McConnell: Democrats Aren’t Negotiating, They’re Throwing Spaghetti at the Wall to See What Sticks
‘Laid-off workers, and kids, and parents, and doctors and nurses are waiting for help. Our people are waiting for help. Republicans have been at the table for weeks. We just need seriousness on the other side.’
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:
“The Senate was supposed to spend this week finalizing another bipartisan rescue package for the American people.
“Millions of laid-off workers needed more federal assistance to weather the storm.
“Small businesses need more support to make payroll.
“Schools and families need more funding, tools, and certainty with re-opening dates fast approaching.
“Doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers need more back-up as they hold the line against the disease. And we all need more gas for the race toward more testing, better treatments, and the vaccine that will finish this fight.
“So last week, I canceled this first week of the August state work period — in the hope that the Speaker of the House and the Democratic Leader would put aside their ideological demands with no relation to this pandemic and finally let Congress legislate.
“Unfortunately, the Democrats have continued to let working families down. They are still rejecting any more relief for anyone unless they get a flood of demands with no real relationship to COVID-19.
“It has been more than two weeks since Senate Republicans put out a trillion-dollar plan to help America re-open, recover, and stay on offense against the virus.
“Republicans did the same thing that worked back in March. We set up the same process that built the unanimous CARES Act in a matter of days:
“We laid out a strong marker, built by our chairman and our committees, fitted to real, fact-based needs of our nation, and then invited Democrats to negotiate.
“We want another round of direct cash payments for American families.
“We want to send $105 billion to help schools and universities safely reopen, and billions more to help working parents with childcare.
“We want to create big new incentives for retaining and re-hiring American workers, and for businesses to improve workplace safety.
“We want to create the smart legal protections that small businesses and university presidents are pleading for, so they can re-open safely for students and workers without paying ransom to trial lawyers.
“These are the strong policies we proposed — because these are the policies our nation needs. We want to take second runs at the best, most successful parts of the bipartisan CARES Act, while adding in bold new steps for this new phase of our nation’s battle.
“But as I said right from the outset, Republicans had no illusion that our initial marker would become law. That isn’t how divided government operates. There was never any question that bipartisan compromise would be needed to get an outcome.
“So I expected that, just like in March, the Democratic ranking members would sit down with our chairmen, bring some of their own serious ideas to the table, and work together to build a bipartisan bill. But instead, the country got something else entirely.
“Instead of working with our serious framework, the Speaker of the House and the Senate Democratic Leader spent weeks insisting on a completely unrealistic, far-left proposal that even their own Democratic members mocked as a go-nowhere messaging stunt the instant it was first released.
“Instead of letting their committees and their members discuss substantive issues across the aisle, they said nobody could negotiate but them.
“And instead of staying focused on the real needs of our nation, these two Democratic leaders have held the talks hostage — for weeks now — over non-COVID-related ideological items which the political left has wanted since long before this virus hit our shores.
“You know what I’m talking about.
“By now the whole country knows what I’m talking about. The absurd issues which the Democrats have turned into sticking points.
“The bizarre, parochial left-wing favors that Democrats have put ahead of the help that working families need now.
“Like the massive tax cut for the highest earners in the bluest states -- an idea that even supposedly progressive economists have said is, quote, “not a good idea”...
“The trillion-dollar slush fund for state and local governments that have only spent 25% of the many billions that we sent them in March, totally out of proportion to any estimate of urgent pandemic shortfalls…
“The socialist insistence on the federal government paying people more not to work than essential workers earn on the job…
“Go to any kitchen table in America, outside of a few skyscraper penthouses, and put these bizarre demands up against the trillion dollars of real, practical relief that Republicans wanted to get out the door weeks ago.
“No family in middle America is saying: Thank goodness the Democrats are blocking cash payments to me, money for my kids’ schools, and money for vaccines until Manhattan millionaires get a tax cut!
“No working people are saying: Thank goodness the Democrats are blocking the next small-business rescue plan, money for testing, and re-hiring incentives until Malibu, California gets federal money to keep buying more electric cars, which they wrote to the Congress demanding!
“Families aren’t saying this. Outside of Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer, even Washington Democrats aren’t saying this!
“While the press tries its hardest to praise Speaker Pelosi for “playing hardball,” her own House Democrats are rebelling.
“They say they’re “frustrated” and “angry” that relief is being held up over what they themselves acknowledge is a, quote, “political wish-list”. Quote: “the HEROES Act went too far.” These are Democrats’ words.
“Even the Speaker’s own members are not buying her political spin. They want what Republicans want, what the Administration wants, what American families everywhere want — an outcome.
“The Secretary of the Treasury and the White House Chief of Staff have given ground. They’ve put new issues on the table that Democrats wanted. They’ve worked to find commonality.
“But the Democrats are barely even pretending to negotiate. Barely even pretending. The Speaker’s latest spin is that it is some heroic sacrifice to lower her demand from a made-up three-and-a-half-trillion-dollar marker that was never going to become law… to an equally made-up two-and-a-half trillion-dollar marker.
“She calls this meeting in the middle.
“That’s not negotiating. That’s throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. People who have serious policy proposals that are fitted to actual needs cannot breezily knock off a trillion here, and add a trillion there.
“Heck — by the Speaker’s logic, they should have just opened with their entire 93-trillion-dollar Green New Deal! Then they could have blamed the President for not meeting them halfway at the cut-rate bargain sum of 45 trillion dollars!
“Come on. Come on.
“In point of fact, the Speaker and the Leader have not conceded anything. They haven’t budged on their absurd demands. They just moved up the expiration date a few weeks on the exact same crazy wish-list, so the price tag comes down without moving an inch on the merits.
“And they’ve refused Republicans’ offers to pass everything that we can agree to, right now. Republicans don’t think the disputed issues should hold up the most urgent aid for working families.
“But Democrats say no. Their partisan games continue. And so the nation’s pain continues, too.
“Laid-off workers, and kids, and parents, and doctors and nurses are waiting for help. Our people are waiting for help. Republicans have been at the table for weeks. We just need seriousness on the other side.
“American families’ livelihoods are at stake. American lives are at stake. Democrats must re-run their political calculations and finally let Congress act.”
Related Issues: Small Business, Health Care, Economy, COVID-19, Education, Middle Class, Senate Democrats, Jobs