Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks After Republicans Blocked Bipartisan COVID Relief Bill

April 5, 2022

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor after Republican senators blocked a bipartisan COVID relief bill. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

I want there to be no mistake about what just happened here on the Senate floor. Republicans blocked a bipartisan bill that would provide vaccines, testing and therapeutics for the American people.

Yesterday, a group of Democrats and Republicans announced we had reached a bipartisan agreement for COVID Relief funding, but today a majority of Senate Republicans have blocked this critical and much needed funding from going forward.

Vaccines, therapeutics, and testing were negotiated in good faith, and they should not— they should not—be held hostage to extraneous, unrelated issues. This is too important for the health of the American people. But that seems precisely what some Republicans what to do.

This is a potentially devastating vote for every single American who is worried about the possibility of a new variant rearing its nasty head within a few months.

It is devastating for any American who in the future looks for a vaccine or a booster shot, only to be told supplies have run out.

It is devastating for anyone looking down the line to get tested because they feel sick or want their families safe, and discover no tests are available.

It is devastating for anyone who, God forbid, falls seriously ill, but can’t access lifesaving therapeutics because the federal government can’t purchase new supplies because of the vote our colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle just took.

Too many Republicans seem to want to play politics at a time when we need to work together to pass legislation our country desperately needs. 

Republicans voted no on vaccines for kids.

Republicans voted no on tests for new COVID variants.

Republicans voted no on therapies to save lives and make us less sick.

Have Republicans learned nothing from the last two years of living with this horrible disease?

Have Republicans learned nothing about how lack of preparation could damage our economy?

This money, the money that they rejected today, will go a long way to keeping our schools, our businesses, our churches, our communities running as normally as possible. If we want to stay at normal, we need these dollars. Without these dollars, the risk of schools closing, of businesses closing, of public transportation closing, is too large.

Should a future variant rear its nasty head, Americans will know who voted against more funding. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

This was a $10 billion agreement that was fully paid for. If there is another surge it costs us 10 times that if we are behind the curve again.

I hope Republicans will get serious about this. It should not be so difficult for them to do something so good and important for our country.

There’s still some time. I hope my Republican colleagues change their tune quickly.