to expand the government stockpile of the drug. [63]

In July 2002, the Senate passed a bill sponsored by Schumer and McCain that could lower the costs of generic drugs more rapidly available to U.S. consumers and thereby lead to savings of billions of dollars in drug costs. The legislation also attempted to prevent frivolous lawsuits by brand-name drug manufacturers claiming generic drugs infringed their patents. [64]

After McCain's death in 2018, Schumer announced in a statement that he would introduce legislation to rename the Russell Senate Office Building after McCain. [65]

In November 2001, Schumer joined fellow New York Senator Hillary Clinton to call for legislation encouraging the Federal Bureau of Investigation to share information on terrorism with local and state police by removing legal barriers to such cooperation, citing reports by New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani that federal authorities did not tell city police what they were aware of. Schumer joined Patrick Leahy to report that the Justice Department supported the legislation. [66]

In October 2016, after FBI director James Comey announced the reopening of an investigation into whether Hillary Clinton, then the Democratic presidential nominee, mishandled classified emails during her tenure at the State Department, Schumer said that he had lost confidence in Comey. [67] In May 2017, after President Donald Trump fired Comey, Schumer told reporters that they were aware the FBI had been investigating whether the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia and pondered whether the investigation was "getting too close to home for the president". [68] In a Senate floor speech, Schumer called for a "impartial and independent" investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, announcing that the Democrats had agreed that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein not be able to appoint a special prosecutor for an investigation into Russia's meddling that Comey meet with the Senate and that Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions meet separately with senators. [69]

In January 2018, Schumer said that since Mueller's investigation began, the United States "has had to endure conspiracy after conspiracy from the right wing, Republican congressmen, senators and of course the right-wing press, which acts in total cahoots" in regards to their views on the FBI, and that the Republicans' effort to discredit Mueller "has now devolved into delusional, self-serving paranoia". [70] In May, after the White House invited two Republicans and no Democrats to a briefing by Department of Justice officials on an FBI informant who made contact with the Trump campaign, [71] Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI director Christopher A. Wray calling for "a bipartisan Gang of Eight briefing that involves congressional leadership from both chambers". [72]

Supreme Court

In September 2005, after President George W. Bush nominated John Roberts for Chief Justice of the United States, Schumer praised Roberts's brilliance, his being "a lawyer above all", and his "judicial philosophy and modesty and stability" during the Senate Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearings for Roberts. But Schumer said Roberts's "compassion and humanity" was questionable, and objected to the Bush administration's refusal to show documents Roberts wrote during his tenure as deputy solicitor general and to Roberts's refusal to answer many questions the committee asked him. [73] In June 2018, Schumer said that Roberts was demeaning the Supreme Court as it became more political, citing the court ruling in favor of anti-abortion clinics in California. Schumer said the court had "affirmed a plainly discriminatory travel ban, unleashed a flood of dark unlimited money in our politics and has scrapped a key pillar of the Voting Rights Act" and thereby aligned itself with goals of what he called "the hard right". [74]

In October 2005, Schumer stated that Bush Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers "would not get a majority either in the Judiciary Committee or the floor" and that her confirmation hearings would cause her to gather either support or opposition in a way that had not been seen by any other nominee in recent memory. [75]

In May 2009, he told reporters that the confirmation process for Obama Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor would be "more of a test of the Republican Party than it is of Judge Sotomayor", calling Sotomayor a "mainstream justice" whom Republicans had no reason to oppose. [76]

In March 2016, after Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace the deceased Antonin Scalia, Schumer called for Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley to hold hearings "so America can make its own judgment as to whether Merrick Garland belongs on the court". [77] In July 2018, it was reported that Schumer had advocated that Trump nominate Garland as a way to attract bipartisan support, as opposed to nominating someone opposed to the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade who would be more controversial. [78] In November 2016, Schumer said the Democrats would "go at" President-elect Trump if he did not nominate Supreme Court justices who were mainstream and that the Republicans did not have "clean hands" for having blocked the Garland nomination for months. [79]

In March 2017, at the end of Senate hearings for Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, Schumer said he would vote against confirmation and called on Democrats to join him in blocking an up-or-down vote on Gorsuch. In his floor speech, Schumer said, "If this nominee cannot earn 60 votes—a bar met by each of President Obama's nominees and George Bush's last two nominees—the answer isn't to change the rules. It's to change the nominee." [80] The Democrats conducted the filibuster, but Republicans broke it using the "nuclear option", and Gorsuch was confirmed the next day. [81]

In July 2018, after Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to replace the retiring Anthony Kennedy, Schumer said Kavanaugh should be asked direct questions about the precedent set by Roe v. Wade and other cases. Schumer noted Kavanaugh's expressed opinion on the possible incorrect decision in United States v. Nixon and that this could mean he would not hold Trump accountable as a justice. [82]

On August 21, Schumer said he was requesting that documents from Kavanaugh's White House tenure be shared with the Senate, arguing that "withholding documents from the Senate and the American people under the bogus label of committee confidential is a dark development for the Senate." [83] After meeting with Kavanaugh, Schumer said he had asked him whether he believed Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood were properly decided and that Kavanaugh had not responded and the lack of an answer "should send shivers down the spine of any American who believes in reproductive freedom for women". He also said that Kavanaugh had a special obligation to make his views clear due to his unique position as the only person nominated to the Supreme Court by a president who said, "I will only nominate someone who overturns Roe v Wade." [84] Schumer subsequently called on the Senate Judiciary Committee to delay Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing after former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen plead guilty to charges of bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance law violations, calling the plea "a game changer". [85]

At a March 2020 pro-choice rally outside the Supreme Court, Schumer said, "I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions." Roberts subsequently issued a statement calling Schumer's comments "threatening", "inappropriate" and "dangerous". [86] Senator Josh Hawley called for Schumer to be censured. [87]

Net neutrality

In November 2017, Schumer said, "Just as our free highway system helped build jobs in America in the 20th century, net neutrality will help build jobs in the 21st century. To take a step back hurts our economy, our job growth and middle-class and working people. It is a disaster." [88] In December, after the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality rules, Schumer said the internet could start resembling "a toll road, with the highest bidders cruising along private 'fast lanes' while the rest of us inch along a single, traffic-choked public lane and we could be forced to purchase internet packages much like cable packages, paying more for popular sites", and that the resolution he was introducing would undo the effects of the vote. [89]

