McConnell slams Democratic colleagues over coronavirus stimulus delay

McConnell slams Democratic colleagues over coronavirus stimulus delay

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The senate will come to order the chaplain will lead the senate in prayer. Let us pray. Oh god. Our refuge. And strength. Give us reverence. For your greatness. Guide, our senators. Around. The pitfalls. Of their work. Enabling. Them. To have. Hearts. Sustained. By your peace. May they surrender, their, will, to you. As they trust, you. To guide. Their lives. Lord. Give them the wisdom, to receive. Your reproof. With the understanding. That you, chastise. Those. Whom you love. For their good. Make. Their lives. Productive. For the glory. Of your. Name. Mighty god. Protect. The oppressed. And helpless. Preserving. Them. From, evil. We pray. In your great name. Amen. Join me in reciting the pledge. I pledge allegiance. To the flag. Of the united, states of america. And to the republic, for which it stands. One nation. Under god. Indivisible. With liberty, and justice, for. All. Uh we'll read a communication, to the senate, washington, d.c, august 12 2020. To the senate. Under the provisions of rule one paragraph, three of the standing rules with the senate i hereby appoint the honorable, roy blunt, a senator from the state of missouri to perform the duties of the chair signed chuck grassley, president for attempting. Mr president, majority, leader. Yesterday, i spoke about the disconnect, between discourse, here in washington. And the pain and uncertainty, that american, families are feeling. All across our country. I spoke about the human. Toll, of the democrats, choice to play politics, with billions. And billions, of aid. And block it all, over non-coveted. Related. Wish list, items. It's been clear for some weeks, that the speaker of the house and the senate democratic, leader are treating this crisis. Like an ordinary, political, game. The new york times said speaker pelosi, is quote. Playing hardball. Politico, says she is, taking, a huge, risk. As she remains, almost entirely, unyielding. In her demands.

More Than, 160. 000, americans, have been killed by the worst infectious, disease, outbreak. In more than a century. More than 16, million americans. Are out of work. An entire school year for our kids. Is in limbo. But democrats, are playing political, games like this where some. Run of the mill. Typical. Negotiation. Speaker pelosi's, own democratic, house members call her proposal, quote. Washington, gamesmanship. Partisan, gamesmanship. And playing politics. Those are house, democrats, i'm quoting. On the house, democratic. Bill. Yesterday. Literally, a few minutes after i said on the floor that democrats, should stop treating this crisis like a game. The democratic, leader came to the floor to talk about who quote. Ran down the clock. Who quote. Tossed up, an air ball. And who quote. Subbed, themselves. Out of the game. So. Look the democrats, aren't taking this. As a serious, issue. They aren't acting like this is serious and the american people are hurting in the meantime. Let's get outside the beltway and listen to how this crisis. Has impacted, real american, families, and how the democrats, stonewalling. Continues, to hurt them. Since we passed the cares act. I've been visiting health care facilities, in my home state of kentucky. Places like saint claire's health care and morehead. King's daughter's medical center. In ashland. Always wearing a mask. And social distancing. Of course. I've thanked the front line workers and heard how the senate's last rescue package has helped them save lives. And stay safe for themselves, while doing it. That's because the karzak, provided, 1.3. Billion dollars for kentucky, healthcare providers. Alone. On top of more than 120. Million we'd already sent for testing. But kentucky's, incredible, nurses, doctors, and hospitals, are not finished, fighting the battle on behalf of their communities. And congress, must not be. Finished. Helping, them do it. That's why senate republicans, proposed, major new investments. In, health, providers. We want to send tens of billions more to expand testing, to reimburse, health care facilities, for unplanned, pandemic, expenses. To speed the development, and rapid distribution, of cobit, 19, treatments. And to find a vaccine, to finish this fight. Once and for all. That's what republicans. Would like to do but democrats, have blocked all of it over non-coveted. Related liberal demands. Let's talk about the, ppp. The historic, program, from chairman collins and chairman rubio that has kept main street alive and kept millions of americans. From losing, their jobs. This program, has been transformational. For kentucky. Our small businesses, and their workers have received more than 5 billion. In payroll, support. As the director, of. The dare to care food bank in louisville told me recently. Ppp. Funding, is what has allowed his facility, to keep its entire. Workforce. Precisely, when our community, needs. We're the greatest. And i heard from the director of a kentucky, museum, quote. The ppp, program was the one hope that we had. To keep our business. Alive. But these small businesses, and non-profits. Are now nearing the end of that help. Ppp, had to close doors last saturday for new applications. And many employers. Are exhausting, the money. They had already received. Our country is approaching, another small business tipping point and workers, could begin, getting pink slips. Instead of paychecks. That's why senate republicans, wrote up plans for another whole round. Of ppp. A full, second draw, for the hardest hit businesses. House democrats, left this out of their bill entirely, and essentially, turn their backs on those benefiting. From, ppp. But republicans, want to keep helping main street workers. One woman owned small business in northern kentucky. Shared that quote. We are grateful for the 465. Thousand dollars, in the ppp. But we've used all of it for payroll, and employee-related. Cost. 18, weeks, of expenses. We are seeking more financial, help to keep our most treasured, asset. Our people. Employed. And the president of an inspection, company in louisville, says this. You have no idea how much this second draw on ppp. Will help us. We were actually in the process, of figuring out how we were going to make it through, to our fall work season.

