“We Can’t Do A Thing Unless Democrats Decide They Want to Make Law”
‘The American people are hurting. We’re in the thick of one of the worst national crises in modern memory. And people’s eyes are fixed on Congress. They need the House and the Senate to stop chasing our tails and make law.’
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 American people are hurting. We’re in the thick of one of the worst national crises in modern memory. And people’s eyes are fixed on Congress. They need the House and the Senate to stop chasing our tails and make law.
“There are small-business employees who’ve held onto their job all this time because of the Paycheck Protection Program — but are facing the prospect they might be laid off now, with vaccines around the corner, because Washington fumbles the ball in the red zone.
“There are medically-vulnerable Americans who’ve watched Operation Warp Speed appear to succeed at an historic pace — but Congress can’t even agree to fully fund the distribution efforts that will get the vaccine to you.
“There are Americans who’ve been thrown out of work through no fault of their own who are watching federal aid programs tick toward expiration in a few weeks — even though neither side in Congress opposes extending them!
“Senate Republicans have made one offer… after another… after another to try and make law on all the significant areas where nobody even disagrees. We have spent July, August, September, October, and November trying different ways to create common ground.
“But the Speaker of the House and the Senate Democratic Leader have been just as consistent. At every turn, they have delayed, deflected, moved the goalposts, and made the huge number of places where Congress agrees into a hostage of the few places we do not.
“Back in the summertime I pointed out the obvious.
“I said leading Democrats simply didn’t want any more help to reach American families before the election.
“The other side claimed great offense. How insulting to even suggest that much cynicism might be at play.
“But now they’re admitting it. Out loud.
“Yesterday, on CNN, the Democratic Whip was asked point-blank why the Speaker and the Democratic Leader were so unwilling to play ball in the autumn.
“The number-two Senate Democrat responded, quote, ‘there was some exuberance involved because an election was coming.’
“Because an election was coming.
“A few days ago, Speaker Pelosi told reporters why she reversed months of statements and suddenly began discussing comparatively more reasonable sums of money. Her answer was simple: she thinks the presidential election went the way she wanted.
“The Speaker of the House of Representatives views it as a success that she denied struggling people relief they badly needed, for months, because she thinks she got the political result she was after.
“I count no fewer than 10 separate times that top Democrats rejected or blocked various Republican efforts to jump-start this process. Here is just a partial sampling.
“In July, Republicans sketched a comprehensive plan for safe schools, jobs, and healthcare. We could have made law in July. But the Democratic Leader wouldn’t even engage with it.
“Just before August, Republicans tried to at least extend unemployment aid before it expired. Democrats blocked that too.
“In September, we tried something else — a targeted effort to send hundreds of billions of dollars for the PPP, vaccine development, and other priorities. Every Democrat voted to block us from even debating it. And they did it a second time in October.
“Last week, after speaking with the Administration, I made yet another overture. The Democratic Leader said no thanks.
“And just yesterday, the Speaker and the Democratic Leader brushed off two different overtures in the space of about two hours!
“I suggested that both sides drop what seem to be the most controversial demand in the eyes of our counterparts. Democrats continue to oppose common-sense legal protections that university presidents have been begging for; and Republicans see no need to send huge sums of money to state and local governments whose tax revenues have actually gone up.
“Negotiating 101 suggests we set those two controversial pieces aside and plow ahead with the huge pile of things that we agree on. But that would require both sides to truly want an outcome.
“Just hours after Democrats poured cold water on that, Secretary Mnuchin tried another new tack, and sent over an offer. In a bizarre and schizophrenic press release, the Speaker and the Leader said the Administration was ‘obstruct[ing]’ negotiations… by negotiating.
“Two more brush-offs in about two hours. More deflection, more delay, and more suffering for innocent Americans.
“Can anyone point to a single sign, from April through now, that Democratic leaders have seriously wanted another bipartisan deal to become law?
“Can anybody name one way — just one — the Democratic leaders would have behaved differently if their singular goal was to kill any compromise?
“That hypothetical world looks suspiciously like the world we’ve been living in.
“Think of it: We have a Speaker of the House from San Francisco who has spent months ensuring that unemployed Californians can’t have jobless aid extended… and California restaurants can’t get another round of the PPP... unless the Governor of California gets a federal slush fund out of any proportion to proven need.
“Do working families agree they should not get any more help themselves unless their Governors and state legislatures get a controversial bail-out?
“Are struggling Americans saying ‘thank goodness the Democrats are bravely blocking help for me and my family unless my state politicians get some cash’? I’d say not.
“Our people need more help. There’s a huge list of helpful policies that both sides agree on. This need not be rocket science.
“But we can’t do a thing unless the Democrats decide they want to make law.”
Related Issues: Jobs, Senate Democrats, COVID-19, Health Care, Economy, Small Business