In January 2018, Schumer announced that all 49 members of the Democratic caucus supported a resolution overturning the FCC vote on net neutrality and said congressional Republicans "have the opportunity to right the administration's wrong and show the American people whose side they're on: big ISPs' and major corporations' or consumers', entrepreneurs', and small business owners'." [90] In May, the Senate adopted a measure to revive Obama-era internet regulations enforcing equal treatment for all web traffic. Schumer called the vote "our best chance to make sure the internet stays accessible and affordable to all Americans". [91] In June, in response to the Republican-controlled House not taking up the Senate resolution restoring net neutrality rules, Schumer said, "House Republican leaders gave a green light to the big ISPs to charge middle-class Americans, small business owners, schools, rural Americans, and communities of color more to use the internet." [92]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Abortion

Schumer is pro-choice, and has a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America, [96] even though he received some criticism for attending a gala in 2007 hosted by Efrat, an organization that seeks to reduce abortion among Israeli Jews. [97]

In 2002, Schumer authored a provision to an industry-sponsored bill intended to make it harder for people to erase their debts by filing for bankruptcy. Anti-abortion activists opposed the measure, claiming it restricted their ability to use bankruptcy courts to write off court fines. After the bill appeared to die in May, J. Dennis Hastert spokesman John Feehery opined, "Schumer really was pretty obnoxious about how this provision was going to hurt people who were pro-life and that really got some of our folks ginned up." In response, Schumer said the provision was a compromise with Henry Hyde and other colleagues and that it was opposed by people who did not properly read the law. [98]

After Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy retired in 2018, Schumer voiced concern about Trump's choice of replacement, believing that they would try to overturn Roe v. Wade. [99]

Agriculture

In March 2019, Schumer was one of 38 senators to sign a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue warning that dairy farmers "have continued to face market instability and are struggling to survive the fourth year of sustained low prices" and urging his department to "strongly encourage these farmers to consider the Dairy Margin Coverage program". [100]

Clinton impeachment

Schumer voted on the impeachment charges of President Bill Clinton in both houses of Congress. Schumer was a member of the House of Representatives (and Judiciary Committee member) during a December 1998 lame-duck session of Congress, voting "no" on all counts in committee and on the floor of the House. In January 1999, Schumer, as a newly elected member of the Senate, also voted "not guilty" on the two impeachment charges. [101]

Consumer issues

Schumer has given legislative attention to consumer issues. He passed legislation that required uniform disclosure information on the back of credit card applications, notifying prospective cardholders of annual fees and interest rates. This standardized information is now known as the "Schumer box". Schumer has also aggressively pushed to end the practice whereby customers can be charged two ATM fees, one by their own bank and one by the bank that owns the ATM, if the ATM is outside their bank's network. [102]

With Representative Nita Lowey, Schumer has been working to ban the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), often found in baby bottles and plastic children's food containers. [103] The Canadian government has already banned BPA in baby bottles and children's products. [104] Schumer is also seeking a ban on the use of cadmium, a carcinogen known to impair brain development in children, in toys and children's jewelry. [105] When companies began selling gloves, pills, inhalers, diuretics, shampoos and other products during the 2009 swine flu scare, Schumer urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to open an investigation. In the end, the FTC put ten companies on notice and identified a total of 140 scams. [106]

Schumer has championed college tuition tax credits, calling for and passing a $4,000 tuition tax credit for students as part of a host of tax credits and cuts passed to stimulate the economy in the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. [107]

Schumer received an "A" grade on the 2008 Drum Major Institute's Congressional Scorecard on middle-class issues. [108]

In October 2013, Schumer announced his support for a proposal ending restrictions on shipping beer, wine, and spirits through the U.S. Postal Service, saying it would "help keep local post offices open by bringing in an estimated $225 million in new revenues to the USPS" and broaden the availability of beers and wines to consumers. [109]

Death penalty

In 2013, Schumer said the death penalty would be "appropriate" in the case of the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the perpetrator of the Boston Marathon bombing. "The federal law allows the death penalty. . I wrote the law in 1994 when I was head of the crime subcommittee in the House. This is just the kind of case that it should be applied to." [110] [111]

Disaster relief

In 2014, Schumer was recognized for helping to achieve the award of $700,000 in compensation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Gowanda, New York, as a result of the devastating flood there in 2009. [112] [113] A flash flood devastated the village, causing two deaths. Four feet of flood waters swept through the village, and caused much damage. [112] [113] Gowanda was declared both a state and federal disaster site. [112] [113]

Of the anticipated disbursement of FEMA monies to Gowanda, Schumer said:

FEMA and the state were sitting on Gowanda's money for way too long. It's about time that they made the village of Gowanda whole for the damage done in this flood. I've been advocating for this for months and months and months I'm glad everyone came together and finally did the right thing. [112] [113]

Donald Trump

In a November 2016 interview conducted in the weeks after Trump's election to the presidency, Schumer said that he and Trump were not friends and had had "civil conversations a couple of times" when Trump had contacted him. Trump had said earlier that year that he believed he would get along with Schumer and that he was "close to Schumer in many ways". [114] In December 2016, Schumer called on Trump cabinet nominees to release their tax returns and in doing so follow the precedent set by Steve Mnuchin and Tom Price. [115]

In February 2017, before Trump's speech to a joint session of Congress, Schumer predicted that the speech would be less memorable than ones delivered by Trump's predecessors due to what he called "a yawning gap between what he says and what his administration actually does for working Americans". Though acknowledging Trump's populist campaigning style, Schumer said Trump "governs like a pro-corporate, pro-elite, hard-right ideologue". [116]

In March 2017, Schumer released a statement calling on Trump to apologize for claiming the Obama administration had wiretapped him during his presidential campaign. He advocated that Trump stop tweeting to better focus on working on behalf of the United States and said Trump had "severely damaged his credibility" by promoting conspiracy theories. [117]

In June 2018, Schumer delivered a Senate floor speech decrying Representative Maxine Waters's call to harass members of the Trump administration as protest of the administration's policies: "I strongly disagree with those who advocate harassing folks if they don't agree with you. If you disagree with a politician, organize your fellow citizens to action and vote them out of office. But no one should call for the harassment of political opponents. That's not right. That's not American." [118]

