Democrats Won’t Budge From Far-Left Wish List to Get COVID-19 Relief to Americans

‘It has now been more than a week since Senate Republicans released a serious proposal for another major rescue package. A trillion dollars for kids, jobs, and healthcare. But Democrats are blocking it all.’

 

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:

“Another day has come and gone in this once-in-a-century national battle for our country.

“Yesterday, more of our neighbors had to say goodbye to loved ones whose lives were claimed by this virus.

“Yesterday, more doctors and nurses worked long shifts on the front lines, fighting to heal strangers and limit a national death toll that now exceeds 150,000.

“Yesterday, more workers brought home pink slips and more Main Street businesses saw the end of their PPP lifelines fast approaching.

“Yesterday, more laid-off Americans filed new claims for unemployment insurance or laid awake wondering about next month’s rent.

“Yesterday, more school officials wondered what to tell parents, students, and teachers about September.

“So what happened here in the Capitol yesterday? With the American people fighting all these battles and more, what did the Speaker of the House and the Democratic Leader do with yet another day of deliberations?

“Yet again, it was the exact same refrain. It never seems to change: We’re feeling optimistic; we spoke very politely to the Administration; but we’re still nowhere close on the substance!

“It has now been more than a week since Senate Republicans released a serious proposal for another major rescue package. A trillion dollars for kids, jobs, and healthcare. But Democrats are blocking it all. It’s like they expect applause for merely keeping a civil tone with the President’s team, never mind they’re still obstructing any action for the country.

“Senate Republicans want to revive a federal add-on to unemployment insurance which the Democratic Leader would not let us extend last week.

“We want to send another round of direct checks straight into families’ pockets. We want to supply generous new incentives for re-hiring American workers and workplace safety.

“We want to send historic money to schools for re-opening and invest even more in testing and vaccine research. We want legal protections so schools, churches, charities, and businesses can re-open.

“The Democrats say they want many of the same things.

“I certainly believe that many of my Democratic colleagues who serve as Ranking Members want many of these same things, and could easily find common ground with our Chairmen if the Democratic Leader would let them talk.

“But instead, we’ve gotten a full week of the Speaker of the House and the Democratic Leader shutting out all of their own members and refusing to move an inch off of demands that everyone knows are outlandish.

“The Democratic leaders want the entirety of their massive far-left wish list.

“Speaker Pelosi is still agitating for strange new special-interest carveouts for the marijuana industry, and even claiming they are COVID-related. She said that with respect to this virus, marijuana is, ‘a therapy that has proven successful.’ You can’t make this up. I hope she shared her breakthrough with Dr. Fauci.

“In the other corner, Leader Schumer is still demanding massive tax cuts for rich people in blue states or he won’t let any relief become law.

“These are the kinds of non-germane pet projects that our Democratic colleagues are demanding. Not a dime for kids, jobs, and healthcare unless the Administration lets them check off every left-wing lobbyist’s Christmas list five months early.

“Let’s listen to what Speaker Pelosi’s own House Democrats said about this bill when they passed it. Here’s what House Democrats said about the bill that Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic Leader now say is their absolute red line.

“‘The partisan nature and wide scope of this bill makes it doomed upon arrival in the Senate.’

“‘In response to COVID-19, our relief efforts must be targeted, timely, and transparent. The HEROES Act does not meet those standards.’

“’This isn’t a plan, it’s a wish-list.’

“’Partisan gamesmanship.’

“’Some in my own party... have decided to use this package as an opportunity to make political statements and propose a bill that goes far beyond pandemic relief and has no chance at becoming law, further delaying the help so many need.’

“These are House Democrats’ views about the so-called HEROES Act. But now the entire thing is the price of admission for giving hard-hit Americans any more aid?

“What worked in March, with the CARES Act, were productive and good-faith conversations between chairmen and ranking members. A bipartisan process, led by members.

“But this time, the Speaker and the Democratic Leader have forbidden their members from negotiating at all. The Ranking Member on HELP cannot even discuss testing with Chairman Alexander. The Ranking Member on Small Business cannot even discuss the PPP with Chairman Rubio and Chairman Collins.

“No, the Speaker and the Democratic Leader only want themselves at the table. So that, behind closed doors, they can say that nobody gets another dime of federal unemployment money, nobody gets extra school funding, and nobody gets more money for testing and PPE unless they burn cash on a thousand unrelated things.

“I’m talking about things like stimulus checks for illegal immigrants. A trillion-dollar slush fund for states, even though states and localities have only spent a quarter of the money we sent them in March. Diversity and inclusion studies. A ‘soil health’ program. And on and on.

“The House bill does all these things, while completely forgetting a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program and sending less money for schools than our Senate bill.

“This is what they won’t budge from. And every day, the script is the same: We had a pleasant conversation, but we don’t feel like making a deal! Maybe tomorrow!

“Here’s the problem. Every day the Democratic leaders repeat the same act here in the Capitol, they are letting down the struggling people who need our help.

“Day after day, Americans are trying to stay above water. Layoffs. Benefit cuts. Threats of eviction. The possibility of losing a family business forever. Towns wondering if their Main Streets will ever come back. School principals with no idea what to tell communities.

“That’s the reality in Kentucky and in all 50 states. And none of those people are helped one bit by the Democratic leaders’ charade.

“What American families need is an outcome. A bipartisan result.

“Senate Republicans have had a road map sitting on the table for more than a week. We didn’t put every Republican wish-list item in history into an 1,800-page encyclopedia and insist on starting there. We built a serious starting point based on the bipartisan programs we passed in March, unanimously, and what the country needs now.

“If our colleagues across the aisle would do the same — frankly, if our colleagues across the aisle were even allowed to take part in these discussions — we could get this done for the country.

“We did it in March. We could do it again. But both sides have to actually want it.”