McConnell Continues to Give Voice to Kentuckians Who Need More COVID-19 Relief
‘Kentuckians need more help. Americans need more help… They need results. All our states need results. And Republicans will fight until we actually get an outcome.’
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:
“Yesterday, I spoke about the disconnect between the discourse here in Washington D.C. and the pain and uncertainty that American families are feeling across the country.
“I spoke about the human toll of the Democrats’ choice to play politics with billions and billions of aid, and block it all over non-COVID-related wish-list items.
“It’s been clear for some weeks that the Speaker of the House and the Senate Democratic Leader are treating this crisis like an ordinary political game.
“The New York Times says Speaker Pelosi is, quote, “Playing Hardball.” Politico says she is “taking a huge risk… as she remains almost entirely unyielding in her demands.”
“More than 160,000 Americans have been killed by the worst infectious disease outbreak in more than a century. More than 16 million Americans are out of work.
“An entire school year for our kids is in limbo. But Democrats are playing political games like this were some run-of-the-mill negotiation.
“Speaker Pelosi’s own Democratic House members call her proposal, quote, “Washington gamesmanship,” “partisan gamesmanship,” and “playing politics.”
“These are House Democrats on the House Democrat bill.
“Yesterday, literally a few minutes after I said on the floor that Democrats should stop treating this crisis like a game, the Democratic Leader came to the floor to talk about who, quote, “ran down the clock”... who, quote, “tossed up an airball”... and who had, quote, “subbed themselves out of the game.”
“Democrats aren’t talking like this is serious. They aren’t acting like this is serious. And the American people are hurting.
“Let’s get outside the Beltway and listen to how this crisis has impacted real American families — and how the Democrats’ stonewalling continues to hurt them.
“Since we passed the CARES Act, I’ve been visiting healthcare facilities in my home state of Kentucky — places like St. Claire’s Healthcare in Morehead and King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland. Always wearing a mask and social distancing, of course.
“I’ve thanked the frontline workers and heard how the Senate’s last rescue package has helped them save lives — and stay safer themselves while doing it.
“That’s because the CARES Act provided $1.3 billion for Kentucky healthcare providers alone, on top of more than $120 million we’d already sent for testing.
“But Kentucky’s incredible nurses, doctors, and hospitals are not finished fighting this battle on behalf of their communities. And Congress must not be done helping them do it.
That’s why Senate Republicans proposed major new investments in health providers.
“We want to send tens of billions more to expand testing… to reimburse healthcare facilities for unplanned pandemic expenses… to speed the development and rapid distribution of COVID-19 treatments… and to find a vaccine to finish this fight, once and for all.
“That’s what Republicans want to do. But Democrats have blocked all of it over non-COVID-related liberal demands.
“Let’s talk about the PPP — the historic program from Chairman Collins and Chairman Rubio that has kept Main Street alive and kept millions of Americans from losing their jobs.
“This program has been transformational for Kentucky. Our small businesses and their workers have received more than $5 billion in payroll support. As the director of the Dare to Care Food Bank in Louisville told me recently, PPP funding is what has allowed his facility to keep its entire workforce -- precisely when our community’s needs were greatest.
“And as I heard from the director of a Kentucky museum, quote, “the PPP program was the one hope that we had to keep our business alive.”
“But these small businesses and nonprofits are now nearing the end of that help. The PPP had to close its doors last Saturday for new applications, and many employers are exhausting the money they received. Our country’s approaching another small-business tipping point and workers could begin getting pink slips instead of paychecks.
“That’s why Senate Republicans wrote up plans for another whole round of the PPP, a full second draw for the hardest-hit businesses. House Democrats left this out of their bill entirely and essentially turned their backs on those benefiting from the PPP. But Republicans want to keep helping Main Street workers.
“One woman-owned small business in Northern Kentucky shared that, quote, “We are grateful for the $465,000 in the PPP. [But] we have used all of it for payroll and employee related costs... 18 weeks of expenses. We are seeking [more] financial help to keep our most treasured asset, our people, employed.”
“And the president of an inspection company in Louisville says this: “You have no idea how much this second draw on PPP will help us. We were actually in the process of figuring out how we were going to make it through to our fall work season... If we get this, we could make it into our season with no layoffs.”
“Republicans want to get more aid to these workers. But Senate Democrats have blocked every bit of it over non-COVID-related liberal demands.
“Our university presidents are worried about testing and funding in the fall. Our K-12 school boards and superintendents want legal protections so they can re-open.
“So Republicans proposed billions for education, even more than House Democrats’ bill. But now Democrats are blocking it all over unrelated liberal demands.
“Republicans want another round of direct checks for households across Kentucky and America.
“I just heard from one constituent who said, “With my first one, I was able to get an eye exam and new glasses… I appreciate all you can do. Some of us are hurting and need help.” I want to put more cash in her pocket right now. But Democrats are blocking every penny over unrelated liberal demands.
“Do you see the pattern?
“Kentuckians need more help. Americans need more help.
“The American people are not done fighting this virus. And Republicans are not done crafting policies to help them.
“But the difference between now and March is that Democrats seem to be done being reasonable.
“The Speaker of the House and the Senate Democratic Leader have cut all their colleagues, all their committees, out of negotiations. They’re going alone.
“And they’ve declared that none of the priorities I have named will see a single dime unless:
“Millionaires in Brooklyn and San Francisco get a massive tax cut. States get a trillion-dollar slush fund to cover budget problems from long before the pandemic. And we tax essential workers to pay unemployed people a higher salary to stay home.
“Republicans wanted to reach agreement on all the issues where we could find common ground and fight over the last few issues later.
“But the Speaker and the Democratic Leader say nothing can move unless every one of these unrelated far-left items tags along.
“These two individuals are letting the wish-lists of wealthy coastal elites stand between every working family in America and the additional help they deserve.
“Maybe in a few moments, the Democratic Leader will try again to explain how this is all some big political game.
“But Kentuckians know different. They need results. All our states need results. And Republicans will fight until we actually get an outcome.”
Related Issues: Small Business, Economy, COVID-19, Education, Jobs, Senate Democrats