Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Last Night’s Bipartisan Vote To Move Forward On Infrastructure Legislation And The Need To Pass The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill And The Budget Resolution Before The End Of The Work PeriodJuly 29, 2021
Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding last night’s vote to begin debate on the bipartisan infrastructure legislation. Senator Schumer also reiterated his intention to pass both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget resolution during this work period and discussed the progress made under the Biden administration as demonstrated by today’s GDP report. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Last night, the Senate voted by a substantial margin to move forward with a debate on a bipartisan infrastructure bill.
I want to commend the group of Senators who worked with President Biden to reach a deal. The agreement will ultimately dedicate over a trillion dollars to strengthening virtually every major category of our country’s physical infrastructure.
The vote last night also means that the Senate is on track to reach the two-track goal I laid out for this chamber at the beginning of the month.
The first track is the bipartisan bill focused on traditional, brick-and-mortar infrastructure projects. The second track is a budget reconciliation bill where Democrats will make historic investments in American jobs, American families, and efforts to fight climate change.
In order to start work on a reconciliation bill, the Senate must pass a budget resolution first, and we are on track for that as well.
It has been my goal to pass both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget resolution during this work period.
Some pundits have called that a tall order. I understand that.
But because of the vote last night, the Senate is now moving forward with the bipartisan infrastructure bill and we are on track to pass both elements of the “two-track” strategy before we adjourn for August recess.
It took some prodding and a few deadlines, but it has all worked out for the better.
I want to take a step back and explain why these two bills are so important at this moment.
For the two years at the end of the Trump presidency, the country was angry, divided, plagued by COVID, and our economy was stuck in the muck. The COVID pandemic washed over our country like a plague and was met by staggering incompetence from the Trump administration.
America was sick, dying, and our economy was in shambles.
The discovery of the vaccine played no small part in our country’s recovery, and we Democrats pushed early on – last February and March, not this past one, but a year ago – to increase funding for BARDA when even then the Trump Administration was sort of stingy about that money.
But we got the money done and, as I said, the vaccine played no small part in our country’s recovery.
But elections have consequences. I say that to the American people: elections have consequences.
When we ran as Senate Democrats, when President Biden ran, he promised we would get the vaccines out, we would get the country’s economy moving again, we would give hope to the middle class and those struggling to get to the middle class, where hope has been a distant and hazy frame on their horizon previously.
The Biden Administration came in, we came in as a Senate Majority, and we immediately set to work beating the pandemic, with a relentless focus on getting the country vaccinated and getting our economy back to normal.
Democrats swiftly passed the bold, strong American Rescue Plan, one of the
largest federal packages in American history, to keep families, businesses,
And we’ve done that. Six months into the Biden Administration and Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, the country has stabilized.
And this morning, it was reported that, in the second quarter, the U.S. economy grew at a rate of 6.5%, erasing all of the losses from the COVID pandemic. It happened a lot quicker and a lot sooner than many anticipated.
And let me repeat that, because it is great news: under President Biden and Democratic House and Senate majorities, the economy recovered so fast this year, that we’ve already erased the losses in growth that we experienced as a result of the COVID pandemic.
That’s very good news. It certainly doesn’t mean every family is back on their feet yet. It certainly doesn’t mean our work is complete.
But the American economy is back, it’s thriving, and set for even brighter days ahead. And again, elections have consequences. Such a difference between the bumbling, nasty, divisiveness last two years of the Trump Administration, and a new Democratic majority in the House and Senate and Democratic President.
Vaccines are out there, as we promised to get them. There’s still some people who are resisting taking a vaccine. They should. We’re getting some resistance even from ideological right-wingers, which is just awful.
But vaccines are out there. Money has been pumped into the economy through the ARP, and things are moving forward.
But now is not the time to rest on our laurels. Now is the time to press forward to cement these gains and build on them. We must continue encouraging vaccinations. We must keep a very close eye on the Delta variant and take necessary precautions.
But we also must address the underlying, structural economic conditions that held back the middle class and those trying to get there even before the pandemic.
The American Dream—that if you work hard you’ll be doing better ten years from now than you’re doing today, and your kids will be doing still better than you—is fading for the last 20 years. If you look at the economic statistics, they show that the dimmer view that the American people had was accurate, in terms of economic circumstances.
But now, we need to get it bright and sunny again. We need to return to the bright, sunny American optimism that has been so much a part of our character for the past two centuries.
And how do we do it? We don’t just sit on our hands. We don’t just say “let businesses take care of it.” They won’t. They have a different mission.
A massive investment in public infrastructure will create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs – that’s just what the doctor ordered.
We need to go beyond that, to restore that bright, sunny optimism.
We need to help American families keep up with the exorbitant cost of child care, health care, housing, college and more.
We need to press on and fight to reverse climate change, because as bad as COVID was, if we do nothing about climate change, a few years from now each year will be worse than COVID, and each year after that will get worse and worse and worse.
And if we do nothing, then people several years from now, even people now, will say “why didn’t we do more?”
The Democrats want to do more on climate. We must.
The numbers show that the American economy has gotten back to where it was prior to COVID. Now is the time to go further, and build back even better than before.
And we Democrats, when we can in a bipartisan way, but on our own when our Republican colleagues are adamantly against us, we will move forward on both tracks. Both tracks.
And I’m proud of my Democratic caucus, every one of them, for voting yesterday for this bill and all pledging to go forward on the second track as well.