U.S. Senate Senate Minority Leader Schumer on COVID-19 Economic Relief Fund CSPAN August 11, 2020 12:26pm-12:40pm EDT
wednesday, august 12. further, following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. finally, following leader remarks, the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 11:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.
mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, it is so ordered. mr. schumer: now, mr. president, mr. schumer: now, mr. president, now, mr. president america's living through a crisis that exceed anything we have seen in generations. other countries were able to test their populations. isolate cases and contain the spread of the disease but here the failure oflu the trump administration to develop or implement a national strategy to defeat covid on the help front and economically has meant that the disease has raged to our country for seven months, is still spreading, and the economy is in very bad shape. we have over 5 million confirmed covid-19. covid-19. it just took 17 days to go from 4 million americans with covid the 5 million. unemployment is high that it was during the great recession.g the great more than 150,000 americans have
died. small business every day are closing and those that are still open are struggling. families can't afford to feed their children. americans can't paywi the rent d will be thrown out of their homes. billions are out of work and many more worry that will be out of work in the month or 22. this is a huge crisis. in this time of national emergency democrats believe we must focus on the health and economic't security of the american people. if we don't address the health crisis, nothing else will matter. but where to focus on economic security as well. we have to keep americans in their homes, put food on the table, prevent them from slipping into further hardship and poverty. that's what animated democrats to develop a $3.4 trillion plan
to dollars plan to finally crushed the virus and rescue american families. it was based on the needs of our country, both health and economic, the needs of our schools and businesses and workers and our healthcare system. we democrats tell an america we have your back. unfortunately, our republican friends do not. it are negotiations with the white house, chief of staff metals and secretary mattis' and were unable to go above $1 trillion and their trillion was far short of the countries needs. democrats offered to come down by the children. we asked ourn. counterparts, secretary mnuchin, mr. meadows, to come up by 1 trillion commuters in the middle. they said no. last friday after our negotiating session with the white house i made it clear that the reasons are talks have
stalled, was a white house had basically declared quote, my way or the highway. they were unwilling to meet us in the middle. they said thatd in the room. well, i guess imitation is the sikhs and sears form of flattery because the leader mcconnell is blaming democrats for the goshen -- for the breakdown in negotiations using the exact same language. he said, democrat of one saying my way or the highway. seriously, that's with republican leader who wasn't even in the room and won't dare go in the room claims. the facts.er the facts. we set d to the white house we e willing to comeil down by the trillion. we'll come up 1 trillion and meet in the middle? the white house said no, we are not. budging. so to whom does this logic apply? who is intransigent? who isnt really saying my way or the highway?
the answer is obvious. this is not a both sides to blame situation. democrats are willing to compromise. republicans are being intransigent and will not w move from their position. which is totallyat inadequate to the needs of america at the greatest economic crisis we've had in 75 years and the greatest health crisis in 100. that is where we are. democrats willing to move and meet in the middle. republicans intransigent. republicans declared my way ors the highway and rather than defend their position, they falsely accuse democrats of doing the same. now, rather than trying to break the logjam as as a true presidential leader should, president trump sits on the sidelines and just issued a bunch of week and unworkable executive orders. he slashed the enhanced
unemployment benefits asking americans who are out of work through no fault of their own to take a pay cut. he deferred the payroll tax which even republicans admit we do next to nothing to help our workers or the economy and would undermine social security and medicare to boot. and the president's the preside order on evictions is more like an executive suggestion if it doesn't even guarantee moratorium on evictions. it merely instructs federal agencies to quote review or consider one, , andns does nothg to help renters actually afford the rent. here in congress the senate republican majority delayed for four long months, fail to come up with a proposal that had the support of their own caucus, and then gave up and left it for someone else to figure it out. that's why mcconnell is r not in the room. facing the greatest domestic crisis of the 21st century, where americans are c hurting,
healthwise and economically, the senate republican majority ran down the clock, tossed up an airball and then sobbed themselves out of the game. even now as leader mcconnell claims that democrats are blocking relief, there are 20 members of the republican caucus according to their own leader who won't vote for anything, no more relief. a group of republican senators came to the floor last week toward america about the national debt. not the health crisis, not the economic crisis, not the looming housing crisis but the national debt. something that concern those same members very little when adding nearly $2 trillion to the debt in order to give big corporations a giant tax cut in 2017. listen to this one. the senator from wisconsin, senator johnson, said yesterday,
quote, from my standpoint the breakdown in talks is very good news. i i hope the talks remain broken down. let me repeat that. from my standpoint, said senator johnson, reflecting to be what many republican senators, from my standpoint he said, the breakdown in talks is very good news. i hope thee talks remain broke down. why did he say that? because he doesn't want to spend one more nickel despite the huge health crisis, the huge economic crisis, people losing their jobs, small businesses closing, we shouldn't spend a nickel. this is not both sides. this is one side only. you know when president trump called covid-19 a hoax and told the country to go take bleach and other medicine, some of my
friends here may disappointed knows it. but when the president said the virus would just disappear, it seems the republican senate bought it. after we came together to pass the cares act, republican senators pushed all their chips to the middle to bet with president trump that the virus was going to miraculously disappear. the republicanr leader said i'm going to put the senate on pause and see what happens. w last week he actually defended that position, saying that he s delay allowed us to learn the coronavirus didn't mysteriously disappear. millions of more people out of work, hundreds of thousands of small businesses closing, many more people getting covid, and some more people dying. and now after all that the republican leader says his delay allowed us to learn the
coronavirus didn't mysteriously disappear. so while president trump and his aides have certainly been an impediment, an awful impediment, to an agreement, the republican senate is equally culpable, and the american people know it. they know, democrats have their back, healthwise, economically. republicans, so many of them are saying don't do a thing. don't do a thing. they are glad the new creations have broken down. we are not. -- negotiations. one final matter. millions of americans rely on the u.s. postal service to deliver their mail reliably and on time. and for decades the hard-working people of the postal service has been doing just that. during this pandemic usps has been fighting these critical services day in and day out. up until the new postmaster
general, a top republican donor and trump ally with no experience in the postal service was installed at the helm. administering a national is difficult in normal times. in the time of covid it will undoubtedly be an even greater challenge. we need to institute policies and devote resources to make sure every american cannt vote safely and confident in person and by mail. and by the way, even just as important t we need to make sure americans get their medicines on time, that the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions who are staying in their homes and not going out are able to get the necessities by the mail. your pills are a week late. i know what that's like, it's happening. fortunately i don't have medicine that my life depends on. it causes you huge anxiety about your health, and this postmaster is cutting overtime, cutting
employees whene at a time of covid we need more help, not less. but elections should certainly concern americans as well. the current issues at the post office alarm every american. the new postmaster joe has instituted policies that contributed tode inexcusable delays in mail delivery, but now topping the cake, the postal service has informed some states they may need to pay a first-class rate to deliver ballots rather than the normal rate, nearly tripling the cost. at a time when people will have to vote by mail in record numbers because i can't or won't go vote in person. the postmaster general is saying we should triple the rate of costs to vote by mail? what a despicable derogation of
democracy. what is his rationale? small amount of money. ballots are small percentage of the mail that is delivered. it's to discourage people from voting. he ought to be ashamed of himself to even consider this. tripling, tripling what it costs to vote by mail when at a time more people will vote by mail than ever before. if anyone had any thought that this postmaster general was on the level, it's now dispensed. to triple the cost of voting by mail would be an outrageous and insidious policy that would make it even harder and more expensive for states already struggling with depleted budgets from covid-19's to conduct our elections safely. democrats will fight this