Will Democrats Finally Let Congress Pass COVID Aid They Don’t Even Oppose?
After Speaker Pelosi And Sen. Schumer Spent Months Holding Bipartisan Agreements On Healthcare, Economic Assistance, And Education Funding Hostage To Far-Left Demands, Will They At Long Last Agree To ‘Deliver Right Away On All The Subjects Where Everybody Agrees’?
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Anyone who’s heard me speak about coronavirus relief going back months has heard one central principle: Let’s deliver right away on all the subjects where everybody agrees, and argue over the rest later. That solution to this impasse has been in plain sight for anyone willing to see it. Agree where we agree, bank that progress, make law, take a whole lot of pressure off struggling people, and then keep debating the areas where we don’t agree. There is no actual reason why the fates of common-sense policies like a second round of the job-saving Paycheck Protection Program had to be linked to the fates of fringe proposals like stimulus checks for illegal immigrants. There’s no reason why the fate of funding for vaccine distribution, or extending unemployment aid, or legal certainty for universities, should have been tied to radical ideas like paying people more not to work than essential workers earn on the job. Those linkages have been totally arbitrary. Just a political decision that Democratic leaders made many months back. Democratic leaders have tried to create a narrative where it’s taken for granted that the most bipartisan, commonsensical relief policies would live or die with their side’s most outlandish ideas. But that isn’t so.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 12/03/2020)
- LEADER McCONNELL: “[T]he underlying reality is still with us: There are many important policies that have strong bipartisan support; there are many others that do not; and the way to help the country is for our Democratic colleagues to finally let the former group be signed into law while we keep arguing over the latter. The targeted second round of the Paycheck Protection Program that we’ve been trying to establish since July would help a huge number of small businesses survive to the finish line and help huge numbers of workers keep their jobs. And it could pass the Senate today, probably with 95 votes. With the apparent success of Operation Warp Speed, it makes no sense to skimp on the systems to distribute and deliver vaccines around the country. Those funds could pass the Senate today, possibly unanimously. University presidents have made it clear they need legal certainty for their re-openings. That shouldn’t be partisan. Liability protections should be able to pass the Senate today. A number of our Democratic colleagues have focused especially on several of the unemployment relief programs that are set to expire in a matter of days. I specifically made sure to include those programs in my framework a few days ago. That extension could pass the Senate today.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 12/03/2020)
- LEADER McCONNELL: “[H]ere in the Senate, I put forward a serious and highly targeted relief proposal including the elements which we know the President is ready and willing to sign into law. Why should these impactful and non-controversial life preservers be delayed one second longer? At long last, let’s do what Congress does when we want an outcome. Let’s make law on all the subjects where we agree, on all the areas where President Trump is ready to sign bipartisan relief into law.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 12/03/2020)
Secretary Mnuchin Has Said That The President Would Sign A Relief Legislation Based Around The Bipartisan Provisions Leader McConnell Has Put Forward
TREASURY SECRETARY STEVEN MNUCHIN: “The president will sign the McConnell proposal that he put forward [Tuesday]. We look forward to making progress on that.” (Roll Call, 12/02/2020)
Senate Democrats Agree On The Necessity Of Core Provisions In Leader McConnell’s Proposal
PPP & SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE: SEN. BEN CARDIN (D-MD): “Senator Rubio, the Republican chair [of the Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee] -- I’m the Democratic ranking member-- we work well together. And we can come up with a [small business relief] package that could get bipartisan support…. [W]e do both agree that we need a second round of PPP…. I am convinced that if we have an overall bill that’s been agreed upon, the provisions concerning small business can be resolved very quickly, will be probably the first sector of this bill that could be-- that can be agreed to. We’ll come together, but we can’t do it in this partisan environment …” (Yahoo Finance’s “On the Move,” 10/20/2020)
VACCINE DISTRIBUTION FUNDING: SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “[A] vaccine makes a greater need for a bill because it has to be distributed fairly and equitably and there needs to be education that it’s healthy and everything else.” (Sen. Schumer, Press Conference, 11/12/2020)
EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE: SENS. MARK WARNER (D-VA) and RON WYDEN (D-OR): “As the Senate considers the next coronavirus relief package, we urge you to include extensions of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. We also urge you to include additional weeks of benefits for both programs…. Congress created these programs to patch up the holes in our social safety net during a global pandemic. Congress stood up the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to disburse benefits to workers who would normally not be eligible for unemployment assistance for a variety of reasons…. Similarly, recognizing that most regular state unemployment programs provide only 26 weeks of coverage for workers … Congress also created the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program to provide an extension of unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed who exhaust their regular unemployment benefits. Both of these programs are set to expire on December 26th, the day after Christmas.” (Sen. Warner, Press Release, 12/01/2020)
- “Sens. Warner and Wyden were joined on this letter by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Chris Coons (D-DE), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tina Smith (D-MN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Angus King (I-ME).” (Sen. Warner, Press Release, 12/01/2020)
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Related Issues: Senate Democrats, COVID-19, Appropriations