Washington, D.C. – Today, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) outlined significant efforts to bring COVID-19 relief to Georgia families through President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Below are his remarks as delivered, which you can also view here:
I'm so proud to be joined by two new outstanding senators from Georgia, Jon Ossoff and the Reverend Raphael Warnock, who are working alongside Democrats in the Senate to deliver desperately needed COVID-19 relief back to their home state.
If this little event today has a message, it's three words: elections have consequences.
But, before I get to that, I want to just say how proud I am that both these senators are history making. Raphael Warnock was born in Georgia when two arch segregationists were the senators, and now he's the first African American senator from Georgia and Jon Ossoff is the first Jewish senator from Georgia.
So it's game changing, and following that game-changing election that brought them both to the Senate, Democrats took the majority for the first time.
What does that mean? It means real things to real people, in Georgia, and throughout the country.
If the election had gone the other way, we know that Mitch McConnell would not be working on COVID relief for working families. But now, because we have Warnock, and because we have Ossoff in the Senate, we are on the edge of delivering real relief to the working folks, to the poor people, to the middle-class people, of Georgia and of America.
Here's a little number, $8,200. A family that makes $75,000 and has two kids – in other words, a family of four with two kids – is going to get $8,200 in additional direct relief. That's between the direct payments and the doubling of the child tax credit, which the House has already reported out, and both have large support among the Democrats in the Senate.
So these talented fighters are actually delivering on their promise when they ran, that they were actually going to bring real help, that elections have consequences, that the difference between having Ossoff and Warnock in the Senate is very real to the vast majority of average folks in Georgia and in the country. It's part of what we're trying to do here.
Last year, as you know, Congress passed multiple COVID-19 relief packages. But we're far from out of the woods.
The down payment Congress passed in December stopped some of the bleeding, but without robust action, the recovery is going to be long and painful.
And we want to get out of that ditch, the COVID ditch, both health wise and economically as quick as possible.
And the addition of these two men to the Senate, makes that very, very likely, and very, very real, because it allows us to build, in a much stronger way, on the previous package that was passed in December.
Thanks to Senators Warnock and Ossoff, this COVID bill will be bigger and bolder and bring significantly more help to Georgians, and to Americans. And right now,
Democrats are on the path to secure another round of direct payments, an expansion of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit. Other things that they have been pushing for: funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, minority institutions and tribal colleges, debt relief to Black farmers who have been ignored for far too long in Georgia and elsewhere, and so much more. They have been pushing me, as Leader, to get these things done. They've been talking to our caucus.
And obviously, the Democratic caucus is very grateful that they ran such great races and helped us gain the majority, but we realize that's not the end, that's just the beginning. Getting things done is the real reason that people elected them and what we must do.
Again, in terms of direct assistance to Georgia families, Senators Ossoff and Warnock are going to help deliver an extra $8,000 for an average family of four. That makes a big difference in their lives.
We Senate Democrats, as you know, we're moving full steam ahead with a bold plan to tackle the worst health crisis in 100 years since the Spanish pandemic flu, the worst economic crisis in 75 years since the Great Depression.
This bill, what we are proposing, is proof to people who have lost faith in democracy: your vote matters. It sure mattered in Georgia.
The people of Georgia should be very proud of their two senators and their state. Because Georgians sent Jon and Raphael to the United States Senate, I can confidently say real, significant help is on the way.