Practical Solutions, Not Liberal Wish-List Items, Will Help Americans Put COVID-19 Behind Them
‘Our own Senate Democratic colleagues are reportedly admitting parts of this are poorly targeted. Liberal economists and the Washington Post editorial board are saying Americans deserve more bang for their buck. A predictably chilly reception for a partisan bill that started with an outdated ideological wish-list instead of the current needs of American families.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding COVID-19 recovery:
“Yesterday I discussed the K-12 crisis facing American families. The science shows that in-person schooling can easily be made safe. Private and religious schools and schools in Europe have been open for months.
“But Washington Democrats have bought into Big Labor’s myth that schools cannot reopen without even more federal funding — even though their own plan would only spend about 5% of that money this fiscal year.
“This is just one illustration of how Democrats started with preconceived ideological goals and worked backwards, instead of starting with the actual needs of American families.
“Look at the economy.
“When we had to stall our economy to protect our health system, the Senate wrote the bipartisan CARES Act, the biggest rescue package in American history.
“It spent $2.2 trillion to save the healthcare system, find vaccines, and support families. And we refilled many of those programs with another $920 billion just last December.
“Today, we stand at a very different kind of crossroads.
“More than 13% of Americans have received at least one dose of a vaccine. Manufacturers expect vaccine supply to keep ramping up dramatically in the weeks ahead.
“The trillions we spent on rescue policies in 2020 have the economy prepped to come roaring back as health conditions keep improving.
“Unemployment today is already lower than where, at one point in this crisis, the Federal Reserve predicted it would be by the end of this year.
“In some blue-collar sectors, both total employment and job openings are already higher than they were before the pandemic.
“Retail sales just smashed experts’ predictions. Many manufacturers can’t keep pace with demand.
“Remarkably, even as economic output obviously shrunk somewhat in 2020, overall household personal income and personal savings actually went up. That’s because of the relief Congress delivered.
“There is no question that some American families are still struggling. Nobody thinks our health or economic fight is finished yet.
“But on a broad national scale, households are sitting on an historic pile of pent-up cash, waiting for the economy to reopen.
“The former head of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers says ‘we have no historic parallel with anything like this level of excess saving.’ He says we’ve never seen this much ‘dry powder.’
“Even mainstream liberal economists agree that our country does not need another massive firehose of borrowed money.
“This isn’t April 2020. This is a different chapter.
“Washington should focus on practical policies to finish this fight. Accelerate vaccinations. Get kids back in school. Help the families and small businesses that actually need help. And get laid-off Americans matched with job openings ASAP.
“Unfortunately, the Democrats’ partisan proposal would not just be wasteful, but in certain areas, actively counterproductive.
“It would have Washington go out of our way to discourage hiring, discourage a return to work, and actually keep things shut down longer.
“Take their minimum wage policy.
“The CBO says this abrupt, one-size-fits-all change would kill around one-and-a-half times as many jobs as the number of workers it would lift out of poverty.
“Or take their proposal for another long-term extension of a big federal supplement to unemployment benefits.
“Even in the middle of last year, it was a questionable policy to pay people more to stay home than essential workers were earning on the job.
“Now, another long-term flat supplement would make even less sense.
“Here’s how one leading economist puts it.
“Quote: ‘In an expanding economy that is putting the virus behind it, paying people more in unemployment than they could receive from working is an act of substantial economic self-harm. It would keep workers on the sidelines, stop the unemployment rate from falling as rapidly as it otherwise would, and slow the overall recovery.’
“Then there’s the $350 billion bailout for state and local governments, many of whom have already seen revenues and receipts rebound. It’s several multiples of any sober estimate of actual need.
“Apparently even Senators on the Democratic side are trying to pare back this absurd request.
“Just one more way this proposal seems to be stuck back in April of 2020.
“I haven’t even talked about the hundreds of millions of dollars for pet projects without a shred of relevance to the pandemic or the recovery.
“Money for ‘climate justice.’ Transportation earmarks for the Democratic Leader’s home state.
“All kinds of liberal wish-list items that would do nothing to help American families put COVID behind them.
“Just about 1% of the money is for vaccines — so either the new Administration’s completely taken their eye off the ball, or they were not actually starting from scratch at all, like they claimed.
“Only 5% of the education funding would even go out this fiscal year.
“Our own Senate Democratic colleagues are reportedly admitting parts of this are poorly targeted.
“Liberal economists and the Washington Post editorial board are saying Americans deserve more bang for their buck.
“A predictably chilly reception for a partisan bill that started with an outdated ideological wish-list instead of the current needs of American families.”
Related Issues: Senate Democrats, Economy, Jobs, Health Care, COVID-19, Education