McConnell: Essential Workers Are Showing Up for Our Country And The Senate Is Showing Up for Them
‘This pandemic is not going to defeat itself, a careful re-opening will not plan itself, and our nation’s other challenges are not about to politely step aside in the meantime. All kinds of American heroes across the country are tackling the coronavirus head-on. We’re going to do all we can to keep them safe and supported while they do it.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the week’s business:
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to hold our nation on high alert.
“More than 1.4 million Americans have been infected. More than 80,000 lives have been tragically lost. And the livelihoods of tens of millions of working families have been turned upside down in what seems like the blink of an eye.
“Our nation’s healthcare system has not been stressed by contagion on this scale in over a century. And unemployment has not been this high since the Second World War.
“A new generation of American heroes — from medical professionals... to lab researchers... to grocery-store workers… to custodians and janitors... to community volunteers — have been called up to the front lines to serve their neighbors and their nation.
“So for several weeks now, the Senate has counted ourselves among those ranks of essential workers. They are showing up for our country, so we are showing up for them.
“With respect to the pandemic itself, we are conducting rigorous oversight of the Senate’s historic CARES Act rescue package and are helping plan the pivot toward re-opening.
"Last week, Chairman Alexander and the HELP Committee engaged with Dr. Fauci, Dr. Redfield, Admiral Giroir, and other top experts to discuss paths for schools and businesses to re-open.
“And a number of our colleagues are joining me and Senator Cornyn in thinking proactively about the issue of legal liability that could crush the recovery on the runway.
“We will need strong legal protections to ensure that our historic recovery efforts are not drained away from healthcare workers, schools and universities, or small businesses in order to line the pockets of trial lawyers.
“At the same time, we’ve kept our eye on the ball of other significant global challenges.
“Last week, on a bipartisan basis, the Senate reauthorized critical surveillance authorities for our national security professionals.
“We also made sure to include important new reforms to begin to address the abuses that marred the 2016 election — the disturbing details of which are continuing to come to light every day. Our action on that subject is not finished.
“Thanks to leadership from Senator Rubio, we also passed legislation to continue ratcheting up the pressure on the Chinese Communist Party. In this case, our bill will shed new light and impose new consequences for the egregious abuses against the Uyghur people and other Muslim minorities.
“And we confirmed well-qualified nominees to important roles at the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“In other words, we’ve done more for the American people in two weeks on this side of the Capitol than the House of Representatives has done in the last two months.
“In the two months that House Democrats spent away from their duty stations, they seemingly gave themselves just one assignment: Draft an enormous political messaging bill and brand it as “coronavirus relief.”
“But even on this basis, they failed. The 1,800-page doorstop that Speaker Pelosi dropped last week was appropriately greeted as the legislative equivalent of stand-up comedy.
“There were tax hikes on small businesses in the midst of a small business crisis. There were targeted tax cuts for the wealthiest people in the bluest states. There were two separate taxpayer-funded studies on diversity and inclusion in the market for marijuana.
“In sum, a three-trillion-dollar wish list slapped together in a clumsy effort to never let a good crisis go to waste.
“Serious work here in the Senate, and partisan pointlessness in the House.
“Well, the Senate will stay on course and continue our serious work at this serious time. Tomorrow morning, our colleagues on the Banking Committee will hear from Secretary Mnuchin and Chairman Powell on the latest status of CARES Act implementation efforts.
“The Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee will meet this week to consider the nomination of Brian Miller to serve as Special Inspector General for the pandemic recovery programs.
“The Special Committee on Aging will be examining the challenges facing American seniors during this pandemic, as both the virus itself and the social distancing measures take a heavy toll on older Americans.
“And of course, we’ll continue to uphold our responsibilities beyond the scope of COVID-19.
“We’ll consider more nominations — to the Federal Election Commission and the federal bench.
“Tomorrow our colleagues on the Intelligence Committee will vote on reporting the nomination of John Ratcliffe to serve as Director of National Intelligence. This role is essential for monitoring and countering evolving threats from Russia to China to terrorist groups, and for ensuring the Intelligence Community’s important work is not tainted by partisan bias or political weaponization.
“We have a busy week ahead of us. This pandemic is not going to defeat itself, a careful re-opening will not plan itself, and our nation’s other challenges are not about to politely step aside in the meantime.
“All kinds of American heroes across the country are tackling the coronavirus head-on.
“We’re going to do all we can to keep them safe and supported while they do it.”
Related Issues: Back to Work, Education, Health Care, Homeland Security, COVID-19, China, National Security, Economy