“The American People Need More Help and They Need It Now”
‘There is no reason why we should not deliver another major pandemic relief package to help the American people through what seems poised to be the last chapters of this battle.’
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 is back in session to finish up 2020. The American people are counting on us to finish strong. We need to reach agreement on federal government funding to avoid a lapse in basic programs and services.
“We need to finish the annual defense authorization to shore up the U.S. military’s competitive advantage over our adversaries.
“And we need to continue processing well-qualified nominees for vacancies throughout the government, especially on the federal bench.
“These are important assignments. But they aren’t the only things that Congress should get done before the end of the year. There is no reason why we should not deliver another major pandemic relief package to help the American people through what seems poised to be the last chapters of this battle.
“This morning, we got yet another major sign of hope. More data appear to confirm that the vaccine developed by Moderna is more than 94% effective. They are going ahead and asking the FDA for emergency-use authorization.
“Experts are calling this news ‘absolutely remarkable’. Alongside other promising vaccine developments from Pfizer, Astra-Zeneca, Johnson and Johnson, and others, there is continued cause to suspect that victory over this pandemic is not far off.
“But a huge amount of work remains before us.
“If Operation Warp Speed remains on this historic trajectory, we need to continue investing in the system that will distribute these vaccines around the country.
“If we want the small businesses that have already hung on for most of the year to survive a few more months, we need a second round of the job-saving Paycheck Protection Program for the workers at the hardest-hit establishments.
“Some major parts of the historic CARES Act have already run dry. Many others are set to expire at year’s end.
“Republicans have spent months trying to renew important help and provide even more.
“We’ve tried to send more than $100 billion to help schools welcome students and teachers safely to the classroom.
“We’ve tried to implement common-sense legal protections that universities and charities have been clamoring for.
“Republicans have tried to pass all of this, over and over again. But Speaker Pelosi and the Senate Democratic Leader have blocked it.
They have been very transparent with their political strategy.
“The Speaker of the House spent the entire summer and the entire autumn literally gambling with the health and welfare of the American people.
“She gambled that if American families didn’t get any more relief before the election, her party would expand its majority in the House, and Democrats could continue demanding the right to remake all of society along far-left lines in exchange for passing any more COVID relief whatsoever.
“But their all-or-nothing obstruction has backfired.
“Democrats did not pick up seats in the House, but instead appear to have lost seats. They have not gained any leverage, but instead lost leverage.
“And in the meantime, with the coronavirus surging from coast to coast, the American people have gone entirely without any additional aid – even the least controversial, most bipartisan programs – on Democrats’ say-so.
“Here is a summary from one news outlet. Quote: “Pelosi seems to have overplayed her hand as she held out for $2 trillion-plus right up until the election. The results of the election, which saw Democrats lose seats in the House, appear to have significantly undercut her position.”
“By now it’s abundantly clear to everyone that the Speaker will not be getting to fundamentally transform American society in a socialist direction in exchange for more bipartisan relief. That hostage-taking was never going to work.
“There is only one remaining question for the Speaker and the Democratic Leader. One.
“Will they finally let Congress pass hundreds of billions of dollars of relief on all the subjects where we agree? Or will they continue to insist that either they get their entire ideological wish list or the American people get nothing at all?
“Even their fellow Democrats are increasingly seeing this is not a difficult question to answer.
“Over the weekend, Professor Austan Goolsbee, who chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama, called on Democrats to finally play ball. Quote: ‘There are a lot of people really hurting… I hope [Congress] can agree on something soon… if they have to accept half a loaf, then they should accept half a loaf.’
“Speaker Pelosi’s number-two, the House Democratic Majority Leader, feels the same way. Quote: ‘I just hope that we can get agreement. It may not be everything that everybody wants, but at least… some significant relief to people.’
“Our distinguished Senate colleague from Illinois, the Democratic Whip, said the same thing. Quote: ‘Get something done that is significant; do what we can achieve now.’
“Here is the headline from Newsweek: ‘Democrats Urge Pelosi to Accept Smaller Stimulus Package to Ensure Relief By End of Year.’
“Even the Speaker’s own House Democratic members are now openly campaigning for our Republican approach.
“Here is one of the Democratic Congressman who nearly lost his reelection after Speaker Pelosi’s stonewalling. Quote: ‘We absolutely have to get something done… Mitch McConnell is talking about a bill we can pass… We should negotiate that to the finish.’ That’s a House Democrat saying that the Senate Republican proposal is the template that can pass.
“Rank-and-file Democrats in both chambers are telling Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic Leader to stop stonewalling and move forward with the approach Republicans have been urging for months.
“The American people need more help and they need it now.
“Democratic leaders have already burned through three months. And they didn’t even get the political results that their cynical strategy was supposed to deliver.
“Let’s hope our colleagues at the top of the Democratic Party can finally hear their own members and stop blocking the commonsense, multi-hundred-billion-dollar measures that Republicans have been ready to deliver for months.”
Related Issues: COVID-19, America's Military, Health Care, Senate Democrats, Education, Economy