“While Americans are Struggling, the Democratic Leaders Have Barely Moved an Inch”
‘For the sake of the millions and millions who need more help, let’s hope they decide to get serious soon.’
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:
“Stop me if the story I’m about to tell sounds familiar.
“The Speaker of the House and the Democratic Leader summon President Trump’s representatives to the Capitol. They meet for a long while. The Democrats emerge saying they’ve permitted a few millimeters of progress, but a deal is still far off, leaving millions of Americans in the lurch. And they continue to push their three-trillion-dollar wish-list that even their own Democratic colleagues brushed off as absurd.
“We’ve had variations on this theme daily for more than a week now.
“Yesterday the Speaker of the House called their far-left proposal, quote, a “well-developed strategic plan.” But even members of her own caucus know that’s not true.
“Back when the Speaker’s wish list was rammed through the House, one Democratic member came right out and said the so-called Heroes Act, quote, “isn’t a plan, it’s a wish-list.”
“Another said that members of her caucus had taken the bill as, quote, “an opportunity to make political statements… that goes far beyond pandemic relief and has no chance at becoming law.”
“Others said it was “not focused” and quote, “partisan gamesmanship.”
“These are Democrats talking.
“Even the Speaker’s own rank-and-file know it’s comical to say your “strategic plan” for COVID-19 involves sending taxpayer checks to people here illegally.
“Paying people more not to work than essential workers earn by working. Soil health programs… So-called ‘environmental justice’ grants. And a massive tax cut aimed directly at wealthy people in New York and California.
“That last point needs special attention. Now, in ordinary negotiations, members of Congress like to bring things home for their core supporters.
“But it’s a little too on the nose for the Speaker from San Francisco and the Democratic Leader from New York City to be holding up a trillion dollars in emergency aid for the entire country unless they get big tax breaks for millionaires in their hometowns.
“Economists across the political spectrum say this demand of theirs is a bad idea.
“94% of the benefit would flow to people who make north of $200,000. In the words of one progressive economist who ought to be on their side, quote, “This is not a good idea… It would not help the economy heal and it would not benefit the people who need help.”
“But my friends in Democratic leadership are not deterred. More than a week into these talks, they’re still threatening to block any and all relief for struggling people unless big-city penthouses get these tax cuts. The Democratic Leader said just yesterday he’s still holding out for this.
“Now, this isn’t the only bad policy they’re hung up on.
“The Speaker and the Democratic Leader continue to insist that federal unemployment assistance should pay people more not to work than the essential workers who’ve kept working.
“Let me say that again: The Democrats’ position has been that these millions of laid-off people should get nothing unless they get a higher salary than the people who are still working.
“This isn’t just bad economics if you’re trying to re-open a country. It’s also just unfair, in the simplest terms.
“Republicans want to keep providing some supplemental federal unemployment. We just don’t think it is remotely fair for the federal government to tax essential workers who’ve kept working every day so Uncle Sam can pay their neighbors a higher salary to stay home.
“Outside of the Democratic Leader and the Speaker of the House, even Democrats concede it is a bit upside-down to pay people more not to work.
“Last week, the House Democratic Majority Leader said, quote, “it’s not $600 or bust.”
“Our colleague the senior Senator from Maryland has said, quote, “we certainly understand we don’t want to have higher benefits than what someone can make working.”
“And just yesterday, the senior Senator from West Virginia stated plainly that Speaker Pelosi’s position was untenable. Quote, “I don’t think we’re going to stay at the $600.”
“Let’s bear in mind, even $200 would be eight times what Democrats put in place with unified control of the government during the last crisis in 2009.
“It’s unthinkable they will hold every bit of relief hostage unless we land back at $600, and pay workers a bonus if they do not help re-open our country.
“Maybe the Speaker and the Democratic Leader will get the memo from their own colleagues soon.
“And then there’s Democrats’ demand for a trillion more dollars to hand out to state and local governments, even though they’ve only spent a fourth of the money we sent them in March.
“Yesterday, I received an urgent letter from the city of Malibu, California. And — I promise I am not making this up — they asked Congress for hundreds of billions of dollars for state and local governments because they have had to delay their “conversion to an all-electric city fleet.”
“I guess that’s an emergency in Malibu: When they can’t keep buying brand-new electric cars as quickly as they’d like.
“Well, this emergency is hitting most of America very differently.
“My constituents in Kentucky have bigger problems. They need actual relief, straight to struggling families, and frankly they needed it yesterday. Not a trillion-dollar slush fund for bureaucrats that haven’t spent what we sent them in March.
“Those are just some of the fantasy items that are in the Democrats’ demands. I haven’t even gotten to all the important things they left out.
“Their bill cost three times as much as Senate Republicans’ HEALS Act, but they skip over major, serious things that we took care of.
“Democrats proposed fewer resources than Republicans for the fund to help schools re-open safely.
“Democrats completely short-changed the successful Collins-Rubio Paycheck Protection Program, where our bill would fund a whole second round.
“Democrats have no real equivalent to our proposals to strengthen domestic supply chains for PPE and critical resources.
“And they propose no legal protections at all for the doctors and nurses who fought this unknown enemy; or the schools, universities, churches, and businesses trying to re-open.
“Apparently those soil health experiments and diversity initiatives didn’t leave enough room for the critical policies that would actually help the country.
“But remember, our Democratic colleagues told us from the beginning their goal was never a targeted plan for COVID-19.
“In March, one of the Speaker’s top lieutenants said Democrats should view this deadly disease and mass unemployment as, quote, “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”
“Speaker Pelosi herself called this crisis “a wonderful opportunity.”
“And it’s clear they view it that way. Because while Americans are struggling, the Democratic leaders have moved about one inch in eight days.
“For the sake of the millions and millions who need more help, let’s hope they decide to get serious soon.”
Related Issues: Health Care, Economy, Senate Democrats, Education, Middle Class, Taxes, COVID-19, Jobs