If We get this. That second tranche. If we get this we could make it into our season with no, layoffs. Republicans, want to get more aid to these workers. But senate democrats, have blocked every bit of it over, non-covet-related. Liberal. Demands. Let's talk about our university, presidents, who are worried about testing and funding in the fall. Our k-12. School boards and superintendents. Want legal protections. So they can reopen. So republicans. Proposed, billions, for education. Actually, even more than house democrats, in their bill. But now democrats, are blocking, it all over unrelated. Liberal, demands. Republicans, want another round of direct, checks, direct checks to households, across kentucky. And across america. I just heard from one constituent, who said with my first one i was able to get an eye exam and new glasses. I appreciate, all you can do some of us are hurting. And need help. I want to put more cash in her pocket. Right now. But democrats, are blocking, every penny over unrelated. Liberal, demands. So mr president. Do you see the, pattern. Kentuckians. Need more help. Americans, need more help. The american, people are not done, fighting this virus. And republicans, are not done crafting, policies. To help them. But the difference between now and march is that democrats, seem to be finished, being, reasonable. The speaker of the house. The senate democratic, leader. Have cut. All their colleagues. All of them, all of their committees. Out, of negotiations. They're doing this, alone. And they've declared that none of the priorities, i named will see a single dime, unless. The two of them have declared. None of the priorities, i have named will see a single dime. Unless. Millionaires, in brooklyn and san francisco, get a massive, tax cut. States get a trillion dollar slush fund to cover budget problems from long before the, pandemic. And we tax essential workers to pay unemployed, people a higher salary, to stay home. Republicans, wanted to reach agreement on all these issues. Where we could find common ground. And fight over the last few issues. Later. But the speaker and the democratic, leader say nothing can move unless every one of these unrelated. Far-left, items. Tags. Along. These two individuals, are letting the wish list, of wealthy, coastal, elites stand between, every working family in america. And the additional, help. They deserve. So maybe in a few moments. The democratic, leader or somebody, on the other side will try again to explain, how, this is all, some. Big, political. Game. Well, kentuckians, know differently. They need results. All of our states, need results. And republicans, will fight. Until we actually get, an outcome. Order. The leadership, times reserved. And under the previous order the senate will be in a period of mourning business with senators permitted, to speak. For up to 10 minutes, each. Mr president. Senator from virginia. Mr president i rise today to speak about the latest, coronavirus.

Emergency, Aid package, but before i do. As a matter of personal, privilege, i want to offer, some comments and praise of a colleague. Just as we. Gather together, regardless, of party, to mourn. When a colleague, dies, or. Be together. With a colleague who's undergoing, a challenge. I think it's good to, gather together and acknowledge, when something positive, happens to a colleague regardless, of our political. Affiliation. And this is the first opportunity, on the senate floor to offer a word about senator kamala harris one of our colleagues. Who in a historic, move. Was asked by another. Former senate colleague vice president joe biden to join him. As his. Preferred, nominee, to be vice president united states. I've come to know senator harrison her four years in the senate as many of us have through her service on, especially, the judiciary. Committee, and, the intelligence, committee. Her public, service, track record, is a significant. One worthy, of praise, from, her work as a district attorney. First aligned, prosecutor, and then the elected district attorney, in san francisco, where she focused, on, trying to keep her community, safe to service, as, california's. Attorney general broadening, the portfolio. To include. Environmental. Justice, and consumer, protection. And now her work. In the senate. Since 2016.. What i find, so compelling. About senator, harris, in addition, to her track record of. Public service during a very long career. Is her personal, story. Raised, as the child of two immigrants, a jamaican. Father and an indian. Mother as so many, in this country, raised as, children of immigrants. Developing, a passion to serve in a patriotic. Love. Of country. She's the first, nominee. African-american. Woman nominee ever to be on a ticket. She's the first south asian. Person of south asian descent, ever to be on a ticket. And in the year 2020. When we are commemorating. The 100th, anniversary. Of the amendment that guaranteed. Women the right to vote i can think of no greater way to celebrate. A centennial. Than. For one of our colleagues, who is a woman to have a chance to break a glass ceiling. That still has. Existed, whereby. No woman in this country has ever been a vice president. Or president, we're we're so good at so much in this country. In fact we're so good at many things with regard to women in this country but we are sort of uniquely, bad. In electing, women to higher office in congress, right now 24, percent of congress is women and that ranks us, 76th. In the world. In terms of our percentage, of women in the national legislative, body we're tied with afghanistan. But we trail iraq, canada. Mexico, and many other nations. So regardless, of how it all works out between, now and november, and regardless, of our own political, affiliations. This is a good day i believe for the country and a good day. For the senate, when one of the 100, is, recognized. In such a way and introduced to the american public with an opportunity, to serve. At a significant, level. Returning, to the latest coronavirus. Emergency, aid, package.

