Charles Schumer, the longtime U.S. Senator from New York, enters 2017 as that body's new minority leader. During a recent visit to Buffalo, the Democrat said he wouldn't necessarily oppose legislation just because it has President-Elect Donald Trump's name on it. There are some issues and ideas, he said, for which he's willing to work with Trump.
Schumer pointed to one of Trump's most ambitious proposals, a wide-scale redevelopment of America's roads and bridges.
"President-Elect Trump has talked about a trillion dollars in infrastructure, which would be a huge shot in the arm to our Western New York economy, creating tens of thousands of good-paying jobs," he said.
The infrastructure proposal has early bipartisan support among Western New York lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins also spoke recently about it. He sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, which will write that body's version of the bill.
"I know the profoundly beneficial influence that infrastructure investment has had in the City of Buffalo, in unleashing the creativity and resources of the private sector," Higgins said. "That's something I look very favorably at."
Schumer, though, has a condition he wants Trump to honor in that infrastructure bill.
"When we spend this trillion dollars on infrastructure, the steel and the pipes and the concrete and all of that should be made in America," the senator said. "It's American taxpayer dollars that are buying these things. Why shouldn't we have American jobs?"
Guaranteeing domestically-produced materials for the project is not as easy as one might think, Schumer suggested.
"There was a move in the water resources bill, a much smaller bill for water and sewers, to take out the permanent 'buy America' provision," he said. "I'm going to fight that tooth and nail."
Schumer also expressed opinions similar to those of Trump on foreign trade deals. Trump, during his campaign, blasted the North American Free Trade Agreement, signed by then-President Bill Clinton, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which awaits ratification. Trump has already vowed to reject the TPP.
Schumer voted against both deals.
But he also vows to fight in defense of Wall Street regulations implemented since the Great Recession. Democrats fear the Republican majority and Trump White House may work to roll back some of those regulations.