In August 2018, in response to Trump's charge that American Jews who vote for Democrats are "disloyal", Schumer tweeted, "When he [Trump] uses a trope that's been used against the Jewish people for centuries with dire consequences, he is encouraging—wittingly or unwittingly—anti-Semites throughout the country and world." [119]

Schumer was participating in the certification of the 2021 United States Electoral College vote count on January 6, 2021, when Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Schumer and other members of Congress were removed from the Senate chambers. He and Mitch McConnell joined Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer in an undisclosed location. As the attack persisted, Schumer and Pelosi released a joint statement calling on Trump to demand the rioters leave the Capitol and its grounds immediately. [120] When the Senate reconvened after the Capitol was secure, Schumer gave remarks, calling it a day "that will live forever in infamy". [121] Later that day, he blamed Trump for the attack, calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution to remove Trump from office. He also said he would support impeachment. [122]

Equal pay

In April 2014, the United States Senate debated the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 2199 113th Congress), a bill aimed at addressing the gender pay gap in the United States. [123] Republicans argued that the Democrats were attempting to use the votes on this bill and the issue of equal pay as political issues in the 2014 midterm elections. [123] Schumer backed the measure and told reporters, "pay equity, that's women, that's 53 percent of the vote". [123]

Election reform

In March 2002, as the Senate worked on a compromise to save an election reform bill that stalled due to Republicans' believing it was not combative enough against voter fraud, Schumer and Senator Ron Wyden led a successful effort in protecting an amendment allowing first-time voters to be verified with only a signature. [124]

Financial industry regulation

In 1987, then-Representative Schumer wrote a New York Times op-ed opposing repeal of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933, titled "Don't Let Banks Become Casinos". [125] In 1999, Schumer said in support of Congress's repeal of Glass–Steagall: "There are many reasons for this bill, but first and foremost is to ensure that U.S. financial firms remain competitive." [126] Since 2010, the securities and investment industry has been the largest donor to Schumer's senatorial campaigns. [127]

According to a December 14, 2008, New York Times article on Schumer's role in the Wall Street meltdown, he embraced the industry's free-market, deregulatory agenda more than any other Democrat in Congress, backing measures blamed for contributing to the financial crisis. A review of his record showed that he took steps to protect the industry from government oversight and tougher rules. Over the years, he helped save financial institutions billions of dollars in taxes or fees. The article claimed that Schumer succeeded in limiting efforts to reform and regulate credit-rating agencies the George W. Bush administration and the SEC had proposed. [128]

The Charles Schumer-Rob Portman Senate bill of 2015 [129] proposed to tax the $2.2 trillion multinational corporations are holding outside the country in tax-haven subsidiaries, on which 35% was already owed, as a one-time tax "at a rate significantly lower than the statutory corporate rate". [130]

In his book released in March 2010, No One Would Listen, Bernie Madoff whistleblower Harry Markopolos passed along an unsourced claim that Schumer called the SEC for information about the Madoff investigation. Schumer denied this. [131]

Foreign policy

Schumer was involved with legislation to address the Darfur genocide. In 2009, he co-sponsored two bills calling for peace in Darfur. Both bills, S.455 and S.684, passed the Senate. He also voted for measures to help increase the efficiency of peacekeepers serving in Darfur.

In 2009, Schumer criticized Scotland's release of convicted Pan Am Flight 103 bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and called for the United States to impose economic sanctions on the United Kingdom if Megrahi's release was tied to a massive oil deal between the United Kingdom and Libya. [132]

In April 2017, after the Shayrat missile strike, Schumer said a "pinpointed, limited action to punish and hopefully deter Assad from doing this again is appropriate" while warning against the United States becoming further involved in Syria. [133]

In July 2018, after Trump criticized Germany's decision to approve a new Russian-German gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea bypassing Poland and Ukraine, Schumer and House Minority Leader Pelosi released a joint statement condemning Trump's comments as an embarrassment and his behavior as "another profoundly disturbing signal that the President is more loyal to President Putin than to our NATO allies". [135]

In October 2020, Schumer called on the Trump administration to immediately suspend U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan, [136] [137] sent through the Pentagon's "building partner assistance program". [137] [138] According to critics, the aid could be used in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. [137] [139] He co-signed a letter stating:

We have been very critical of U.S. security assistance to Azerbaijan given the country's human rights record and aggression in the region. Earlier this year, at Senator Menendez's request, the Government Accountability Office agreed to conduct a review of security assistance to the country to ensure that it aligns with U.S. interests this violence indicates that it does not. [137]

China

Schumer and Senator Lindsey Graham have been highly critical of the trade imbalance between the U.S. and China, and its alleged cause of Chinese currency intervention. [140] They have asked both the Bush and Obama administrations to find China "guilty of currency manipulation" under a 1988 law. Schumer and Graham have introduced legislation in three successive Congresses to impose tariffs on Chinese goods for the purpose of raising the value of the Chinese yuan.

In 2017, Schumer wrote to Trump advocating for a block on China that would prevent it from purchasing more American companies to increase pressure on Beijing to help rein in North Korea's nuclear missile program. [141] In May 2018, after Trump signaled his willingness to ease sanctions on ZTE in a bid for a trade deal with Beijing, Schumer observed, "This seems to be an area where Democrats and Republicans in the House and the Senate are coming together and telling the president, you've got to be tough on China, you have to have your actions match your rhetoric." [142]

Before the Trump administration took concrete measures against China in late March 2018, Schumer and other Democratic leaders pressed Trump to focus more on China. Schumer said, "China has stolen millions of jobs and trillions of dollars [but] administrations from both parties haven't been strong enough to fight back." [143] [144] [145]

Schumer was a supporter of the Iraq War Resolution but was very critical of President George W. Bush's strategy in the Iraq War he suggested that a commission of ex-generals be appointed to review it. [146]

In April 2002, during a Senate speech, Schumer called the Bush administration's Middle East policy "muddled, confused and inconsistent" and said the planned meeting between Secretary of State Colin Powell and Yasser Arafat would contradict Bush's stated stand against terrorists and those harboring them. [147] Nat Hentoff of the Village Voice wrote in November 2006 that "the loquacious Schumer has been indifferent to the administration's war on the Constitution and on our laws and treaties", particularly on the issue of torture. [148]

