McConnell on State of COVID-19 Crisis and Priorities for Further Legislation
‘We need to continue supporting our healthcare system, and harbor no delusion that the virus is behind us... while also taking strategic steps to help laid-off American workers get rehired and American families get their kids back in school in the fall… That is why Senate Republicans will be putting forward a strong starting point for additional recovery legislation, hopefully as soon as this week.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the coronavirus:
“It’s been half a year since the deadly coronavirus began to spread from China throughout the world.
“3.7 million cases have been recorded on American soil. More than 140,000 lives have been lost.
“Today, our nation stands at a challenging crossroads. States and localities are trying to balance the need to reopen and foster economic recovery with the need to stay on offense against the virus.
“Back in March, the American people began a period of historic disruption and heroic sacrifice in order to stunt the spread of the virus. Life as we’d known it was put on ice. Daily routines were reinvented. Not as a permanent solution, but as a short-term emergency measure to save our healthcare system.
“The American people stepped up. The sacrifices saved lives. Nowhere in the United States did hospitals suffer the fate of the medical system in places like Italy.
“Our nation met new kinds of American heroes.
“Doctors and nurses — who worked double shifts, washed their hands raw, and endured physical separation from their loved ones so they could continue to treat ours...
“Essential maintenance, delivery, and grocery store workers — who kept clocking in to keep families, communities, and entire industries supplied and functioning...
“Teachers and parents — who tried their best to keep school in session for our nation’s children, from virtual classrooms and kitchen tables across the country.
“No generation before us had ever had to pull the emergency brake on national life in quite this way. And this historic challenge required historic support. So the Senate wrote and passed the largest rescue package in history.
“The CARES Act put financial assistance in the pockets of American families.
“It sent hundreds of billions of dollars so that employers could keep paying workers. It mobilized unprecedented resources for the medical response.
“Economists and experts across the spectrum agree that the Senate’s bold, bipartisan policies have made a tremendous difference these past months.
“So the question before the Senate this week is: Where are we now?
“On one hand, our healthcare fight against the virus itself is very obviously unfinished. New spikes in large and economically central states show that we are nowhere near out of the woods.
“But at the same time, neither economics nor our nation’s sanity would sustain an indefinite total lockdown until there’s a vaccine. So even as we continue to fight the healthcare battle, cautious reopenings will need to proceed in ways that are as smart, safe, and data-driven as possible.
“This is the situation facing the Senate as we discuss and consider the possibility of another recovery package.
“It would neither be another multi-trillion-dollar bridge loan to make up for a totally shut-down economy... nor an ordinary stimulus for a nation ready to get back to normal.
“The need now lies somewhere in between.
“We need to continue supporting our healthcare system, and harbor no delusion that the virus is behind us, because it isn’t... while also taking strategic steps to help laid-off American workers get rehired and American families get their kids back in school in the fall.
“That is why Senate Republicans will be putting forward a strong starting point for additional recovery legislation, hopefully as soon as this week.
“It will take good-faith bipartisan cooperation from our Democratic colleagues to make a law.
“That productive spirit is what got the CARES Act across the finish line unanimously.
But last month, that spirit was absent. A political determination from our Democratic colleagues led them to block the JUSTICE Act and block the Senate from even turning to the subject of police reform, even as millions had taken to the streets demanding change.
“For the sake of our nation, if we want to continue helping the American people, the next several weeks will need to look more like March and less like June.
“Senate Republicans will put forward our proposal soon. I hope our Democratic colleagues will be ready to work together to get an outcome.”
Related Issues: COVID-19