Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the Senate Democrats keeping their promise to provide relief for the American people by passing the American Rescue Plan. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
On Saturday, the American people got to see what a responsive and effective government looks like.
A month and a half after assuming the majority, Senate Democrats followed through on our promise to deliver a bold COVID-relief bill to help crush the virus, lift this country out of the crisis, and set our economy on a path to a strong recovery.
Earlier today, the final text of the Senate bill was sent to the House of Representatives. Congress remains on track to deliver the American Rescue Plan to President Biden’s desk for his signature before enhanced unemployment benefits expire on March 14th.
We said we would do it, and we are doing it.
Once President Biden signs the American Rescue Plan into law, it will immediately become one of the most sweeping federal recovery efforts in modern history.
It will help restore Americans’ faith in government at a time when that is sorely needed.
And it will deliver more help to more people than almost anything Congress has accomplished in the past decades.
Already, the positive reviews are pouring in.
According to several reports, the bill will help millions of Americans save hundreds of dollars in health care costs.
Thanks to a historic expansion of the Child Tax Credit—up to $3,000 per child under 17 for an overwhelming majority of families—analysts predict the American Rescue Plan will cut child poverty in half. Let me say that again. Analysts predict the American Rescue Plan will cut child poverty in half. This has been the goal of the country for decades and now we are taking real steps to accomplish it.
In fact, the Tax Policy Center predicts the American Rescue Plan will boost the incomes of the poorest 20% of Americans by 20%, including significant boosts all the way through the middle class.
Meanwhile, the wealthiest 1% of Americans will receive an income boost of 0%.
Let me say that again because this shows who we are as a party here in the Senate, and who we should be as a nation – let me say it: A 20% boost in incomes for Americans who are struggling the most, 0% for those at the top already, who are doing very well. Let’s contrast this to the Republican tax bill, which skewed in exactly the opposite direction. If people want to know the difference, the difference in terms of how Democrats feel about who we should help and how Republicans feel about who we should help, contrast this bill with the most major accomplishment during the four years that Donald Trump was president and it’s very apparent.
Back in December, Democrats promised that if we won the majority, we would deliver $2,000 checks to American families. That’s exactly what we’ve done. Promise made, promise kept.
We helped pass $600 checks in December, and added $1,400 in the bill we just passed.
Because Democrats kept that promise: Americans are going to receive the help they need, quickly. The checks will stimulate the economy. And they are targeted to those Americans who need it the most. It is a promise kept.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) projected that the American Rescue Plan could as much as double America’s economic growth this year. As a result, it also revised upward its projections for the entire world’s economic recovery. Once again, the United States is gonna lead the way.
And so, because of what the Senate did last week: health care costs will go down, child poverty will be cut in half, Americans will receive direct financial support, and the economy is set for an enormous boost. It’s a great beginning for a new administration and a new Senate.
And that’s to say nothing of the schools who will receive support to re-open faster and safer;
the restaurants and small businesses who will receive a lifeline;
the millions of recently unemployed Americans who will continue to receive enhanced benefits until Labor Day;
and the millions of workers and retirees who will see their pension plans protected.
Of course, one of the most important aspects of all is the support this bill will give to speed vaccinations and expand testing—exactly what we need to defeat the virus.
In short: this is one of the very most significant pieces of legislation to pass the Senate in years.
It is broader, deeper, and more comprehensive in helping working families and lifting Americans out of poverty than anything—anything—Congress has accomplished in a very long time.
So I am extremely proud of the bill we passed this weekend. Exceedingly proud.
I am exceedingly proud of the staff, who toiled behind the scenes, who worked incredible hours under incredible stress, to prepare, perfect, and pass the American Rescue Plan. The staff are the unsung heroes of this bill.
So I want to spend just a moment now to sing their praises.
First of all, to all of the members and staff of the Senate committees: thank you. I have submitted all of their names into the Congressional record to acknowledge their weeks of hard work assembling different portions of the bill, negotiating compromises, writing legislative text, petitioning the parliamentarian, and managing a colossal amendment process.
To all of the floor staff, the doorkeepers, the clerks, the reporters, the cafeteria workers, the custodial staff, the Capitol Police and National Guard: the entire Senate gave you a standing ovation on Saturday and you deserved every second of it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank once again.
Finally, I need to spend some time thanking my own staff. I think they are the best staff anyone could ever have. They are amazing.
Every Senator believes that they have the best staff on Capitol Hill I guess, but I am no exception. I couldn’t do what I do without them. They are amazing. The chiefs who run the show, Mike Lynch, Martin Brennan, and Erin Sager Vaughn. The floor staff , the amazing Gary Myrick, Tricia Engle, and the whole floor staff thank you. And then three names that I have to give a particular shout out to because you can truly say without these three we wouldn’t have a bill, Gerry Petrellla, Meghan Taira, and Charlie Ellsworth.
My staff I would like to brag about them a little Madam President, boasts some of the most brilliant legislative minds in the country, folks who know the nitty-gritty of every issue in their portfolio, who fashion solutions to the most difficult problems in the country and then turn those solutions into action. Thank you to my executive team, who keeps me (somewhat) on time and is a tremendous asset to the entire democratic caucus.
Thank you to our phenomenal research team, ready to supply the right fact at the right moment. You ask them to look this over find this out Boom and it appears right away. To everyone at the Senate Democratic Media Center, who were up clipping and editing videos at 3,4,5 in the morning; to our amazing press team, who gets the word out so skillfully; to our engagement team, who do fantastic work with the groups affected by the legislation we pass; and our entire state staff I just visited some of them from Buffalo and Syracuse, who make sure that our work in Washington always responds to the needs of New York.
I wanted to mention each of these different groups but, in reality, they are one team. They pull together and they are friends and they celebrate holidays together and we share each other’s joys and sadness’s in life . A team that works together, helps each other, supports each other, and supports me. A team that gets up every morning with the passion to make the lives of their fellow citizens better.
It is impossible not to be inspired by them and by that.
I ask unanimous consent to enter the names of my entire staff into the record. Because as I told them on the phone on Sunday. Even if they do nothing else in life they have saved by their work many many lives. They have made the lives of millions, millions of people considerably better because of their hard work and dedication and their caring. So I would like unanimous consent to enter the names of my entire staff into the record.
I want them all to know how much I appreciate their work, and how much the country does, and the great a difference it has made in the trajectory of our wonderful nation country.