Currently The package doesn't exist. There have been no. Bipartisan. Negotiations. On it since, last, friday. And that's disappointing. To all of us who are here ready and willing to negotiate. And vote. For a strong, bipartisan, relief package. The house of representatives. Passed, its strong, package. Back on may 15th. Now nearly. Three months ago. Today is august 12th. There was some hope that maybe coveted, cases were ticking downward. At the end of may there were some hope that maybe the economic, devastation. Was reducing. But coveted cases. Did not tick down over the summer. As some have hoped in fact they have ticked up in many parts of the country. And the senate. Has not taken, any votes on the house bill. Or indeed on any bill. That's disappointing. But more than that it's disappointing, for millions of americans, who are in the midst of hard, times. Right now. They're worried about their own health. Or the health of their loved ones they're worried about whether they'll receive unemployment, benefits, or, how they'll make rent, or the mortgage, or how their children will get an, education. We know in this body we can transcend, politics, as usual, to address corona. Virus because we did so in march. By passing the cares act even as members of this body including me. Were getting coronavirus. As we were having those negotiations. Even as staffers. Were getting it even as senate spouses, were getting it we, stayed to the table and we found a bipartisan. Bill that helped us deal with the challenge. For a few critical months but we're here debating, this again. Because the magnitude, of the crisis. Is not a, crisis, of a few months no it's such that the aid provided, thus far is running out, while americans, hardships, continue. And that's why it's essential, that we not give up and we stay here as long as it takes. To come through. For the american, people. I've heard some in congress indeed some in this body. Say about more federal, aid for coronavirus. Response, i just don't see the need for it. Indeed the majority, leader has candidly, acknowledged. That approximately. 20, members, of the republican. Caucus, will not vote for more aid. Well i want to make the case first. That there is need for it. Uh, and the need is undeniable. Because, the circumstances. That people are living in. Are dire, last friday we found out that the, unemployment, rate in july was 10.2. Percent. Which is a number that is higher than at any point during the. 2008-2009. Recession. The president, called this great jobs numbers but i don't see anything great. About, one in 10, americans. Who are in the workforce. Not being able to find work. More than 30 million americans, are collecting, unemployment, benefits, and last week their benefit, checks. Were cut by more than 50 percent. In virginia, just as an example unemployed, workers, are now receiving. A maximum. A maximum, of 378. Dollars. A week. That's not enough to pay. Rent. Let alone, rent, groceries. Child care electric, bills and many other costs that families, face. Every day. Because they lost their jobs and other. Income, millions, of americans, are now at risk. Of eviction. Or foreclosure, the six hundred dollar. Federal unemployment, benefit. And federal, eviction, moratorium. We're holding this off for many but, with those relief, measures, expiring. Families are unable to continue, paying their august or september, bills. One estimate, is that. 12 million evictions. Will be filed by october, 12 million is, is essentially, the combined, population. Of about six or seven states there, could be that many evictions. Filed. By october, just in virginia. There was a state-imposed. Eviction moratorium, that lapsed, for five weeks and just in those five weeks. Nearly, 10. 000. Evictions. Were filed. Potentially. Forcing, people. Out of their homes. Three in ten virginia, renters surveyed a couple of weeks ago said, they were uncertain, how they could pay august rent. And it was more than half, of all african-american. Renters surveyed, said that was the case. Housing instability, is difficult, at any point in time but imagine. Losing your housing during a pandemic. What are people supposed to do during a pandemic. The advice is if you can stay home don't go out don't be with others, that will help keep you and your family safe but how can you quarantine, at home. If you are in danger, of losing your home. Like the senator. The majority, leader who quoted from. Constituents. In kentucky, i'm hearing from virginia, constituents. Every day, from allison, and henrico, i've now exhausted, my savings account. I have rent due groceries, to buy and bills to pay, i am now desperate, for immediate, help. From recent mechanicsville, i have three children. One with significant, special needs. My wife can't work now due to cove 19, and, school closures.

