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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks Opposing The Republican Proposal To Abruptly And Prematurely Limit Our Response To The COVID Pandemic

Washington, D.C. –  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the Republican proposal that would unnecessarily and abruptly terminate the national emergency declaration on the COVID pandemic. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

As our country turns the corner on the COVID-19 pandemic, we stand at a crossroads: we can either take steps to keep America ready in case new variants arise, or we can backslide and undo everything we’ve done—at great cost—to get our country closer to normal.

Today, the Senator from Kansas is advancing a proposal that would precisely handicap the Biden Administration’s ability to fight the pandemic, and heighten the danger that all our progress is suddenly unraveled in the future. We've learned how to fight the pandemic. We're better at it. This undoes it for some kind of ideological reason.

This proposal to hinder our COVID preparedness is as damaging and risky as it is unnecessary and it should be voted down. It is going nowhere if it passes.

The National Emergency Declaration—which this proposal would immediately terminate—has been one of the most powerful and best tools for mobilizing the federal government to combat the pandemic.

It’s made it easier to acquire medical supplies, to provide resources for health care works, and has helped cut red tape under the Defense Production Act.

It also offered student loan borrowers with critical relief by clearing the path for suspending student loan payments, a lifeline for tens of millions. Do we want that undone?

Just as it looks like we’re turning the corner, why on Earth would Republicans risk bungling it all by crippling America’s ability to remain prepared for the future? 

The best way to ensure that we keep schools open and cases low is by staying at the ready, and that is what these emergency powers enable us to do. We don’t know if new variants will come or not, but if they do they can appear with frightening speed and we need to be prepared.

By prematurely terminating the national emergency declaration on COVID, it will be harder to ensure we have enough supplies, enough support for health care workers, and it risks throwing tens of millions of student loan borrowers into needless uncertainty and anxiety. It’s a wrong move. I will vote against it today.