Senate Democratic Leaders Hold News Conference CSPAN November 11, 2020 5:22am-5:49am EST
senate democrats spoke to reporters about the coronavirus pandemic, the affordable care act and the results of the 2020 election. senate minority leader chuck schumer also responded to comments made by secretary of state michael pompeo about transitioning to a second the trump administration. this is 25 minutes.
>> i want to thank senators casey and baldwin and merkley for joining us today. we all know that america is in the midst of a third wave of cases. we are seeing the record breaking numbers of new infections, hospitalizations and rising death rates. after president trump's failure to contain the virus, it was encouraging today for the caucus at the lunch to hear doctor murphy, the cochair of the president elect corona advisory board. you know what was great, he was a scientist, he knew the facts, and he will be listened to. whenever fauci came to speak we said this is great but we know trump will pay no attention. but doctor murphy was brilliant in his presentation, and he's going to have input, so that made all of us feel a lot better
to feel the change in atmosphere in this whole town. now it's clear senator biden's team, sorry, president elect joe biden's team is ready to hit the ground running and there's going to be light at the end of the tunnel finally. it will get brighter every day. we will have an administration that acknowledges the crisis and that takes its job seriously and that will listen to the council of scientists and doctors and they understand the president's team, president elect's team understands this is a problem that goes way beyond just the private sector alone. we definitely need a strong, robust government involvement. they are going to work to drive down the infection rate, and sure vaccines and treatments are safe and he made it clear just having a vaccine he said we have
a vaccine, we don't need a bill. it will take a considerable amount of time and educating the public that the vaccine is okay before everyone is vaccinated, so we feel very strongly that we have to move forward and the needs of the american people didn't go away after the election. they are still hurting. families hurt hardest are struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over their head. so we have to work together, and we are looking for a comprehensive bill that meets the needs of america. and we agree with the house on this issue. so the pressure is on the
republicans to deliver. leader mcconnell and all of my republican colleagues will have an opportunity to show the american people that they are ready to get to work and meet the moment of this crisis. democrats are going to work to get a strong bill done and we hope the republican colleagues will join us to finish the job and i'm going to make one other point on another issue and that is so many republicans today seem to be backing the president on his lawsuits. make no mistake about it, this isn't one state where the 597 state different. these are many states where there are tens of thousands of votes different. and the republicans have no legal case. they are politically distraught
but that isn't going to create any success for them in the courts. >> i want to thank senator schumer and senator baldwin for being with us. i want to start today with the words of the president back in may. he said we want to terminate healthcare under the affordable care act, terminate healthcare. that was his goal. now everything he's done in the four years as president has been a furtherance of the goal. i think about the numbers but more than that it's the people
the last couple of weeks over a long period of time i've come to know a lot of families who would be directly affected so i don't think of the numbers, i think of shannon and her daughter that has down syndrome and abby has multiple complex medical needs. so, for those mothers, destroying the aca is personal to them and would devastate their lives. if the court strikes down the affordable care act, it would be an act of injustice and in my judgment robbery, judicial robbery. people have coverage now. i won't go into all of the data you already know but that would be robbery by the court. republicans in the senate for about a decade now have lied about this.
they've lied over and over again. they said they would come up with a replacement. they never have. i don't think they intended to because they would have had it done by now. they also lied they could do it in a different way. they could come up with a bill that covered more than 20 million and had all the protections and all of the gains to fill in the doughnut holes so they could do it in a republican and less expensive way. that's a lie and everyone knows it so they've been lying for a decade and now we are on the precipice of a supreme court decision in a few months. here's what it wipes out in terms of the medicaid expansion. this has been a lifeline to so many americans. we know most of the coverage gains in my home state of the millions who were covered, 840,000 plus got coverage
through medicaid expansion. that means someone that had a substance abuse disorder, subset added to the opioid crisis, they got coverage and treatment because of it. just in pennsylvania in one year, 2019, over 135,000 people were able to receive treatment for substance use disorder problem because they had medicaid expansion. only because they have that coverage. you know the story about the doughnut hole that has been filled because of the affordable care act. we are told in 2016 alone close to 5 million americans on medicare receive an average of $1,090 per person in the doughnut hole savings. so, the benefits to this, saving lives let alone just coverage
are numerous. so, when we go into these next couple of weeks of debates on a relief bill, i believe it has to focus on at least three groups of americans. more than this but these are the three priorities in my judgment. older americans, communities of color and people with disabilities. need to invest in medicaid for the obvious reasons and finally for older americans, we need to put a place of strategy and get the case number down in the nursing homes. more than 91,000 have died in nursing homes when you combine the resident and worker deaths together, 91,000 and counting.
