McConnell Before Senate Vote on More COVID-19 Relief: “The Country Needs an Outcome”
‘If this relief does not pass, it will be because Senate Democrats chose to do Speaker Pelosi’s political dirty work rather than stand up for struggling people… Let’s find our common sense, agree where we can, and advance this legislation while we debate the rest. The American people deserve action.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding COVID-19 relief:
“Today, the Senate will have the opportunity to advance another COVID-19 relief package for American families.
“For more than seven months now, the American people have been facing what one writer described as a health crisis with an economic crisis strapped to its back.
“The Senate has stepped up repeatedly, on a bipartisan basis, to help our nation through this challenge. Today we can do it again.
“The legislation before us is neither Republicans’ nor Democrats’ idea of a perfect bill. I think we’re all clear on that. But it would move us past Speaker Pelosi’s all-or-nothing obstruction and deliver huge support, right now, for the most pressing needs of our nation.
“Republicans want to conquer this disease through testing, treatments, and vaccines. And Democrats say they agree with us.
“Republicans want to pour money into safe schools and make sure an entire generation of kids don’t fall any further behind. And Democrats say they agree with us.
“Republicans want to re-open the Paycheck Protection Program so that Main Streets across America don’t turn into COVID ghost towns; so that millions of workers can keep their jobs and keep getting paid. And Democrats say they agree with us.
“For workers who’ve been laid off, Republicans want to renew the federal supplement to unemployment insurance. Democrats say they agree with that.
“Republicans want to cement health protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, including COVID-19 itself. Democrats claim they’re all over this issue.
“And Republicans want to take our nation’s college presidents, nonprofit leaders, and employers at their word when they say they need common-sense protections so that legal uncertainty does not block our re-opening.
“The bill on the floor would do every one of these things and much more.
“The overwhelming bulk of it are programs that Democrats claim they support.
“Well, it turns out there is a special perk to being a United States Senator. When you actually support something, you get to vote for it!
“When you actually want an outcome, you vote for it.
“Strangely enough, that’s not what’s happened. Our Democratic colleagues have been happy to talk about further relief — as long as it’s remained a hypothetical concept.
“But every time the Senate’s had a chance to actually do something, they’ve said no.
“In July, Republicans tried to continue the federal plus-up to unemployment insurance before it expired. Leader Schumer blocked it.
“In August, Senator McSally fought again to restart those benefits for laid-off Americans. Once again, Democrats stopped it cold.
“In September, Republicans wrote a sweeping proposal to deliver hundreds of billions of dollars for safe schools, unemployment benefits, paycheck protection, and the healthcare fight.
“Every single Senate Democrat voted to kill it all — except the junior Senator for California, who didn’t even vote.
“This has been the dynamic for months now: Republicans trying to pass common-sense policies that Democrats say they support... and Democrats replying that working people can’t get a dime unless Speaker Pelosi gets everything she wants.
“We’re talking about silly stuff:
“Massive tax cuts for rich people in blue states. Stimulus checks for people in our country illegally.
“Wheelbarrows of cash — out of any proportion to COVID needs — for state and city governments that Democrats have mismanaged for decades.
“Removing long-standing bipartisan Hyde protections that protect taxpayers from funding abortions.
“Now I hear they don’t want to renew the PPP unless it sends money to Planned Parenthood and criminals who are literally currently in prison.
“These are the kinds of far-left fringe demands over which Democrats have blocked kitchen-table assistance for American families and healthcare support to crush the virus.
“During this historic crisis, the Democratic leaders have elected to deny struggling people the help they need unless President Trump signs the entire Democratic Party platform into law.
“Today, we are providing another chance to right the ship.
“In a few minutes, Senators will vote to either advance or filibuster a broad package that would deliver on all kinds of urgent needs.
“Testing. Treatments. Vaccines. Safe schools for our kids.
“A second round of the job-saving PPP. More federal unemployment benefits.
“The legal protections that university presidents and charities say they need. Protections for pre-existing conditions.
“There is almost nothing in this proposal that Democrats even claim to oppose.
“And last week, the entire country watched our colleagues on the Judiciary Committee complain over and over about having to fulfill those responsibilities when they supposedly wanted to be working on coronavirus relief instead.
“We’ll see who walks the walk.
“I’m confident the Democratic Leader will repeat the same tired attacks he’s been recycling since the summertime. He’ll say that we shouldn’t do anything unless we do everything. He’ll argue this multi-hundred-billion-dollar bill is paltry, or meager, or emaciated.
“I’m not kidding; this is seriously their claim: That a half a trillion dollars for working people is chump change. It’s not worth their time. Hundreds of billions of dollars targeted directly to struggling people doesn’t even get Democrats out of bed in the morning.
“Well, perhaps to the blue-state billionaires who seem to be the Democrats’ top priority, these historic sums of money do look like chump change.
“Maybe coastal elites who can practically find a million dollars in their couch cushions are indifferent about whether we get an outcome here.
“But, believe me, working families like the Kentuckians I represent don’t see it that way.
“Millions of workers have been able to keep their jobs and support their families because of the Paycheck Protection Program. Republicans want to fund a whole second round. Today, Democrats will either vote to advance it — or vote to kill it.
“Students, teachers, and parents need to know their K-12 schools are as safe as possible. Republicans want to send an historic sum of money to schools.
“Today, Democrats will either vote to advance it — or vote to kill it.
“For the historic numbers of Americans who’ve been laid-off, additional federal unemployment benefits have been a lifeline. Republicans want to restore them.
“Today, Democrats will either vote to advance it — or vote to kill it.
“Colleges, universities, charities, and small businesses need commonsense legal protections. And with cases spiking, our whole country needs further investment in testing, tracing, and vaccines.
“Today, Democrats will either vote to advance all that — or vote to kill it.
“Struggling people don’t need more endless arguments. They don’t need to keep waking up and listening to reporters speculate on whether the Speaker of the House is in a good mood that day because their very livelihood may depend on it.
“The country needs an outcome.
“Let’s put aside our differences, agree where we can, and move forward. Why not get the country in a better place while Washington continues to argue over the rest?
“If the sun sets today with no progress — if the Senate turns to Judge Barrett’s nomination without having advanced another historic rescue package — it will only be because Senate Democrats used the filibuster to kill this aid.
“If this relief does not pass, it will be because Senate Democrats chose to do Speaker Pelosi’s political dirty work rather than stand up for struggling people.
“Let’s not go there.
“Let’s find our common sense, agree where we can, and advance this legislation while we debate the rest.
“The American people deserve action.”
Related Issues: Senate Democrats, Health Care, Small Business, Economy, COVID-19, Jobs