Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks Urging Americans To Get Vaccinated, Promoting Critical Investments Made By The American Rescue Plan And Laying Out The Need To Build On That Success By Passing Comprehensive Jobs And Infrastructure LegislationApril 19, 2021
Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor, applauding the Biden administration for the impressive roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines, encouraging all Americans to do their part and get the vaccine, trumpeting the role of the American Rescue Plan in improving the lives of the American people during the pandemic, and laying out the importance of building on that success by passing big, bold jobs and infrastructure legislation. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks which can also be viewed here:
For the last year, the country has faced a daunting series of crises. After such a difficult year, it’s important to take stock of how the country is finally, finally, starting to recover.
Over a month ago, Senate Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan—supercharging our nation’s vaccination drive and putting thousands of dollars into the pockets of Americans who needed it most. Already, the benefits are pouring in.
Yesterday, the CDC announced that the country had reached a truly remarkable milestone. Over half of US adults—130 million Americans—have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s the result of a rapidly accelerating pace of distribution, which we in the Senate, many of us, pushed for first in the December bill and then in the ARP bill. The country now averages over 3 million doses per day.
Even better news arrived this morning. Starting today, every single adult in the United States is eligible to get vaccinated.
Let me say that again: all U.S. adults—in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico—are now eligible to get the vaccine, meeting the deadline President Biden set just two weeks ago.
I urge all Americans to go online, find a location where vaccines are being administered, and get the vaccine. Register, sign-up, call in—do whatever you need to do—to make yourself an appointment. This is about protecting yourself and protecting your families. We are on the way to beating COVID-19, but everyone needs to do their part. And part of doing your part is being vaccinated.
Inoculating the country of 330 million people, a country the size of a continent, is a momentous task. The fact that we have already reached the halfway point in four short months is a credit to the Biden administration and our work here in Congress to fund vaccine production and distribution. And it’s a credit to the thousands of medical researches, scientists, doctors, nurses, and all the public health workers who have made this possible.
Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, our economy has gotten its own shot in the arm. The Treasury Department announced that nearly 159 million stimulus payments—$376 billion—have reached people across the country. Last week, jobless claims fell to their lowest levels since the start of the pandemic. Global consumer confidence is now higher than it was even before the pandemic.
Across the country, the American Rescue Plan is accelerating our economic recovery. Consumer spending is up, businesses are gradually re-opening, and American workers are regaining hope and re-entering the workforce. Thanks to our historic investment in American workers, American families, and the American economy, brighter days are just around the corner. All of us who worked hard on passing the ARP – and the previous legislation – can be very proud of what we were able to do.
Now of course, we are not completely out of the woods yet. Despite the roaring success of the American Rescue Plan, we must continue to bolster our economic recovery and create good-paying jobs for American workers.
That’s why infrastructure—big, bold infrastructure—remains at the top of our priority list.
There isn’t a community in this country without some glaring infrastructure challenge: be they crumbling roads, bridges or school buildings, aging sewer systems, housing properties, or unreliable internet. If America is going to compete in the 21st century, we can’t have an infrastructure that’s stuck in the last century.
So Congress, in coordination with the Biden Administration, is going to work on a comprehensive jobs and infrastructure bill, this year.
Today at the White House, President Biden will meet with members from both parties to continue bipartisan discussions on an infrastructure package. The President has reiterated his intention and desire to work in good faith with our Republican colleagues. Hopefully, our Republican colleagues share that willingness and desire. Reliably investing in our nation’s infrastructure used to unite our two parties. It can do so again.
Here in Congress, we’re going to start getting our teeth into the details of an infrastructure package. Right here in the Senate, there are numerous activities going on this week.
Tomorrow, the Senate Appropriations Committee will hear from four cabinet-level officials on the details of the American Jobs Plan: Secretaries Buttigieg, Raimondo, and Fudge, as well as EPA Administrator Michael Regan.
Later in the week, the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee will hear from Secretaries Buttigieg and Raimondo on the President’s Build Back Better Agenda, and the Democratic caucus will meet with the Director of the National Economic Council, Brian Deese, on the same subject.
As the Senate begins to shape the contours of a comprehensive infrastructure bill, I will soon move to have the Senate take up a bipartisan water infrastructure bill. This legislation—the Drinking Water and Infrastructure Act—was advanced by the Environmental and Public Works Committee on a unanimous vote earlier this year. It will authorize tens of billions of dollars to make sure American families, especially low-income families, have access to safe and clean drinking water.
The drinking water bill could represent a small but important first step in bringing our two parties together on the work of infrastructure. I salute the Chairman of EPW, Tom Carper from Delaware, and Ranking Member, Senator Capito of West Virginia, for coming together on the legislation.
We look forward to working with our Republican colleagues later this work period to get that piece of legislation done.