In July 2006, Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki stated that Iraq was urging the international community "to take a quick and firm stance to stop this aggression against Lebanon, to stop the killing of innocent people and to stop the destruction of infrastructure". In response, Schumer, Harry Reid, and Dick Durbin signed a letter to al-Maliki in which they charged him with failing to condemn the aggression of Hezbollah as well as Israel's right to defend itself, arguing the oversight raised serious concern about whether Iraq under his rule could "play a constructive role in resolving the current crisis and bringing stability to the Middle East". [149]

Schumer was the first senator to call for U.S. support for Kurdish independence after the 2017 Kurdistan Region independence referendum, releasing a resolution calling for the U.S. government to change its policy to "support a political process that addresses the aspirations of the Kurds for an independent state". He called upon Iraq to "engage in a dialogue and peacefully determine the best way to accommodate the well-deserved and legitimate aspirations of the Iraqi Kurds". [150]

Afghanistan

In March 2006, the House Appropriations Committee voted to block an amendment allowing Dubai Ports World to operate some terminals at U.S. ports, an amendment that was inserted into the emergency supplemental funding bill for military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The same day, Schumer introduced an amendment barring a company from operating in a U.S. port if the company was owned by a country that recognized the Taliban's regime in Afghanistan, the amendment being touted as similar to the House measure. Senate majority leader Bill Frist subsequently asked for a quorum call that effectively gnarled proceedings, Schumer afterward opining that the Democrats had "bent over backwards to try and accommodate the Republican schedule" and that Frist's move meant Republicans did not want a vote at all. [151]

In October 2009, Schumer said, "It cost us $6 trillion and 4,500 lives, approximately, to bring stability to Iraq. Just in terms of the loss of life and treasure, do we want to do the same exercise in Afghanistan?" He said the United States could potentially be able to keep itself safe without bringing stability to Afghanistan and advocated that American forces be scaled back in Afghanistan in favor of more reliance on unmanned drone attacks. [152]

In April 2017, Schumer called for caution in Afghanistan, noting the casualties in Iraq, and said the military would have to come to Congress if it wanted more American soldiers in Afghanistan. [153]

Iran nuclear deal

On August 6, 2015, Schumer announced his opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran. [154] He planned to tell the White House, then his Senate colleagues, and then the public, but the White House leaked the news during the Republican debate in what CBS News described as an "apparent attempt to limit coverage". [155] Arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis derided Schumer's decision, noting that Schumer was making factually incorrect claims about the amount of time in which the treaty would allow inspection of Iranian nuclear facilities. [156] In what The Guardian described as a "shot across Schumer's bow", White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that fellow Democrats might remember Schumer's decision when deciding whom to elect as their next majority leader. [157]

Israel

Schumer is a co-sponsor of a Senate resolution expressing objection to the UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemned Israeli settlement-building in the occupied Palestinian territories as a violation of international law. He criticized Obama, saying: "past administrations—both Democrat and Republican—have protected Israel from the vagaries of this biased institution [the U.N.]. Unfortunately, by abstaining on United Nations Resolution 2334, this administration has not followed in that path." [161]

In May 2017, Schumer co-sponsored the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, Senate Bill 720, which made it a federal crime, punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, [162] for Americans to encourage or participate in boycotts against Israel and Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories if protesting actions by the Israeli government. The bill would make it legal for U.S. states to refuse to do business with contractors that engage in boycotts against Israel. [163]

Schumer introduced a Senate resolution celebrating the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. [164]

In May 2018, Schumer praised Trump for opening the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, saying, "I sponsored legislation to do this two decades ago, and I applaud President Trump for doing it." [165] [166] He had previously accused Trump of "indecisiveness" for his delays in implementing the move by waiving the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, as previous presidents had done. [167]

North Korea

In February 2017, Schumer said that North Korea had proved itself to be "an irresponsible nation in every way" and that China could be used to curtail North Korea as most of North Korea's imports and exports go through China. He advocated that the United States tell China "they have to put the wood to North Korea in a much more serious way than they have done so far." [168] In August, after Trump said North Korea would be "met with fire and fury like the world has never seen" in the event of continued threats against the United States, Schumer released a statement advocating that the United States be "firm and deliberate with North Korea, but reckless rhetoric is not a strategy to keep America safe." [169]

In May 2018, Schumer called for Kim Jong-un to be removed from the commemorative coin memorializing the 2018 North Korea–United States summit, calling Kim a "brutal dictator" and offering the Peace House as a more appropriate alternative. [170] In June, Schumer was one of seven senior Democratic senators to sign a letter to Trump outlining the conditions of their caucus's support for any deal resulting from the North Korea-US summit. [171] After Kim and Trump issued a joint statement, Schumer said the meeting between the two had given "a brutal and repressive dictatorship the international legitimacy it has long craved" and that the agreement lacked details on achieving a pathway to the Korean peninsula being denuclearized, how the United States would verify North Korea's disarming, and an assurance of cessation for enrichment of plutonium and uranium from North Korea. [172] In a speech on the Senate floor, Schumer questioned what the United States had gained from the summit and added that the country had "won far stronger language on denuclearization" in previous agreements with North Korea. In response, Trump tweeted,

Thank you Chuck, but are you sure you got that right? No more nuclear testing or rockets flying all over the place, blew up launch sites. Hostages already back, hero remains coming home & much more! [173]

Russia

In a June 3, 2008, Wall Street Journal op-ed, Schumer wrote that cooperative economic sanctions from the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China could topple Iran's theocratic government. In discussing the importance of Russia's cooperation, Schumer wrote, "Mr. Putin is an old-fashioned nationalist who seeks to regain the power and greatness Russia had before the fall of the Soviet Union." He added, "The anti-missile system strengthens the relationship between Eastern Europe and NATO, with real troops and equipment on the ground. It mocks Mr. Putin's dream of eventually restoring Russian hegemony over Eastern Europe." [174] On June 10, the East European Coalition sent Schumer a letter about his article, writing, "As a supporter of democracy for the nations of Eastern Europe, which suffered greatly under 'Russian hegemony over Eastern Europe', your suggestion that these nations be used as bargaining chips in order to appease Russia is troubling, inexplicable and unacceptable." [175]

