Schumer Floor Remarks Calling On Senator McConnell To Come To The Table To Negotiate Real COVID Relief Legislation That Meets The Needs Of The American People

November 10, 2020

Washington, D.C. — Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor about the need for a comprehensive coronavirus relief bill that meets the needs of the American people.  Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

On January 20th, the Biden-Harris Administration will begin its work with a mandate secured by the largest number of votes ever received by a presidential ticket in American history. Its task, of course, will be daunting. The darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic are unfortunately ahead of us. More than 100,000 Americans are being diagnosed with COVID a day. More than 1,000 Americans are dying.

Soon, thankfully, we will have an administration that actually acknowledges this health care crisis. An administration that takes its job seriously, that will listen to the counsel of scientists and doctors, and work to improve the lives of all Americans, regardless of who they voted for.

Already, the incoming administration is preparing to hit the ground running. Yesterday, the President-elect announced his COVID-19 task force, a group of the nation’s top public health experts and scientists who will advise the incoming administration on policy. Today, Senate Democrats will receive a briefing from one of President-elect Biden’s scientific advisors, former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. I expect it will be the first of many conversations about how the Senate and the incoming administration can work together to get COVID-19 under control and on the retreat.

Because the truth is the executive and legislative branches are going to have to work together in the coming months to crush this virus and put our economy back on the right track.

Nearly 15 million Americans have now lost their jobs, and by extension many of them have lost their health care coverage.

Medicaid enrollment has spiked across much of the country, adding new stress to state programs already beleaguered by the demands of COVID-19. Democrats have a plan, through the Heroes Act, to strengthen and secure Medicaid for the duration of the crisis.

Congress should pursue a strong, comprehensive COVID-relief bill that actually meets the needs of the American people.

Yesterday, however, the Republican leader suggested the Republican majority will continue to pursue its policy of “targeted” relief—in other words, inadequate relief. He seems to suggest that the development of a possible vaccine was actually a reason to pare back on aid to the American people.

Let’s be very clear – getting this country vaccinated will be a massive undertaking, and while I share in the hope that yesterday’s news brings, we cannot pretend this pandemic is nearly over. Regardless of this news, it is likely that the coming winter months will be the worst yet. The nation is suffering from uncontrolled spread of the virus now, with hospitalizations and fatalities on the rise all across the country. Hospitals and health care providers are again overwhelmed. Temporary morgues are once again sadly being pressed into service.

We all look forward to the day when vaccination is widely available, but we do not have the luxury of waiting to grapple with the current effects of this crisis until then. We have to act now to prevent the immediate crisis that is coming this winter. So while the incoming administration prepares to take on a resurgent COVID-19, Congress must as well.

Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans must come to the table in good faith and work with us on a bipartisan bill that meets the needs of all our country. The House, of course, is Democratic, the Senate needs a bipartisan bill to pass something. We have to work in a bipartisan way, and we owe it to the American people.