I'm Behind on numerous, bills including mortgage, utility, and other bills. From dominique, in fairfax, my rent is now three months behind, as well as my. Other bills, and i'm receiving, letters, threatening. Evictions. And services. Being turned off. Unfortunately, these examples, are now not aberrations. But they're. Common, we all know people. We all know people. Who are at risk. Of losing their home or being hungry or losing health care. Or their savings. Being depleted, because of the absence of work so we have to make sure. That people are not removed from their homes in the middle of a health crisis we need to make sure that they can continue, to pay bills, until the health crisis, is sufficiently, addressed. And the economy, gets back to where it was. Schools and colleges, across the country are trying to reopen. Right, now. Doesn't matter if it's in person, online or a hybrid model we we want them to reopen, safely. Right now and this is the time to provide schools with the resources, they need to deliver, quality instruction. Not punish them for following. Public health guidance and data. Working families, are struggling to find child care options this is critical to reopening, the economy. And child care providers, themselves, are struggling. Virginia. And the nation, according, to national, surveys, is at risk of losing, 45. Percent. Of its licensed, child care capacity, that's 130. 000. Child care slots, in virginia. Without the additional, support, they would need. To help them stay viable, and if we lose child care capacity. That will have a significant. Consequence. In terms of the ability of people to go back to work, so that the economy, can start to grow again. On the nutrition. Front we're facing an unprecedented. Ride in food rise in food insecurity. As thousands of virginians, and millions of americans, have newly. Enrolled in the snap program the brookings, institute, estimates. That nearly 14, million children, are living in food. Insecure. Households, 14, million children, that's nearly, six times. The number of children who were food insecure, just as recently as 2018. And nearly, three times, as many who were food insecure, during the peak. Of the great recession, of 2008. And 2009. I bet all of my colleagues, have experienced, this because we're all out in our states talking to folks food banks have been slammed. With demand, that they've never witnessed, before, and it's been harder for food banks to get. Grocery. Access, because grocery, store shelves have also been ravaged as people are going to grocery stores. While restaurants, are closed. So what do food banks do increasing, demand and then fewer donations, from grocery, stores, capital area food bank. Purchased 100, semi-truckloads. Of food in april which was triple. What the food bank purchased, in all of 2019, just in one month. They tripled their entire, purchases, compared to 2019. And the blue ridge area food bank which serves the western, part of my commonwealth. Saw the number of new, families, sinking, food, assistance. Quadruple. From last year. Just as of may. So americans are an entire state, their basic needs are at stake we democrats, want to address that hardship. We did address that hardship and the heroes, act which was passed in mid-may. We want to keep people from losing their jobs being evicted, and going hungry. Now i know that, there are many republicans, who share these same goals but the proposals, that have been on the table in this body are simply. Inadequate, there are areas that we agree on. Aid to small business is important. Broadband, is important because as people tell a commuter get telehealth, or get. Educational. Content, online they have to have access to broadband. Testing is important. Child care is important to open the economy these are important. Priorities, i believe we can come together on. But the republican. Plan that the senate gop, introduced, in this. Body. Which. The majority, leader again acknowledges, that at least 20 members of the, caucus, will not support. Has large cuts to unemployment, aid. No state and local government aid to prevent layoffs. To first responders. And vital programs, and services the majority, leader. Characterized, state and local government government aid as a slush fund. I was a mayor. I was a governor. I know what's happening to state and local budgets, and when the revenues, to state and local governments, decline. There's about one place they can go and the one place they can go is.

Furloughs, Waivers, salary cuts cutting personnel. The overwhelming, majority, of the first responders, in this country work for state and local governments, it's, never a good time to cut police, fire emt. Ambulance. Health care workers never a good time but the worst time to do it is in the midst of a global. Health pandemic, it's not a slush fund it's a necessity. That the communities, where people live and work have basic, services. To get through this challenge. The republican, proposal, had inadequate. Education. Aid, no aid for. The eviction. Tsunami, that's facing, us to provide, rent or mortgage, assistance. No nutrition, aid in the snap program, or, otherwise, to help these 14. Million kids who today. Are living in food insecure, households. The republican, proposal, did include a, comprehensive. Liability, shield to prevent anyone from suing. If theirs employer's, negligence, causes. A virus, outbreak. I thought it was interesting, that. So often. On the other side of the aisle in this body when the. This, prospective, bill has been talked about that's been at the front of the line. As if. The worry about lawsuits, is the biggest concern the american people have right now. No one in virginia. When they tell me about their concerns, is putting, worries about lawsuits, up at the top of the list they're talking about food. And hunger. And health care. And housing. The the liability, shield proposal, in the gop. Goes even further than, protecting, against liability, it wipes out states abilities. To pass safety regulations. Virginia, became the first state in the country. To do an emergency. Temporary, standard. To provide, guidance, to public places and employers, about safety standards, that you that they could use on the job, it's good to get advice about safety standards because most businesses. Don't have an nih, or a cdc, or a health department, so, advice, about standards, that should be followed in workplaces.