In August 2013, after Russia granted asylum to Edward Snowden, Schumer said Putin was behaving like a "schoolyard bully", adding, "The relationship between the United States and Russia is more poisonous than any time since the Cold War because of all of this." [176]

In December 2016, Schumer joined John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Jack Reed in a letter to Majority Leader McConnell urging the formation of a Senate select committee on cyber. Schumer said the panel would focus on Russian meddling and potential threats from other countries such as China and Iran. [177]

In December 2016, Schumer demanded a congressional inquiry into Russian meddling in U.S. affairs. [178] In January 2017, in response to those questioning the U.S. intelligence community over its assessments, he said, "Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you". [179] Later that month, he introduced legislation to limit executive action on Russian sanctions. [180]

In a May 2017 Senate floor speech, Schumer called on the White House to release unedited transcripts of the meeting between Trump and Russian officials the previous week, saying the continued confidentiality would ensure "the American people will rightly doubt if their president can handle our nation's most closely kept secrets." [181] In July, Schumer disavowed claims that the Democratic Party considered Russia its top priority and named health care and economic stability for working-class families as its primary concerns. "Obviously Russia is in the news. Obviously we want Bob Mueller to be able to pursue and our committees to be able to pursue their investigations unimpeded." [182]

Schumer spearheaded a non-binding resolution in July 2018 "warning President Trump not to let the Russian government question diplomats and other officials". The resolution stated the United States "should refuse to make available any current or former diplomat, civil servant, political appointee, law enforcement official or member of the Armed Forces of the United States for questioning by the government of Vladimir Putin". It passed 98–0. [183]

Gun laws

In 1994, then-Representative Schumer and Senator Dianne Feinstein authored the Assault Weapons Ban. Supporters of gun control legislation give Schumer much of the credit for passage of both the Assault Weapons Ban and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. [184] The Assault Weapons Ban, which banned semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and handguns with certain features, expired in September 2004 despite attempts by Schumer to extend it. He was one of 16 senators to vote against the Vitter Amendment, which prohibited the confiscation of legally owned firearms during a disaster. [185]

While a target of gun rights organizations, Schumer has supported hunters, sponsoring legislation to provide millions in outdoor recreation grants to landowners who allow hunting and fishing on their private property. For these efforts, Field and Stream magazine honored Schumer in its "Hero Awards" in 2008. [186] He supports tax deductions for hunters who donate venison and other game to feeding programs. [187] In response to a question at a debate during his 2010 reelection campaign, Schumer denied having a handgun or a permit for one. He has produced a letter from the NYPD stating that neither he nor his wife, Iris Weinshall, has a handgun license from NYC. Schumer aide Brian Fallon said, "except for winning an NRA marksmanship award at age 14, the senator does not own a gun or have a license to carry one". [188]

In February 2018, after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Schumer was one of four Democratic senators to sign a letter to Trump asserting that were he "to endorse legislation to require a background check on every gun purchase, without other poison pill provisions attached, we could finally move much closer towards the comprehensive system that you called for after the Stoneman Douglas attack" and that there was no justification for allowing people denied firearms by federally licensed dealers to "simply visit a gun show or go online to purchase the same gun that they were denied at the store". [189]

In January 2019, Schumer was one of 40 senators to introduce the Background Check Expansion Act, which would require background checks for either the sale or transfer of all firearms including all unlicensed sellers. Exceptions to the bill's background check requirement included transfers between members of law enforcement, loaning firearms for either hunting or sporting events on a temporary basis, providing firearms as gifts to members of one's immediate family, firearms transferred as part of an inheritance, or giving a firearm to another person temporarily for immediate self-defense. [190]

Health care

In March 2004, Schumer, Jon Corzine, Ted Kennedy, and Frank Lautenberg signed a letter to President Bush urging him to instruct staff to avoid taking action against whistleblower Richard Foster after Foster spoke out on the subject of White House efforts intended to keep Congress unaware of alternative higher cost estimates for the new Medicare prescription drug program. [191]

Schumer supported Obama's health reform legislation he voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009 [192] and for the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. [193]

In 2009, Schumer proposed that any new government-run health insurance programs follow all the standards applicable to private insurance. He did this to "address fears that a public program would drive private insurers from the market". Schumer said he wanted "a level playing field for competition". [194]

In May 2017, in response to an amendment by Fred Upton to the American Health Care Act, Schumer released a statement saying the amendment "leaves Americans with pre-existing conditions as vulnerable as they were before under this bill" and compared it to "administering cough medicine to someone with stage 4 cancer". [195] After the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) showed the American Health Care Act would cause millions of Americans to lose health coverage, Schumer said, "Republicans in Washington and the president should read this report cover to cover, throw their bill in the trash can and begin working with Democrats on a real plan to lower costs for the American people." [196] In June, Schumer sent McConnell a letter requesting that all senators meet to discuss the American Health Care Act, citing the need for both parties to "come together to find solutions to America's challenges". [197] Later that month, Schumer estimated the bill had a 50% chance of passing the Senate and added that Democrats were doing everything they could to fight the measure, calling the legislation "devastating for the middle class". [198]

Homeland security

In 1995, Schumer sponsored the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995 (H.R. 896) in the House of Representatives. [199]

As a senator, Schumer has worked to secure homeland security funds for New York State and City and provide resources to its first responders. He delivered over $20 billion to support New York's security and recovery efforts after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City and worked to deliver $200 million in Homeland Security funds to protect New York City mass transit. [200] [201] [202]

In November 2001, Schumer announced hearings on George W. Bush's decision to try terrorists in military tribunals amid Washington concerns that Bush would skip the American legal system in handling such cases. Schumer said the hearing's two goals were to ascertain whether Bush had the power to form a tribunal apart from an attempt at interacting with Congress and whether a military tribunal was the most efficient instrument. [203]

In August 2004, after American officials leaked the arrest of Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan to reporters, Schumer said he was troubled by the decision to reveal Khan's identity, citing the fact that the public had learned little of Khan's role in providing the information that led Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to announce a higher terror alert level. [204]

Schumer supported continuing to fully fund the FIRE Grant program [205] the Federal Emergency Management Agency administered. The program allows fire departments and first responders nationwide to apply for grant funding for major purchases that localities have difficulty providing, namely apparatus and emergency vehicles. When the Bush administration pushed a plan to reduce the program from $1 billion to just under $300 million, Schumer helped lead an effort with local firefighters to block the cuts. [206]

In 2006, Schumer led a bipartisan effort, with Republicans like Representative Peter T. King, to stop a deal the Bush administration approved to transfer control of six U.S. ports to a corporation owned by the government of United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dubai Ports World (see Dubai Ports World controversy). The 9/11 Commission reported that, despite recent alliances with the U.S., the UAE had strong ties to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda before the 9/11 attacks. The measure in the House was H.R 4807, and in the Senate, S. 2333 these were introduced to require a 45-day review of this transfer of ownership. On March 9, 2006, Dubai Ports World withdrew its application to operate the ports.

