Schumer Floor Remarks On The Need To Come Together To Pass Bipartisan COVID Relief That Meets The Needs Of Our Workers, Families, Schools, And Businesses

December 1, 2020

Washington, D.C. — Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the need to come together to pass bipartisan legislation for COVID relief. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Yesterday I mentioned the several big-ticket items left on the Congressional agenda before the end of the year.

Over the next few weeks, the Senate must pass an appropriations bill to keep the government funded. We must pass the annual defense bill, a piece of legislation that Congress has passed, every year, for nearly sixty years in a row.

And a top priority as well is a major COVID-relief bill.

We are in a moment of genuine, national catastrophe. The rates of new cases, of hospitalizations, and deaths are the highest—or near the highest—of any point during this awful pandemic.

The economic fallout of the pandemic spreads and spreads. November saw the largest single two-week jump in unemployment benefits applications since early April. Enhanced jobless benefits are only a few weeks from expiration.

The time has come for Congress to pass a bipartisan COVID-relief bill that meets the needs of our workers, our families, our schools, and our businesses.

The Republican leader of this chamber knows very well that the only way to pass legislation in the Senate is with a measure of bipartisanship. But time and again, Republican leader’s idea of action on COVID has been to bring partisan legislation to the floor and then demand everyone accept it. Every single iteration has included poison pills designed to ensure that the bills fail, not consensus proposals. That's not what these poison pills are at all, and he knows darn well that Democrats don't agree to them.

Well, that’s no way to do business around here. The leader’s view seems to be that the only things that should be considered in the next COVID-relief bill are items that Republicans approve of, even if the needs of the country go way beyond what’s on their narrow list. So I would plead again to the Republican leader and to my colleagues on the other side: we need to come together. Both sides, both sides, must be willing to compromise.

While the Republicans in this chamber enjoy a majority, they must grapple with the fact that Democrats hold a majority in the House. We cannot make a law without Democrats in the House and, frankly, Democratic votes in the Senate, because there are a good number of Republicans who won’t vote for any proposal.

So we need a true, bipartisan bill, not another round of partisan Republican proposals put forward by the Leader, and then he makes take-it-or-leave-it demands and that’s it. We need to come together and come to an agreement that will not satisfy any one of us completely, but gets the job done.

I hope that as we get closer to the end of the year, the partisan posturing on the Republican side will give way to some genuine compromises.