McConnell on Coronavirus: This is a Moment for Bold and Bipartisan Action
‘We are crafting the major legislation that the American people deserve in the face of this major challenge. And it is my intention that the Senate will not adjourn until we have passed significant and bold new steps, above and beyond what the House passed, to help our strong nation and our strong underlying economy weather this storm.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding coronavirus:
“As the global outbreak of the new coronavirus continues to grow, its impact on American families and small businesses is continuing to scale up.
“School closures are challenging both parents and teachers. Childcare closures are complicating family life even further.
“Main Street small businesses and their employees are grappling with an unprecedented situation where their local leaders are effectively winding down their business for a period of time through no fault of their own.
“Major industries that our nation relies on have seen their business virtually dry up overnight — again, not due to any business decision they made, but because of appropriate directives from public health experts.
“And most important of all, our healthcare system — and our doctors, nurses, and other front-line professionals — are gearing up for what seems very likely to be the most significant nationwide challenge it has faced in generations.
“At every level, this new challenge is testing our nation and our institutions.
“Yesterday, my home state of Kentucky reported its first coronavirus-related death. Our thoughts are with the family, friends, and neighbors in Bourbon County who are mourning.
“I spoke with Governor Beshear yesterday and we are continuing to stay in close touch. The Bluegrass has now confirmed 25 total cases to date. And we are heeding the sober warning of Dr. Fauci: “Things will get worse before they get better.”
“It is abundantly clear that our nation cannot afford partisan politics as usual.
“This is a moment for bold and bipartisan action.
“That’s what the Senate did earlier this month when we passed billions of dollars in targeted funding to assist medical professionals and responders in every state, and to ease the initial shock to small businesses.
"And that’s what the Senate needs to expand on, this week. Bold and bipartisan action.
“Yesterday evening, the House finally completed its work on their coronavirus relief proposal, made a number of changes, and sent the paperwork here to the Senate.
“I know Senators on both sides are eager to assist workers, families, and small businesses with the financial fallout of this extraordinary period.
“As I said yesterday afternoon, Senate Republicans are convinced that the House’s non-comprehensive bill can only be the beginning of our efforts to support our health system, assist individual Americans and families, and stabilize the U.S. economy.
“Last night, a group of Republican Senators conferred with Secretary Mnuchin. He is returning to the Capitol to meet with our entire conference today.
“We are continuing urgent talks on further legislation that will address head-on the three major priorities we have spent the last several days discussing in depth:
“We need to provide more direct assistance for American workers and families.
“We need further strong steps to secure our economic foundation, most especially our small businesses.
“In particular, it seems increasingly clear that the House’s effort to mandate that small businesses provide new worker benefits, just many small businesses themselves are in major jeopardy of their own, might even be actively harmful unless we urgently address a broader package that includes more and broader small business relief.
“And, of course, the foundational priority is to continue providing all the support and resources that our medical professionals need as they fight this new virus on the front lines.
“These conversations are ongoing. We are making progress.
“The House of Representatives may have left town. But the Senate is right here, at work.
“We are crafting the major legislation that the American people deserve in the face of this major challenge.
“And it is my intention that the Senate will not adjourn until we have passed significant and bold new steps, above and beyond what the House passed, to help our strong nation and our strong underlying economy weather this storm.
“Now, before I conclude this morning, I wanted to take a moment to echo and amplify some of the updated guidance that our public health experts and the White House rolled out yesterday.
“As President Trump said yesterday, the next two weeks are an important opportunity. Our nation will have a major say in how long the virus will spread within the United States before it is contained. Following the common-sense steps laid out by the White House Coronavirus Task Force can significantly reduce each American’s risk of being exposed, or spreading the virus within communities.
“First, obviously, those who feel sick should stay at home. Unwell children should be kept at home. And anyone with questions about their symptoms should contact their medical provider.
“Wherever possible, Americans should engage in work or school from home. Those who cannot, including those whose in-person job functions are central to our government or our nation, must take especially seriously the CDC’s guidelines for health and hygiene — especially washing hands and social distancing.
“All Americans have been strongly urged to avoid eating or drinking out; to avoid discretionary travel; and to avoid visiting nursing homes or retirement facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
“Some of these recommendations sound like basic common sense. Others of them would have sounded almost unthinkable to most of us just a few weeks ago. It is almost impossible to exaggerate the pace of change over the past weeks and days.
“But Americans are strong. We are resilient. This is a proud nation with a world-changing history and we have come through far greater challenges than this.
“This is not a time for fear or panic. It is a time to follow the facts, listen carefully to the experts, and take precautions to protect not only ourselves, but the most vulnerable in our society.
“Every single one of us can do our part.”
Related Issues: Health Care