“American Families Deserve Normalcy”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding parents’ and children’s rights:
“About two weeks ago, I spoke on this floor about the state of the pandemic two years in. About letting American families get back to normal.
“The current science clearly supports the 70 percent of Americans who believe we must accept this virus is here to stay, trust the science, and proceed with normal life.
“At the time, this was not a universal sentiment.
“The next day, across the river, liberals tried to shame Virginia’s new governor for foregoing a mask in an incredibly-vaccinated area where cases have been falling for weeks.
“The top Democrat in the Virginia state Senate criticized the Governor and backed ongoing school mask mandates as, ‘common sense.’
“But my goodness, how quickly things can change.
“A few days ago, I understand that same state Senate leader did a 180-degree turn and voted for an amendment to end school mask mandates.
“A dam had begun to break nationwide.
“A week ago today, leaders in Democrat-run New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, and Oregon announced they would axe or relax their mask and/or vaccine mandates in the near future.
“By the end of the week, states including California, Illinois, Nevada, New York, and Rhode Island had followed suit to varying degrees.
“Now, obviously, the scientific facts have not changed in the last few weeks. We have known for many weeks that this variant is significantly milder. And we have known for many months that
the universally-available vaccines reduce the odds of hospitalization or death down to the level of many routine risks that we all face constantly in daily life.
“The only science that’s changed in the last two weeks is the political science.
“The only data that’s changed in the last two weeks is Democrats’ polling data.
“The Washington Post put it like this: The ‘abrupt end to mask mandates reflects a shifting political landscape.’
“But there’s a problem, Madam President.
“While Democratic leaders are stampeding to finally follow the science and end burdensome mandates on adults, in many places, America’s children are still being left behind.
“States like New York and California are rolling back restrictions on adults, but have yet to provide any end date or off-ramp for mask mandates in K-12 schools. This is completely backwards, since we have known for well over a year that COVID poses far lower risks to children than to adults.
“Officials in Illinois and the District of Columbia have embraced the same double standard, winding back general public mandates while leaving schools with no end-date in sight.
“In other words, here in Washington, the Mayor’s office will be lifting mandates next week in all kinds of adult establishments, from bars to fitness studios, while keeping kids in classrooms masked up for at least another month.
“Even as Democrats permit grown-ups to get back to normal, they’re clinging onto their emergency powers over K-12 classrooms. The ultra-rich, ultra-powerful teachers’ unions that have been antagonists of normal childhoods at each step of the pandemic are continuing to drag their heels.
“For two years now, Democrats at the local, state, and federal levels have let a labor executive named Randi Weingarten become something of an unelected national classroom czar, holding millions of kids’ fates in her hands.
“Science has proven over and over again that in-person schooling is safe for kids, but Big Labor has sought to move the goalposts every time.
“And Democrats have mostly gone along with it. Last year, Ms. Weingarten bragged publicly that the Biden Administration had invited her own hyper-political teacher’s union to basically author the scientific guidelines for school reopening.
“The Biden Administration took the pen away from doctors and experts and handed it to Big Labor.
“She boasted, ‘They asked us for language, and we gave them language.’ Reporters found multiple instances where the union’s words were copied and pasted directly into the final CDC document.
“Now, the same Ms. Weingarten is trying to move the goalposts again on America’s kids, to an even more extreme and unscientific place. She asserted last week that little kids should have to keep covering their faces in schools until there is, ‘no dissemination and transmission in schools.’
“Madam President, with respect, that is completely bonkers. There is no credible scientist or doctor in America who believes that we are heading toward ‘zero COVID.’ We are not going to magically eradicate this virus. It is heading endemic. So Ms. Weingarten’s latest made-up standard would have K-12 kids covering their faces forever.
“Little kids in masks forever. That’s the upshot of this top Biden Administration ally’s public demands.
“This is utter madness.
“Two years ago, the American people accepted temporary disruptions to their daily lives in order to prevent our hospitals from collapsing and buy scientists time to invent vaccines and therapeutics.
“Check, check, and check. Our healthcare system endured. We have remarkable, safe, and effective vaccines. We have therapeutics. And we know that, thank God, none of these variants have posed a medical emergency for the vast majority of children. Period.
“Americans who watched the Super Bowl saw rich celebrities having a grand time with hardly a mask in sight. But under Democrats’ policies, first-graders who watched that big maskless party last night had to wake up this morning and cover their own faces to go to school.
“America’s classrooms seem to be the last places where local, state, and federal Democrats will accept that cost-benefit calculations exist and zero transmission is not possible.
“For two years now, the Democratic Party has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in our country to profoundly disrupt children’s lives.
“The political left has put kids last. That’s not acceptable.
“American families deserve normalcy. They deserve it now.
“And this side of the aisle — the party of parents — has their back.”
Related Issues: Health Care, Back to Work, Senate Democrats, Education, COVID-19