In March 2018, Schumer said the bipartisan legislation sponsored by Bob Casey and Pat Toomey would assist the children of deceased first respondents afford college by increasing the availability of Pell grant funding. [207]

In August 2018, Schumer announced that the Senate had passed $1 million in FY2019 funding for the national firefighter cancer registry as an amendment to the upcoming FY2019 Health and Human Services minibus appropriations bill. He said firefighters needed "first-rate medical care and treatment" for the work they did and the registry would help "researchers track, treat, and eventually prevent firefighters being stricken by cancer". [208]

Immigration

Schumer is one of the Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group of four Democratic and four Republican senators who wrote and sponsored a 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill. At the time, Schumer was the chairman of the Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee. [209] In June 2013, the immigration bill passed the Senate with a strong majority—68-32, with 14 Republicans joining all Democrats—but the House of Representatives under Speaker John Boehner refused to take up the bill, and the legislation died. [210]

In April 2012, Schumer introduced SB 1070, a bill that would kill Arizona's anti-immigration law, and ones like it if the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the states. He backed his position, saying: "States like Arizona and Alabama will no longer be able to get away with saying they are simply 'helping the federal government' to enforce the law when they are really writing their own laws and knowingly deploying untrained officers with a mission of arresting anyone and everyone who might fit the preconceived profile of an illegal immigrant." [211]

In January 2018, Schumer stated that any agreement on the status of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals before its March expiration would have to be included in the spending bill. [212] Schumer offered Trump congressional approval of more than $20 billion for his border wall in exchange for protecting recipients of DACA. Trump declined the offer. A week later, Schumer announced that conversations on immigration and border security were resuming between the White House and himself. [213] In a March CNN op-ed, Schumer wrote that Trump had stood in the way of progress on "compromise proposals that both sides should be proud of" and charged Trump and the White House with using Dreamers as "bargaining chips to push forward their anti-immigrant agenda". He called on Trump to change course and said Americans would be aware that he was behind the prevention of Congress from settling the matter. [214] In June, before a planned meeting between Trump and House Republicans for discussions on the compromise immigration bill, Schumer warned that House moderates would lose credibility if they succumbed to pressure and enacted "the hard right's agenda". [215]

IndyMac Bank controversy

On June 26, 2008, Schumer took the extraordinary step of publicly releasing letters he had written to regulators about IndyMac Bank, the country's seventh-largest savings and loan association and ninth-largest originator of mortgage loans, which he considered a severely troubled institution. Schumer wrote that he was "concerned that IndyMac's financial deterioration poses significant risks to both taxpayers and borrowers and that the regulatory community may not be prepared to take measures that would help prevent the collapse of IndyMac." Many IndyMac depositors either panicked or, from another perspective, justifiably acted and withdrew funds in the 11 days before IndyMac failed. [216]

A Treasury Department's Inspector General audit found that the primary causes of IndyMac's failure were associated with its business strategy of originating and securitizing Alt-A loans on a large scale. When home prices declined in the latter half of 2007 and the secondary mortgage market collapsed, IndyMac was forced to hold $10.7 billion of loans it could not sell in the secondary market. IndyMac's reduced liquidity was further exacerbated when account holders withdrew $1.55 billion in deposits in a "run" on the thrift after the public release of Schumer's letter. While the run was a contributing factor in the timing of IndyMac's demise, the underlying cause of the failure was the unsafe and unsound manner in which the thrift was operated. [217]

Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) director John Reich immediately blamed IndyMac's failure on the letter's release. Reich said Schumer gave the bank a "heart attack", saying, "Would the institution have failed without the deposit run? We'll never know the answer to that question." [218] Reich and top deputies later resigned or were removed amid a Treasury Department audit and investigation revealing that Indymac had been allowed to backdate its financial reports. [219]

Schumer conceded his actions might have caused some depositors to withdraw their money prematurely, but said, "if OTS had done its job as regulator and not let IndyMac's poor and loose lending practices continue, we wouldn't be where we are today. Instead of pointing false fingers of blame, OTS should start doing its job to prevent future IndyMacs." He added, "IndyMac was one of the most poorly run and reckless of all the banks . It was a spinoff from the old Countrywide, and like Countrywide, it did all kinds of profligate activities that it never should have. Both IndyMac and Countrywide helped cause the housing crisis we're now in." [220] [221]

Despite IndyMac's condition before the failure, the financial media sharply criticized Schumer. CNBC financial analyst Jerry Bowyer charged that he was responsible for the "second largest bank failure in US history". [222] While opining that IndyMac's failure was only a matter of time, banking consultant Bert Ely called Schumer's actions "wrong and irresponsible". [223]

On October 18, 2008, The Wall Street Journal published an article suggesting that an investment company's interest in IndyMac might have prompted Schumer's letter. [224] His reported close ties to the founders of OneWest Bank have long been of interest to many action groups. On December 22, 2008, The Washington Post reported that the OTS regional director in charge had been removed from his position for allowing IndyMac to falsify its financial reporting. [225] [226] The same day, conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh continued to blame Schumer and recast IndyMac's July bankruptcy as an "October Surprise" planned by Democrats to help win the 2008 election. [227]

Marijuana

In April 2018, Schumer said that he would back efforts to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. [228] On April 20, a day known as 4/20, he announced his sponsorship of legislation "to remove marijuana from the country's list of scheduled substances". The bill would "establish funding streams for women and minority-owned marijuana businesses, and provide money for research into the public health effects of THC". [229] On June 27, 2018, Schumer formally introduced the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act. [230]

Bush administration judicial nominations

In January 2004, after President Bush renominated Charles Pickering to the federal appeals court along with 30 other nominees who had failed to win confirmation under the previous Democratic-controlled Senate, Schumer stated his intent to prevent Pickering's confirmation and said the US could do better. [231]

In 2007, after Bush nominated former federal judge Michael Mukasey to become attorney general of the United States (replacing Gonzales, who had resigned), Schumer expressed support for Mukasey. Despite appearing troubled by Mukasey's refusal to declare in public that waterboarding was illegal torture, Schumer announced on November 2 that he would vote to confirm Mukasey. [232] He said that Mukasey had assured him in a private meeting that he would enforce any law declaring waterboarding illegal, and that Mukasey had told him Bush would have "no legal authority" to ignore such a law. [233] The votes of Schumer and Dianne Feinstein to recommend Mukasey for confirmation allowed the confirmation to move on to the full Senate.

