Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the need to approve an additional round of much-needed COVID response funding. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
There is another issue where Republicans must work with Democrats: passing an additional round of COVID funding.
COVID funding is not a matter of “nice to have, if we can afford it.” COVID funding is a must have; it is something our nation cannot possibly afford to go without.
Yesterday the White House made clear that other countries like Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam are already in front of us when it comes to purchasing new vaccines and treatments.
American companies, with their ingenuity, come up with these vaccines and treatments. But because we're unwilling—because our Republican colleagues so far have blocked financing on this—other countries are going to buy from us.
We don't want to be in a position in the fall where we desperately need these medicines, but our companies have signed contracts with other countries. That would be a huge mistake.
Given our federal budget, it's a small amount to ask that we provide money for these therapeutics so that we have vaccines, the best vaccines developed and ready to go, so we have enough testing and treatment.
But other countries are beating America to the punch because Republicans have blocked the Senate from approving new funding.
The answer to avoiding another shutdown of our communities is very simple: Senate Republicans should work with us to quickly pass another round of COVID funding. It’s not more complicated than that.
Let me say it again: if we want to keep life as close to normal down the line, if we want to keep schools and churches and businesses open if God forbid another aggressive variant arises, Republicans should work with us to approve more money for vaccines, testing, and lifesaving therapeutics.
The longer that Senate Republicans hold out on working with us to approve new funding, the higher the cost will be for our country down the line.
And when we don't get back to normal, we can't stay at normal because of a new variant, people will know what happened. God forbid that happens. We don't want it to happen.
We want them to work with us, but unfortunately, so far, we're not seeing that cooperation. From some we have, I must be clear. I had good discussions with several of our Republicans, but then it was blocked by the Republican leadership.