Is A great idea, virginia, became the first state in the country to do that. The republican, liability, pro. Shield would not only, give people liability, protection, but it would, take away the ability, of the states to do what virginia, did. To try to. Create, life-saving. Protections. For workers, and customers, that's unacceptable. Unacceptable. Democrats. Offered to meet halfway. We we knew when the heroes act passed i mean we're. We've been around the block a few times it wasn't as if, the senate republicans were just going to say that's a great idea we'll just vote for it that's not the way things work. The senate republicans, would have their proposal, just as the house democrats, had their proposal, the two proposals, had, dramatically. Different, price tags the senate. Proposal. Together with the white house came in the, neighborhood of a trillion dollars and the house proposal, came. In the neighborhood, of three trillion dollars. So the democrats, said and there's nothing magic about these numbers but it is important to understand. That willingness, to compromise. Is something that. Americans, expect, of us right now democrats, said okay you have a package that's worth a trillion. We have a package that's worth. Three trillion. Let's split the difference we'll have to decide how to compose the two trillion dollar package but, let's split the difference and the white house refused. The white house. Got an offer to meet halfway, and said that's not what we're going to do. We insist, on the skinny version, the skinny, version. Is inadequate. To meet the challenge of the moment this is the worst economic, contraction. In the, 145. Years where we have measured quarterly, economic growth in this country. And this is the worst pandemic, that the united states has dealt with since the spanish flu. Of, 1917. 1918. A narrow bill isn't enough. If you don't like. The democratic, bill because you think the price tag is too big how about meeting us halfway. That's the way negotiations. So often happen. After the white house rejected, the notion of meeting halfway, the president. Issued, executive. Orders. That he claims break through the log jam. Like many things the president, does though. Analysis. Of the executive, orders demonstrates, there's a little substance, there, the president, proposed, to defer, payroll tax collections. That doesn't, actually give americans, more money. It just gives them a larger, tax bill next year. Because it's a deferral, but the president cannot, lift the obligation. Off either the employers, or the employees. It's also very confusing, to employers. To suggest, okay you should defer but it's likely to start back up again. That is very very hard for employers especially, small employers to figure it out. And we all know that the payroll, tax, is the, main pillar of social security. As every generation, pays into the system while they're working. So that they can enjoy, retirement, with dignity. In their senior years. President, trump has said this isn't just a deferral, that if he has his way. And is reelected, he's going to permanently, cancel the tax. That would undermine. Retirement. Security. For all future generations. The executive, order with respect to housing. Did, actually. Nothing, it just ordered, agencies.

To Look into, delaying, evictions, and foreclosures. But no assistance, no dollars, for those facing eviction. Or for those facing, foreclosures. Look into, can you delay them. Governors, are already saying that the, executive, order dealing with unemployment, aid is unworkable. It would be, very difficult, for them to reconfigure. Their ui, systems. To do what the president, has asked them to do and, ask them to help pay for in the executive, order, even if states could figure out how to. Launch, a completely, new system, the benefits would run out in five weeks. On the surface. The executive, order with respect to, student loan relief. Looks like an automatic, extension, of the cares act but if you dig into it that's not what it is. The order leaves out 8 million, federal student loan borrowers. And it doesn't even mention. Whether borrowers. Credit, ratings, and credit scores will be protected. If they. Take advantage, of what's offered them under the eo. And what about the millions of students. Who are struggling, to financially, find a way to go back to college or the, schools that are trying to find a way, to still make sure students get an education. When they reopen. Or the working, families, that are struggling to find child care. School boards and superintendents. Around the country. Have come with a proposal, saying to open schools safely. Would cost about 175. Billion dollars and that's what, democrats, have put on the table. That, is not addressed. At all in the executive, orders, even as we stand at the threshold, of school reopening. In. In some the, president's, executive, orders address virtually, none of the hardships. Solve virtually, none of the hardships. Lift virtually, none of the burden. That americans, are suffering, through right now. So we're having hard times. We're having hard times. And it's our duty to try to. Address that hardship, democrats, are willing to compromise, when, when we say hey we got a plan but we'll meet you halfway to your plan and the white house says no. You know what are we supposed to do. What are we supposed to do. A skinny version isn't sufficient for the magnitude, of the crisis. The senate republican, proposal. Has some elements, that we support. But at least so many others unaddressed, that it's not adequate. The republican, white house. Has rejected, compromise, and president, trump's executive, orders are partly illegal. Partly unworkable. And completely. Insufficient. It doesn't have to be this way. Because there are many areas on which we can find agreement, and i know many in this body. Are hearing from, their home states, and governors, and mayors, and local governments, and colleges, and universities, and school boards and, housing, authorities, and food banks and hospitals, and the chambers of commerce, you're hearing the same thing that i'm hearing from virginians. So as i conclude, mr president, it doesn't have to be this way we can put together a good bipartisan, deal.