Same-sex marriage

Schumer voted for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996. [234] He opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment, saying in 2004 that DOMA made it obsolete. [235]

In March 2009, Schumer announced his support for same-sex marriage, noting that it "was time". [236] He previously supported civil unions. At a private dinner with gay leaders on March 22, 2009, Schumer said he not only supported same-sex marriage, he also backed a full reversal of DOMA. [237] When the New York State Senate took up a bill to legalize gay marriage in December 2009, Schumer and other statewide officials aggressively lobbied wavering senators to support the legislation. [238]

Subprime mortgage and foreclosure crisis

In September 2007, Schumer proposed that the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) raise Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's conforming loan ("affordable") limits from $417,000 to $625,000, thereby allowing these government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) to back mortgages on homes priced up to $780,000 with a 20% down payment. [239]

After the March 2007 meltdown of the subprime mortgage industry, Schumer proposed a federal government bailout of subprime borrowers to save homeowners from losing their residences and to shore up communities that were seeing neighborhoods destabilized due to foreclosures and the resulting decreases in neighboring home values. [240] As part of a package of regulatory reforms that Schumer pushed in response to the subprime foreclosure crisis, he called for the creation of mortgage industry regulators to protect borrowers from deceptive lending practices and called for the Securities and Exchange Commission to move from Washington to New York so that it was in closer proximity to the industry it was charged with overseeing. [241]

Schumer's top nine campaign contributors are all financial institutions that have contributed over $2.5 million. [242]

Taxes on high incomes

Schumer had been a staunch defender of low taxes on hedge fund and private equity managers in the past, arguing that this was necessary to protect the industry. Serving on both the Senate Banking and Finance Committees, Schumer was in a position to block attempts to tax their financial gains at the rate other taxpayers pay for income. [243] But in 2010, he suggested that a hedge-fund tax would be acceptable and not hurt the industry. [244]

In February 2012, Schumer said he disagreed with the Obama administration's call to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year, calling for a million-dollar floor instead. According to Schumer, "there are a lot of people who make above 250 who aren't rich." [245]

Technology and the Internet

In June 2011, Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin sought a crackdown on Bitcoin, saying it facilitated illegal drug trade transactions. "The transactions leave no traditional [bank transfer] money trail for investigators to follow, and leave it hard to prove a package recipient knew in advance what was in a shipment," which used the anonymizing network Tor. [246] One opinion website said the senators wanted "to disrupt [the] Silk Road drug website". [247]

Schumer is a sponsor of S. 968, the controversial PROTECT IP Act, which would restrict access to websites judged to be infringing copyrights. [248] On January 18, 2012, the NY Tech Meetup and other cybertech organizations held a demonstration with 2,000 protesters in front of the offices of Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, who also supported the bill. [249] [250] Some demonstrators complained that the bill had originated with wealthy campaign contributors who would reward legislators for passing the bill. [251]

In March 2012, Schumer and Senator Richard Blumenthal gained national attention after they called upon Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice to investigate practices by employers to require Facebook passwords for employee applicants and workers. [252]

Facebook

Schumer has been described as an ally of Facebook amid debates around regulating Facebook or probing its involvement in various controversies, including Russian interference in the 2016 election. [253] In July 2018, Schumer confronted Senator Mark Warner, one of Facebook's harshest critics, and told him that he ought to work with Facebook, not act in ways that could harm it, because they needed a working relationship with Facebook. [253] Schumer's daughter works as a marketing manager at Facebook. [253]

U.S. Attorney firings

As chair of the Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, Schumer took a lead role in the investigation of the dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy. [254] Although he was at one point criticized for being a lead investigator of the affair while also chairing the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, such criticism was not sustained after the full dimensions of the controversy became apparent. [255] [256]

On March 11, 2007, Schumer became the first lawmaker in either chamber to call for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign for firing eight United States Attorneys. In an interview on CBS News's Face the Nation, Schumer said that Gonzales "doesn't accept or doesn't understand that he is no longer just the president's lawyer". [257] When Gonzales's chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, resigned on March 13, Schumer said during a press conference that Gonzales was "carrying out the political wishes of the president" and declared that Sampson would "not be the next Scooter Libby", meaning that he did not accept that Sampson had sole responsibility for the controversy. [258]

Like other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee from both parties, Schumer was angered during Gonzales's testimony on April 19, 2007 Gonzales answered many times that he didn't know or couldn't recall details about the controversy. When Schumer's turn came to ask his last round of questions, he instead repeated his call for Gonzales to resign, saying that there was no point to further questioning since Gonzales had "answered 'I don't know' or 'I can't recall' to close to a hundred questions" about the firings (most press reports counted 71 instances) and didn't seem to know about the inner workings of his department. Gonzales responded that the onus was on the committee to prove whether anything improper occurred. Schumer replied that Gonzales faced a higher standard, and that under this standard he had to give "a full, complete and convincing explanation" for why the eight attorneys were fired. [259]

Palestinians

In 1994, Schumer joined the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress in a campaign to get the IRS to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Palestinian-American charity the Holy Land Foundation, which by the time it was shut down in 2001 was the country's largest Muslim charity. [260]

