Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks: We Are United In Our Resolve To Deliver On A Rescue Plan That Provides The American People The Relief They So Desperately Need.February 3, 2021
Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding advancing the budget resolution as a first step towards the desperately needed $1.9 trillion dollar COVID-19 rescue package. Senator Schumer urged members not to lose sight of what this legislation will mean for the American people. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Yesterday afternoon, the Senate took the first step in preparing a rescue package for an economy, and a country, that is still in the throes of crisis.
The $1.9 trillion dollar budget, is designed to meet the needs of a country that has been devastated by disease and recession for nearly a year. It’s been such a long time; we need real help.
Unlike most crises, which affect one particular sector of the economy or another—one part of the country or another—the COVID-19 pandemic affects the entire country and nearly every aspect of American life. There is not one person in America, in my judgement, who’s life hasn’t been significantly changed by this awful crisis.
The challenges we must overcome are manifold. So we must produce a bill that addresses each of those challenges in turn: housing and agriculture and education, help for the unemployed, small business, our health care system, our state and local governments. And we cannot fall short of the needs in each of those areas.
History has taught us hard lessons about the cost of small thinking during times of big challenge, and about the cost of delay during moments of great urgency.
Secretary Yellen told the Democratic caucus yesterday that it is her belief that if Congress fails to dedicate the necessary resources to meet the needs of the American people and survive this crisis, we will see long-term scarring in our economy and our country would be mired in the COVID crisis for years. The income inequality and wealth inequality that plagues our nation—and which has been exacerbated by this crisis, because it’s certainly the lower half of the American people who have suffered the most—needs to be remediated, and that’s what we aim to do. We must not—must not—repeat the mistakes of the past and do too little, too reluctantly, and too late. We will not repeat the mistakes of the past.
Our goal is simple: help the American people and the American economy – and do it fast.
Over the next two days, the Senate will be in session for debate on the budget resolution. There will be an open, bipartisan amendment process, and we invite participation from both sides of the aisle in that process.
But I urge members not to lose sight of what this legislation will mean for the American people.
For Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, this rescue package will extend enhanced unemployment benefits.
For parents—I’ve spoken to so many—who are desperate for the day they can send their children back to school safely, this rescue package will include resources for schools to make that happen quicker.
For teachers and firefighters and bus drivers and nurses worried about the fate of their jobs, this rescue package will follow through on providing aid for state and local governments.
For restaurants and bars, for theatres and farmers, for small businesses of every stripe, this rescue package will make another round of federal loans and grants available to you.
And for every American struggling to make ends meet, who—month by month—has fallen further behind on the rent or mortgage, who has had the power, or the heat, or the water shut off; for every American who has had to choose which meal they were going to skip that day: this rescue package will send direct assistance in the form of a check.
And of course, this rescue package will support the production and distribution of the vaccine that is the key to ending this crisis. The past administration—in terms of distribution and in terms of working with the states to get these vaccines out—has been so derelict. It’s been one of the greatest failures of any presidency. The new Biden Administration is focused on making more vaccines, getting them out quickly, getting them out fairly, and doing it effectively and efficiently. We have to help get that done.
So I, alongside the Democratic committee chairs responsible for drafting this legislation, will be meeting with President Biden at the White House today, a few hours from now. Our caucus is eager to discuss next steps and we are united in our resolve to deliver on a rescue plan that provides the American people the relief they so desperately need.