“The Evidence Is Crystal-Clear” for Getting America’s Kids Back in School
‘The Biden Administration has a clear obligation to tackle this special-interest madness head-on. Our kids are suffering. Not because science says they must be. It doesn’t. Just because a small group of powerful grown-ups have decided they prefer it this way… The Administration has got to stop taking orders from the public-sector unions that give generously to Democratic campaigns.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding COVID-19 relief:
“Millions of American kids in the public school system have been robbed of a year and counting of anything resembling a proper education.
“It has been an historically tough year. That’s why Americans are so excited our nation appears to be approaching a major turning point.
“Here are just a few recent headlines:
“A U.S. Vaccine Surge Is Coming, With Millions of Doses Promised.”
“America’s Vaccine Rollout Has Been Among the Best in the World.”
“CDC Finds Scant Spread of Coronavirus in Schools With Precautions in Place.”
“Here’s one from my home state: ‘COVID-19 Cases Plummet in Kentucky Nursing Homes, a Key Target for the Vaccine.’
“And then there’s the economy:
“U.S. Retail Sales Surprise With Sharpest Advance in Seven Months.”
“Blue-Collar Jobs Boom as COVID-19 Boosts Housing, E-Commerce Demand.”
“Consumer Demand Snaps Back. Factories Can’t Keep Up.”
“To be clear, this isn’t over. The battle is not won yet. But the day is approaching when we’ll be able to end this defensive crouch and safely reclaim our normal lives.
“Last year the Senate built the largest peacetime fiscal expansion in American history. We spent $4 trillion on 5 overwhelmingly bipartisan packages. The most recent just became law two months ago.
“Funding for hospitals and providers kept our healthcare system above water. The Paycheck Protection Program saved Main Street small businesses. Direct relief and extra unemployment aid helped working families endure the shutdowns. Operation Warp Speed laid the groundwork for our historic sprint toward vaccinations.
“These were strong, bipartisan policies, targeted to what families specifically needed to wage this war.
“Today, Democrats are steamrolling ahead with a massive spending plan on a partisan basis. It did not receive a single House Republican vote in committee yesterday.
“Because their partisan plan is not targeted toward helping Americans reclaim their lives and their country from this invader.
“Instead it’s a combination of miscellaneous, non-COVID-related liberal wish-list items… and the kinds of band-aid policies that make a defensive crouch slightly less painful, but don’t help us get back on offense.
“Take K-12 schooling. Until very recently, the new Administration’s own scientists had been crystal clear.
“Earlier this month, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said, quote, ‘there is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen’. A major CDC study found in-person schooling does not fuel community transmission.
“Last month, Dr. Fauci said: ‘It’s less likely for a child to get infected in the school setting than if they were just in the community.’
“But Big Labor special interests didn’t appreciate science undercutting their political goals.
“The empire struck back.
“And the Democratic leaders who love to claim the mantle of science ran away from the science as fast as they could.
“Now the CDC Director admits that, quote, ‘the lived experiences’ of government employees got between the hard science and the final guidance.
“The unions had spoken and the goalposts were on the move.
“And the White House keeps endorsing the idea that schools need the Democrats’ new spending plan to reopen — when the science disagrees, and furthermore, just 5% of what they propose to spend on schools would even be spent this fiscal year.
“The United Kingdom just announced they’ll have kids back in school in less than two weeks.
“Countries like Spain and France have had kids in classrooms for months already.
“The European Center for Disease Prevention has no problem affirming the science — that closing schools is ‘unlikely to provide significant additional protection of children’s health.’
“Even here at home, private and religious schools have been teaching kids in person for months, without causing any explosion in the spread of the virus.
“Science tells us unambiguously that in-person schooling can be quite safe… and that having young children spend all day staring into a laptop is a nightmare. The evidence is crystal-clear.
“But Big Labor bureaucrats keep refusing to follow the science. In my hometown of Louisville, our union-backed School Board vice-chairman now asserts — with no evidence — quote, ‘I think we’re probably likely to see better instructional outcomes… if we stay [remote] for the rest of the school year.”
“No facts. No evidence. Just a personal whim.
“These are the people controlling our kids’ futures and their parents’ lives.
“One anonymous teacher told reporters: ‘We already have a schedule and a routine going. We don’t need to be babysitting for six weeks because parents are upset.’
“By the way, failing grades in middle schools are up 388% in our county.
“The Biden Administration has a clear obligation to tackle this special-interest madness head-on. Our kids are suffering. Not because science says they must be. It doesn’t. Just because a small group of powerful grown-ups have decided they prefer it this way.
“Instead, the White House keeps parroting the anti-science myths. They back this notion that schools need the Democrats’ new spending plan before they can reopen.
“Except that science completely disagrees. Except that only a tiny fraction of the funding request would even be spent this fiscal year.
“Our children’s futures are literally at stake. The Administration has got to stop taking orders from the public-sector unions that give generously to Democratic campaigns.
“This is Exhibit A in why relief legislation must be targeted to the actual needs we face now.
“American families should be the starting point. Not preconceived political priorities.”
Related Issues: Education, Economy, Jobs, COVID-19, Health Care