“We Need to Conclude Our Talks, Draft Legislation, and Land This Plane”
‘The American people have already waited for more assistance longer than they could afford. In my judgment, they have waited far too long for a relief package of the same general size and scope that Senate Republicans have been proposing literally since the summertime. Every one of us, in the Senate and the House, represents American families who simply cannot wait any longer for Congress to conclude these discussions.’
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:
“Our nation stands at a crossroads in our months-long battle with the new coronavirus. Tracking recent developments lately has felt like watching a split-screen television.
“On one hand, Operation Warp Speed has fostered a modern medical miracle. The genius of science has brought forward safe and effective vaccines at a pace which, just months ago, many claimed would be impossible. For about nine months now, our nation has been treading water together. Now the road to victory is in sight.
“But at the same time, even as we see this hopeful sunrise on the horizon, in the here-and-now, we are still facing an ongoing, five-alarm national crisis.
“The virus is surging across our country. Two days ago my home state of Kentucky set yet another bleak new record -- the most Kentuckians lost in a single day of this pandemic so far.
“Nationwide, since the start of December, we have lost around 3,000 of our fellow Americans to this disease every day.
“Meanwhile, although the American people have built our economic recovery with more speed and resilience than anyone had anticipated, we’ve known all along that recovering prosperity would come hand in hand with defeating the virus. Thus millions of working families across the nation are still under terrible strain.
“Last week, economists thought we’d see a slight downward tick in new unemployment claims. Instead, the number shot up, logging 885,000 new claims in just one week. Almost 900,000 newly laid-off Americans in one week alone.
“Senators on both sides know what we need to do.
“In the springtime, when the country needed a bridge, we passed the largest rescue package in American history on a unanimous bipartisan basis.
“Now, what Americans need is another bridge. Fortunately, this time, we do not need a bridge over an unknown and frightening future, but a bridge through the next several months while the life-saving vaccines can flow through our country.
“Front-line healthcare workers are receiving the vaccine as we speak. Yesterday, Vice President Pence, Speaker Pelosi, and I all received first doses of vaccines, pursuant to preexisting plans for the continuity of our government.
“These vaccines are safe. They are effective. They are our nation’s path out of this hellish chapter.
“So the first lines of the cavalry are already arriving. We just need to help American families hold on while the reinforcements continue to pour in.
“More Paycheck Protection loans for the hardest-hit businesses. More additional federal unemployment aid. More direct assistance for families.
“A lot more funding for K-12 schools to reopen safely and get our kids’ educations back on track.
“And perhaps most important of all, a huge amount of funding for vaccine distribution -- so that we aren’t just helping Americans endure this battle, but we are helping them win this battle, as fast as possible.
“Last night, we extended government funding for another two days.
“The Senate and the House need to finalize another rescue package containing all the policies I just named and many more. We need to finalize government-funding legislation for next year. And we need to pass these measures with a big, bipartisan vote and get them signed into law without delay.
“We need cooperation and focus from all sides.
“There is a kind of gravitational pull here in Congress, where unless we are careful, any major negotiation can easily slide into an unending catalog of disagreements. Let’s guard against that.
“The American people have already waited for more assistance longer than they could afford. In my judgment, they have waited far too long for a relief package of the same general size and scope that Senate Republicans have been proposing literally since the summertime.
“Every one of us, in the Senate and the House, represents American families who simply cannot wait any longer for Congress to conclude these discussions.
“Every day that we delay may very well cost more small businesses their survival, cost more American workers their jobs, and yes, cost more Americans their very lives.
“We’ve had productive discussions this past week.
“I appreciate the good-faith spirit that has characterized my talks with the Democratic Leader, Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, and Secretary Mnuchin.
“But the American people cannot feed their families or pay their bills with Congress’s good-faith discussions. They need us to act. We need to conclude our talks, draft legislation, and land this plane.”
Related Issues: Economy, Jobs, Small Business, COVID-19, Senate Democrats, Education, Health Care