But It can't be a white house my way or the highway it has to be a willingness to meet and find compromise, between a democratic, proposal. And a proposal. That is acceptable, to at least some on the gop, side in the white house. Any large compromise, in divided government, is bound to be imperfect, but i am reminded. Of a quote from fdr, during the depression, years. You know you've never really had to use quotes from the depression. Because the magnitude, of the depression. Was different, than what i've experienced, during most of my life but, now quotes from the depression. I think, bear some revisiting. And here's what fdr, said. As. As the administration. And congress at the time were doing everything they could to figure out a way to help out needy americans. Better the occasional, faults of a government. That lives in a spirit of charity. Than the consistent. Omissions. Of a government. Frozen. In the ice, of its own, indifference. By now everybody, knows, somebody, who's, gotten coveted 19. Or. Somebody who's gotten. Sick. Or even died or somebody who's lost a job or somebody who's worried about rent or food. We all know. Those people and many of us have experienced this on our own families. Are we going to help. Or are we going to be frozen. In the ice. Of our own indifference. Let's surprise the cynics. Let's work together and get this done. And with that mr president, i yield the. Floor. Mr president, the senator from nevada. Thank you mr president, as i sit and listen to my esteemed, colleague. From, virginia. I can't agree more now now's the time. Really for us to come together. To do what the senate, traditionally, does best and that is working on the best interests, of the people. Across this country who are struggling, right now compromise. It is not a bad word. It is time for us to get in a room. And really. Do the job, that the american public, expects, us to do and that is looking, out for their best interests. At a time. When we have. A health care pandemic, now keep in mind this is a once, in a lifetime, pandemic, once in a lifetime. So that requires, us to come together. And really. Focus, on how we help americans, across this country, who are struggling, right now they shouldn't be penalized. We've asked them, to stay home, and shelter in place because we are, trying to address. How we, how we do the research that's necessary, for a vaccine. Hopefully one day we have that vaccine. How we, ramp up the testing, that is needed so everybody, can feel safe and and comfortable, knowing whether they have. This virus, or not or the antibody, but we're not there yet because more work needs to be done particularly. By this congress. But the american public, has hurt us. And they are they're sheltering, in place they're staying, home, they've shuttered their businesses. And now more than ever this country. Needs the senate, to act the house has done its job. Two months ago. They. Worked a comprehensive. Package, and, and i say comprehensive. Because. We can't just pick and choose winners and losers, here this isn't what this is about. This is about making sure we're bringing, relief, and helping. Those, across this country and everybody, is impacted. Because we've promised them if you do what we say, and we help stem the spread of this virus. We're gonna we're gonna have your backs. We're gonna take care of you. But i will say that we have failed at that. This administration. Has failed we have failed. At that promise. And i know when we all. Go to our offices, or we go home to our states, we are hearing from our constituents, we get emails, we get calls we get letters. I know you all feel the same as i do. And we read them and we listen to them. And i don't know of one state, in this country right now that somebody's not suffering from this pandemic. That needs our help. And i know that's why i'm here. Because we have all. Took the oath we said, we're going to be here working on the best interests of our states in this country. To make sure that. Those. Individuals. Across this country who pay, our salaries, those taxpayers. Expect us to do our jobs, and work. And that's what i'm asking for right now. You know i've been to the floor of the senate this week to talk about, the struggles, that i see in in my state we all get letters and and i do want to focus, today, on on one and there's so many and that's why a comprehensive. Package is necessary. But right now i i would love to talk to you about, what i am seeing mr president. In my home state. When it comes to. Our seniors. And, those who are, in need right now of funding, to help nursing homes and, and let me just start with with letters because i think this is how it starts with all of us calls into our office letters. Coming from our constituents. And this, there's two calls that i received. And one of them. Was from a daughter who called in for her father. Who is in a va, nursing, home in boulder city, nevada.

And Because, he, isn't showing, symptoms, he isn't getting tested. With so many cases, there how is this possible, where are the tests. This is a daughter who's concerned. For her father. Knowing, that if we just get people tested, there is that comfort, in knowing whether or not, you have this virus and whether you should be quarantined, or how we protect, you, particularly, those in nursing homes, and then another call i've received is a mother, she's also a certified, nursing assistant. At a nursing home, and she is telling me that. Many there quit, because, they don't have, the proper ppe. They want to work. But they don't want to expose, themselves. So so what, what are we doing. Right now, to address all of these needs and listen there's, so much, it's overwhelming. I know it. But that's why we were sent here. For the hard decisions not the easy ones. To make sure we're all working. For the best interests of the people in our states and i know you all feel the same way. But i i i, have to tell you this there are thousands. Of nevadans, that know the anxiety, that comes because. There's a spouse, a parent or a grandparent, in a nursing home, unable, to. Visit with or hug their loved ones for fear of giving, covet 19. You have seen it, you have heard it i have heard it. Too many loved ones have lost. Their loved ones. Because, of this virus and they were not, able to be there you know who was there with them in the nursing home. Those incredible, heroes on the front lines who are sacrificing. Their own health to be with them. For those who pass away because of covet 19.. There are so many, factors. That raise the coronavirus. Risk for nursing home residents. The majority. Of residents we all know are seniors. Many, have underlying, conditions, they live in close quarters. And they share common spaces. And we also know this residents, and staff of these facilities, shouldn't, be an afterthought. They are a core part, of our communities, and our health care system. They are our elders, and they are the keepers, of our stories. We have to do more to protect. Them. And we need to protect the workers, in these homes too. Many of whom belong to, communities. Of color, and who are struggling to provide care to a population. With unique needs. And the reason why i bring this up is because, there is legislation. Out there to do, just what i'm talking about and what we need in our communities. It's not something new it's already been introduced. My colleague bob casey. Introduced, the nursing home covid 19 protection, prevention, act. To get nursing, and lawn care, facilities. In nevada and across this country more ppe. The testing that they need. And the staffing, and to help the staff. And those that are in those communities. These homes need support to slow the spread of the virus. And to respond, rapidly, when it does crop up, using, all we've learned from, combating, this virus so far. The bill funds, teams of nurses. And other critical staff to lend emergency, help at nursing homes, with outbreaks. And to bring the best practices, to bear in helping, sick residents. This bill ensures, folks in my home state and across the country are being taken care of. That families. Have peace of mind, that there is accountability. For providers. And protections, in place for workers. I'm hearing from family members and loved ones of those in nursing homes in my state, i'm hearing from caregivers. And health care workers i know all of you are as well. And one thing that comes from all these people is a feeling. Of being. Forgotten. No one, no one mr president america should feel forgotten, right now. It's time for us to come together. We need to make sure nursing homes. Follow guidelines. And that if they fail to do so they will be held accountable. But we also must arm them, with the tools they need to face a virus, that's been relentless, in attacking, seniors. We should make sure, that the next corona, virus, package. That we should be, negotiating. And working on right now. Does everything, it can to support. The most fragile, in our communities. Because they are, also, some of our most precious. Thank you mr president i yield the. Floor. Mr president. The senior senator from missouri. Mr president i think the president, that the president united states has done. The things he can do within his authority, to try to address. The issues, before us but the truth is his authority.

