Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor, announcing the Senate would take up the House-passed American Rescue Plan this week. Senator Schumer also urged the Senate to confirm Dr. Miguel Cardona to serve as Secretary of Education, Governor Gina Raimondo to serve as Secretary of Commerce, and Dr. Cecilia Rouse as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
The Senate will have a busy week ahead of it. Today and tomorrow, the Senate will confirm two more members of President Biden’s cabinet: Dr. Miguel Cardona to serve as Secretary of Education and Governor Gina Raimondo to serve as Commerce Secretary. The Senate will also confirm Dr. Cecilia Rouse to serve as the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, another history-making pick who will be the first Black official to head that department.
All three nominees are exceptionally well-qualified. All have received bipartisan support in their respective committees, including a unanimous vote in favor of Dr. Rouse. As we continue the fight against the pandemic on all fronts—in particular the damage it has caused our schools and our economy—these nominees will have a difficult and important task ahead of them. It will be very good news once we have them confirmed and on the job.
The Senate will then return to the American Rescue Plan, comprehensive legislation that will help us crush the virus, recover our economy, and get life back to normal.
Defeating the pandemic is national priority number one. Getting our schools to re-open as safely and quickly as possible. Helping small businesses hang on until the economy can come roaring back. Keeping teachers, and firefighters, and other essential public employees on the job. Providing aid to the jobless, food to the hungry, direct cash payments to millions of Americans struggling—struggling—with the cost of rent, groceries, medicine, and utilities, and speeding the distribution of the vaccine, which is the cornerstone to ending this awfully dark chapter in American history.
That is what our country needs and that is what the American Rescue Plan will achieve. To paraphrase Franklin Roosevelt, we must do the first things first.
Last week, the legislation passed in the House of Representatives. This week, the Senate will take up the measure.
Let me say that again: the Senate will take up the American Rescue Plan this week.
I expect a hearty debate and some late nights. But the American people sent us here with a job to do: to help the country through this moment of extraordinary challenge. To end, through action, the greatest health crisis our country has faced in a century. And that’s just what we’re going to do.