“We’ve Had Enough Empty Talk. It Is Time to Go on the Record”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks this afternoon on the Senate floor regarding the expiration of unemployment insurance:
“On Monday, Republicans introduced a trillion-dollar proposal to give American families more coronavirus relief.
“Most urgently, Republicans want to continue a federal supplement to state unemployment insurance, which is set to expire tomorrow.
“If our Democratic colleagues had acted with the urgency that struggling people deserve, we could right now be finishing up a major bipartisan package for kids, jobs, and healthcare. If our Democratic colleagues had acted with urgency, unemployed Americans wouldn’t be facing a total elimination of this extra help.
“But instead, jobless Americans are staring down this cliff, because Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic Leader have refused to negotiate.
“They have refused to move one inch from the Speaker’s far-left proposal that was so absurd, and so unserious, that their own moderate Democrat members began trashing it the instant it came out.
“This is the multi-trillion-dollar boondoggle that would tax and borrow in order to provide a massive tax cut to rich people in blue states — the SALT giveaway — fund diversity studies of the legal pot industry, and do a thousand other things with no relationship to this crisis.
“Just a few minutes ago, our colleague from Wisconsin tried to get consent to continue the unemployment assistance, to prevent it from expiring tomorrow. And the Democratic Leader objected, unless he got to pass the entirety of this massive wish-list.
“Republicans want to continue this aid before it expires. But the Democratic Leader says let them eat SALT.
“This is what was written about their proposal. Quote: “Privately, several House Democrats concede [the] bill feels like little more than an effort to appease the most liberal members of the caucus.” End quote.
“And yet now Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic Leader have declared that unemployed Americans will not get another cent unless the Senate agrees to pass the entire bill that even Democrats say is ridiculous.
“This is their position: Unemployed people, schools, hospitals, and American families will not see another dime unless they get to cut taxes for millionaires in Brooklyn and San Francisco.
“That’s what this is about.
“Sure, they’ll call Republicans names for wanting to make sure the assistance doesn’t pay people more not to work.
“But the Democratic Leader gave away the game this morning. He said on the floor that he now opposes even continuing the aid at the $600 level.
“They want jobless aid to expire tomorrow. Period.
“Lest we forget, just a few days ago, multiple Democratic Senators and the Democratic House Majority Leader were all saying they were prepared to negotiate and land somewhere south of 600 dollars. Multiple Democrats said they were open to continuing the aid at a level that doesn’t pay people more to stay home.
“But now the Democratic Leader hasn’t just contradicted his colleagues and refused to talk. He’s gone even farther and declared he would not even let the aid continue at $600.
“The Democratic Leader has tried to rule out every option except leaving the Capitol today and beginning his weekend with this unemployment benefit set to expire.
“These aren’t the actions, my friends, that would lead to an agreement.
“These aren’t the actions that will actually make a law.
“I am not sure whether my Democratic colleagues really agree that hurting unemployed people is their side’s best political strategy.
“But if that is their position, they will have to vote on it. For the entire country to see.
“In just a moment, I’m going to make the Senate vote on a privileged motion. It will be a motion to proceed to legislation which would be used to prevent the unemployment aid from expiring.
“There are a number of views on both sides of the best way to accomplish that. The bill would be amendable. Nobody who actually wants to negotiate, nobody who actually wants a bipartisan outcome, would be disadvantaged by merely proceeding to this debate.
“We’ve had enough rope-a-dope. We’ve had enough empty talk. It is time to go on the record.
“We will see who really wants a bipartisan outcome for the country — and who’s trying their hardest to block one.”
Related Issues: Jobs, Senate Democrats