Schumer Floor Remarks On The Need For A Comprehensive COVID Response Bill That Meets The Needs Of The American People Amid Reports Leader McConnell Is Attempting to Block Any Serious Legislation

October 20, 2020

Washington, D.C. — Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor before Senate Republicans blocked the Heroes Act, which would provide real relief to the American people. Senator Schumer spoke following reports that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “told Senate Republicans on Tuesday that he has warned the White House not to make a big stimulus deal before the election.” Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

I just want to take a moment to explain to the American people what is happening here on the floor of the Senate.

After putting the Senate on “pause” for over five long months while businesses closed, millions lost their jobs, and hundreds of thousands of American died, Leader McConnell is now using this week to hold show votes on coronavirus relief.

The vote we just held was not even a real vote. Leader McConnell moved to table his own bill, then voted against tabling it. It was a stunt, plain and simple. It goes to show you how unserious this whole process is here on the floor of the senate. Democrats, by their votes, called it for what it is.

The truth is: Leader McConnell is doing these stunts on the floor because there is a hard-right faction of the Republican caucus that doesn’t want to pass any bill or another round of relief. The Republican leader admitted that as many as 20 Republican Senators don’t want to vote for anything. One Republican Senator vowed not to vote for “another dime.” Every time the Republican White House asks Republican Senators about a larger and needed COVID-relief package, Republican Senators say don’t do anything, we’re too divided.

As if we needed any more proof that the votes this week were not serious…it was just reported in the Washington Post that Leader McConnell warned the White House against making a deal on a COVID-relief bill before the election.

Let me repeat that: according to a report in the Washington Post, the Republican leader warned the White House against making a deal on another stimulus bill before the election. Maybe it’s because he knows his caucus wouldn’t support it. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t want anything to interfere with his true priority rushing a Supreme Court Justice onto the bench mere days before a presidential election. Maybe it’s both.

But whatever the reason, it is designed to fail. He told the White House he doesn’t actual want a deal before the election.

Now, if my Republican colleagues—those of a mind to help the American people, not those who believe we’ve spent too much already—want to do something real, we are going to give them a chance on the floor right now.

I will be making a motion to move the Senate into a posture where we could all vote on the Heroes Act that passed the House. If the Senate passed it, it would head right to the president’s desk.

Democrats have already modified the bill to make it more palatable to our Republican colleagues, coming down over $1 trillion.

So if you’re a Republican who wants to adequately fund our schools, and our hospitals, and our medical centers, vote with the Democrats on the next motion.

If you’re a Republican who wants to adequately fund testing and tracing and devote the resources our country needs to prevent a second wave of the virus, you should vote with Democrats on the next motion.

If you’re a Republican who wants to assist all small businesses, including our hardest-hit industries and underserved communities—newspapers and restaurants and minority-owned businesses and independent music venues and theatres—you can vote with us on the next motion.

If you’re a Republican who wants to employ a lifeline to the unemployed, to feed the hungry, to assist renters and homeowners, and stave off drastic cuts to state and local services, you should vote with us, with Democrats, on the next motion.

The country is crying out for real, substantial, comprehensive relief. The Heroes Act provides it. It includes all the urgent and necessary measures that Republicans have left out of their proposals. So if my Republican colleagues are serious, really serious, about providing relief to the American people, they’d vote to allow the Senate to consider the Heroes Act.