In June 2010, while speaking at an Orthodox Union event in Washington D.C., Schumer made comments about Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip that were later criticized. [261] He pointed to statistics to show that the Palestinian citizens of the West Bank were experiencing "economic prosperity", crediting this to their government's cooperation with the Israeli government on combating terrorists. [262] He then criticized the Palestinian citizens of the Gaza Strip for voting for the Hamas militant organization, calling on Israel to "strangle them economically until they see that's not the way to go", while also stating that Israel should continue providing "humanitarian aid" to Palestinian civilians. He argued that the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is justified not only because it keeps weapons out of the Palestinian territory, but also because it shows Palestinians living there that "when there's some moderation and cooperation, they can have an economic advancement." [261] [263] Schumer added, "The Palestinian people still don't believe in a Jewish state, in a two-state solution. More do than before, but a majority still do not . They don't believe in the Torah. They don't believe in King David. So they don't think it's our land". [262]

Immigration

While discussing an immigration bill on the Senate floor in 2010, Schumer likened Indian tech giant Infosys Technologies to a "chop shop". When his statement set off a wave of outrage in India, he acknowledged his characterization was incorrect. [264] [265] The remark was also called "outrageous" by U.S.-India Business Council head Ron Somers. [265]

Bicycle safety

Schumer is noted for his love of cycling in New York City, especially around his home in Brooklyn. [266] In 2011, he was reported to have joined a group of neighbors on his street in Park Slope, near Prospect Park. They attempted to remove a new "protected" bicycle path on their street, [267] which ran adjacent to the curb, with a protection buffer provided by parallel-parked cars next to the bike lane. [268] While Schumer has not taken a public position on the traffic-calming project, whose most prominent feature is a two-way protected bike path, his wife, Iris Weinshall, is a prominent advocate against the project, and the New York Post reported that Schumer has lobbied against the bike path behind the scenes. [269] In addition, a major Schumer campaign contributor [270] has fought a controversial pro bono legal battle against the project, drawing criticism. [271]

Statement about Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch

In March 2020, Schumer came under controversy for statements he made about Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, both of whom were nominated by Trump. Schumer At a rally outside the United States Capitol while the Supreme Court was hearing an abortion-related case, Schumer said that if Kavanaugh and Gorsuch voted against abortion rights, they would have "unleashed a whirlwind" and would "pay the price". He then said, "You won't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions." Republicans and Democrats, as well as Chief Justice John Roberts, condemned these comments as inciting violence. A spokesman for Schumer said the comments were in reference to the political price Senate Republicans would pay, and criticized Roberts for following a "right-wing" attack to misinterpret the comments. [272] Schumer later apologized for the comments. [273]

In January 2007, Schumer published a book, Positively American: Winning Back the Middle-Class Majority One Family at a Time, outlining strategies by which Democrats could court middle-class voters. One of his aides at the time, Daniel Squadron, helped write it, and they drew from Schumer's experience helping his party win in the 2006 midterm elections. [29] [274]

Schumer and his wife, Iris Weinshall, were married on September 21, 1980. The ceremony took place at Windows on the World atop the north tower of the World Trade Center. [275] Weinshall was New York City's commissioner of transportation from 2000 to 2007. [276] Schumer and Weinshall live in Park Slope near Grand Army Plaza. [277]

The Schumers have two children, Jessica and Alison, both graduates of their father's alma mater, Harvard College. Jessica, served as chief of staff and general counsel of the Council of Economic Advisers from May 2013 to August 2015. [278] Alison is a marketing manager in Facebook's New York office. [279] In 2018, Jessica gave birth to a son, making Schumer a grandfather. [280]

United States Senate election in New York, 1998
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Chuck Schumer 2,386,314
Independence Chuck Schumer 109,027
Liberal Chuck Schumer 55,724
total Chuck Schumer 2,551,065 54.62%
Republican Al D'Amato 1,680,203
Conservative Al D'Amato 274,220
Right to Life Al D'Amato 104,565
total Al D'Amato (Incumbent) 2,058,988 44.08%
Marijuana Reform Party Corinne Kurtz 34,281 0.73%
Green Joel Kovel 14,735 0.32%
Libertarian William McMillen 8,223 0.18%
Socialist Workers Rose Ana Berbeo 3,513 0.08%
Majority
Turnout
Democratic gain from Republican
United States Senate election in New York, 2004 [281]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Chuck Schumer 4,384,907
Independence Chuck Schumer 216,198
Working Families Chuck Schumer 168,719
total Chuck Schumer (Incumbent) 4,769,824 71.2%
Republican Howard Mills 1,625,069 24.2%
Conservative Marilyn O'Grady 220,960 3.3%
Green David McReynolds 36,942 0.3%
Libertarian Don Silberger 19,073 0.3%
Builders Party Abe Hirschfeld 16,196 0.2%
Socialist Workers Martin Koppel 14,811 0.2%
Majority 3,144,755 46.92%
Turnout 6,702,875
Democratic hold Swing
United States Senate election in New York, 2010 [282] [283]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Chuck Schumer 2,686,043 58.47%
Working Families Chuck Schumer 183,672 4.00%
Independence Chuck Schumer 177,396 3.86%
Total Chuck Schumer (incumbent) 3,047,111 66.33%
Republican Jay Townsend 1,238,947 26.97%
Conservative Jay Townsend 240,777 5.24%
Total Jay Townsend 1,479,724 32.21%
Green Colia Clark 42,340 0.92%
Libertarian Randy Credico 24,863 0.54%
Total votes 4,594,038 100.00% N/A
Democratic hold
United States Senate election in New York, 2016 [284]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Chuck Schumer 4,775,604 61.34% N/A
Working Families Chuck Schumer 241,381 3.10% N/A
Independence Chuck Schumer 150,457 1.93% N/A
Women's Equality Chuck Schumer 45,297 0.58% N/A
Total Chuck Schumer 5,212,739 70.61% +2.97%
Republican Wendy Long 1,720,492 22.10% N/A
Conservative Wendy Long 267,186 3.43% N/A
Reform Wendy Long 17,781 0.23% N/A
Total Wendy Long 2,005,459 27.16% -0.58%
Green Robin Laverne Wilson 113,179 1.45% +0.45%
Libertarian Alex Merced 48,036 0.62% +0.02%
None Blank/Void/Scattering 406,189 5.22% N/A
Total votes 7,785,602 100.00%
Democratic hold Swing

Schumer has been awarded several honorary degrees in recognition of his political career. These include:


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