Just Doesn't go far enough now. I have. Frequently. Questioned, the president's, view of how broad the presidential, authority. Is. But in these actions he took in the last few days i've looked at them carefully, i think. He had the authority, to do what he did but he'd probably be the first to admit. That the authority, he has, doesn't solve, the problem, the way, it needs to be solved. It's time that the congress, stepped up and did its job you know in this debate with the president there's the, article. One, view of the government, that there's a reason. That the legislative. Branch is article one there's a reason, it's our job. To pass laws there's a reason, that it's a president's, job. To execute, those laws. Occasionally, the president has to act quicker, on some emergency. Basis, than the congress. And within, the. Fairly narrow. Ability, he has to act on this issue. He's tried his best to step up where the congress. Has failed, to step up my good friend for virginia, just said. Well the. House bill's three. Trillion, dollars, and the. Senate bill's a trillion dollars, we should, figure out how to compromise. It, two trillion, dollars. Now copper i believe in compromise, i think it's the essence of democracy. But compromise. Actually has to be based on some principle. Of the issue you're dealing with, you know if the house bill had been, five trillion, dollars i guess the logic would be that we'd compromise, it, three trillion dollars, if they'd have known that their bill would have probably been. Five, trillion, dollars, when the bill was passed, it was, described, by more than one reporter. As a democrat. Wish, list. Or the ultimate. Campaign. Platform. Having, everything, in it, it was described, by a whole lot more than one reporter. That about a third of their bill has nothing to do with covid. And another third of their bill, is about the big question, of what we can do to help. State and local, government. Now let's take let's put that issue aside, for a minute it's an issue that, clearly. The house feels strongly, about, clearly, there are challenges. To, governments, particularly, at the local level, i think and that has to be dealt with. In some way maybe not at the. 871. Billion, dollar, level or whatever they've suggested, but that's a different. Issue that i, will first of all concede. Is very much, part of the discussion. And should be. But if you take the third of the bill out that has nothing to do with kovid. Let's get that off the table, i mean. We could have a debate about whether people who are. In, the. Legal marijuana, trade, should get access, to banking, or not. But i think you've got to work really hard to make that a covet, issue. We could have a debate about whether the federal government. Should require, every state in the country, to allow ballot, harvesting. Or not. But i think that's. Very hard to make, a covid, 19, issue. A third of the bill, according, to many people who analyzed, the bill when it came out, has nothing to do with covet. So let's. Set aside the other third of the bill that deals with state and local, government us giving. State and local government we don't have to replace, money, they don't have. And i'm not going to say that some element of that won't be in a final. Bill. But let's talk about the things we all need to know need to be in the first bill. Which in the house bill. Were about. One trillion, dollars. Now how do you compromise. With the house, when. You agree with them on a number so they change the number. Back to school, a critical part of what would be happening, right now. And by the way back to school money that schools get in december, will not be nearly as helpful. As back to school money that schools get in august. They need the money now we need to see back to school whether it's distance, learning. Which takes, some, assets. And planning that. Districts. Need to do more on or expenses, for probably more bus bus. More expensive. Expenses. For, classrooms. But they need that money now. So the house in their bill for elementary, and secondary, in higher education. The heroes, act. Put. 100. Billion, dollars. We looked at that carefully i chair the committee that does that appropriating. We. I think know as much in our committee as anybody in the senate. About. Some of the needs that are out there. We thought the number was 105. Billion dollars. As soon as our bill came out the house decided, no we really need 400. Billion dollars. How do you meet somebody, in the middle, when they keep changing, where the middle is. When the heroes, act. What. Members. On the other side of the aisle have repeatedly, said we should pass and pass immediately. Had a hundred billion dollars we had 105. Billion dollars. You would think that would have been, good enough. Might have argued some about the language.

But There's not much difference, on the language the argument, is about. Republicans. Never spend enough according to the democrats. And the democrats. Seem to have no limit in what they're willing to spend according to us. In child care. A critical, need for people to get both back to school and back to work. And the child care system is in. Intensely. Stressed. As part of what's going on people who. Lose their jobs and take their children out of child care. People who would prefer. After they've, figured out how to do this a different way not to put their kids back in child care for a little while. I haven't talked to anybody. Who thinks that, the child care system will have more than 50, percent. Of the kids willing to come back that were there before. So how do you how do you still make, child care work do you. Double the child care cost, to, make up for the fact that 50 percent of the kids aren't there. Of course not that doesn't work at all. So the house put, in the heroes, act seven and a half. Billion, dollars, for child care. We put, 15. Billion, dollars for child care. And then the house decides well no we really need 40 or 50. Billion, dollars, for child care. Pretty hard to compromise. In the middle. If the middle, was somewhere between, 15, i think hopefully our number would have prevailed. 15 and seven and a half and then suddenly. The middle is somewhere between 50, and 15.. Let's be serious, here let's get, this job done let's get kids back to school. Let's get people back to work. Let's get people back to child care. Let's do what we can to restore, the health care system that's been incredibly. Stressed. During this and let's quit, acting, like. There's this vast, disagreement. When, the disagreement. Is way more apparent, than real. If you look at the third, of the bill, that dealt, with covid, 19, that the house passed. We are very close we're a little ahead of them on testing. Testing, absolutely, essential, in my view to get kids back to school to get people. Back to work to. Until we get well into the vaccine. Period, of. Of having a vaccine, and getting that vaccine, to people. Testing, going to continue, to be. Critical. We have money for vaccines. And vaccine, distribution. That i think exceeds, the house bill money but we can, talk about. What is really not a very big difference. In a trillion. Dollar bill or something, a little more than that. We've said in our bill that on testing. On, vaccines. On other things. We're going to set some priorities, for testing, we said the federal government, priority, to be sure. That everybody. Gets that, test, in whatever, way they can get it as quick as they can get it we said nursing homes. Child care centers. Elementary, and secondary, education. Colleges, and universities. Would be, federal, priorities. Employers, are going to have to help with some of the. Workplace, priorities. But we think those are the right. Federal priorities, and we, put it in our bill. Back to work you have to have, child care again to get back to work.

A Second round of ppp. Which. Again the senator from virginia, agreed that this is something. We need to do. Health care provider, assistance, we ask our health care providers. To do. The two hardest things you could possibly do at the same time. One was stop all of the income you can possibly, stop stop the so-called, elective. Surgeries. And by the way some elective, surgeries get less elective, the longer you wait until you have them. And we're, seeing some. Results, of that right now but, i think there was some logic to stop. Putting people, into the hospital, if you don't have to. Or having them in, the surges, center if we don't you don't have to. Until we know what's happening, here, and. Not only stop the income, but stand ready for the worst epidemic. Your community may have ever. Had to deal with or may ever have to deal with at any time in the future, so, maintain, your full readiness. Stop your income. We need to come back now for the third time. And provide, money, for providers. And again. Money, now, is much more valuable. Than money. 90 days from now. Telemedicine. Finally have, woken up. To what the federal government should have been doing, for a decade. And embrace, telemedicine. As, part of normal, office, visits that don't have to happen in the office. As part of behavioral. Health. Uh, and um. You know our bill says. That. The. Cms. The that. Determines, how medicare, money is spent. Can't go back, on, what they've allowed, in the last few months. Ever. And on some of the things they've allowed, they can't go back. For a significant, period of time to see how this works. Broadband. We could deal with this we're going to have telemedicine. And tele-behavioral. Health that kind of medicine, as well as other kinds. Of health medicine. You need to have access to broadband. If kids who are learning remotely. Have the same. Opportunity, that other kids who are. Learning remotely you need to have access to broadband. And you need it as soon as you can get it whether that's, assistance, to get hooked up. Which is a little easier. Than just access. And we've been working hard in this senate. And in our state legislature, in my state. To get the missourians. That don't have. Access. To high-speed, broadband. To get that. Access. So. There are, areas. Here, that are the areas we need to be dealing, with, most of them, we really. You have to, really work hard. To pretend there's a disagreement. Sure you can decide that, your education, category, was really. Only 25. Of what you really needed. But but i think our house friends, know that's not right and we know that's not right. Uh this probably not the last bill we'll pass, if it turns out we're. Incorrect. On our 100, billion, or 105. Billion. But 100, billion, right now. To schools, getting trying to get started, is worth more than 200, billion will be in may. Let's give people the help they need, when they need it. Let's quit arguing about, whether the president. Has inadequate. Tools, to do what everybody. Knows need to be done because. Certainly that's true. That should be true, the, under the constitution. The congress, has to do, its job. And compromise. Is more than some, middle number. Between, an outrageous. Number. And a number that may turn out to be not quite big enough. Let's get serious. Let's get back to work. Let's do our job, let's get back to school in the country, back to work in the country back to child care in the country.

And Do those things we need to do. To restore both the health care system, and more importantly. The health of every, american, we can possibly, help. With that. Mr president i'd yield the, floor. And, note the absence of a quorum. The clerk will call the roll. Mr. Alexander. You.

2020-08-16 08:19

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