there's no excuse for that happening. there's no excuse why we can't knock that number down. i talked about shannon when i started out. here's what she said if i will close with this. her daughter as i said has down syndrome. she talks about all the fights they've had to wage. the name of the group is little lobbyist. the fact this group exists is an indictment of washington that they needed to become advocates such that they would call themselves lobbyists. here's what she said. once again, we as parents are forced to suit up for battle and prove that the children are worthy of healthcare. why should parents have to suit up for battle to help their children in the united states of america because a group of ideologues are at the supreme court now telling them to strike
it down. that is perverse, disgusting and it is un-american. >> thank you for bringing us together and congratulations on your election as the leader. i wanted to add to your remarks about how having the guest speaker at the caucus was so uplifting today to think about having science and medicine respected and guiding our response to this pandemic. it made me also sad about how much we have missed that for so long. and i did want to note one thing for the public record. the leader mentioned our caucus lunch. we might or might not have been eating at the time but it was
virtual. we were on the phone, distanced, et cetera. that is how we have been conducting business. >> while it's not labeled as such, i apologize, that is wisconsin data that you see on the graph to my right. that is basically since the first cases in the state of wisconsin, the new covid-19 confirmed cases by the date confirmed and then the blue solid line is the seven day average in our state. we know we have just passed the 10 million case mark in this country, and we know tragically more than 235 americans have died.
my home state has one of the worst outbreaks of infections in the country and we are experiencing the worst phase of the pandemic since it began. for the first time this past saturday, wisconsin reported more than 7,000 cases in a single day. and yesterday, wisconsin added 4360 new infections. over 2,000 are currently hospitalized due to covid-19 and that is an increase of more than 350 just in the past week. and, again, so tragically, 2,329 wisconsin souls have been lost to this disease. hospitals and healthcare workers do not have the supplies they need. we are running out of beds and
we completely overwhelmed the states healthcare system. in my state, the pandemic is getting worse, not better. we have seen a complete and total failure of the president of the united states, president trump, to provide any sort of leadership that we can count on. trump gave up trying. i will repeat that. he simply gave up trying to control the pandemic and wisconsinites are paying the price with his or her health, their lives and with their livelihoods. here in washington, with the senate republicans in charge, we have seen no sense of urgency to pass relief and no sense that it needs to not just be relief but it needs to address the scope of
this economic crisis. as we know, the house passed the act six months ago and it's been sitting on the majority leader's desk while small businesses have been closing, millions have lost their jobs and hundreds of thousands of americans have died. we must act on bipartisan legislation to provide local communities and the frontline healthcare workers with the support they need to stop the spread of this deadly virus and we must unify as a country and in congress to now provide support to these workers, families, schools, local governments and small businesses. this crisis is getting worse. in wisconsin and across the
country, and now is the time for us to start working together in washington. and as hard as our frontline healthcare workers do so that we can get this deadly pandemic under control, build back better and move the economy forward for the american families. and i will now turn over to chris murphy from connecticut. >> thank you. you have covered the topic very well so i will be quick and make three brief points as i was on the way out meeting with the purchase department they followed me to the door to have a private word with me. she said i didn't want to say this in front of anybody else in to get anybody in trouble but i have no idea how many test kits i'm getting from day-to-day. i have no ability to plan beyond 48 hours to get even set up in the community to make sure we are on the front lines of this
epidemic. i can't do my job. she can do her job because this administration has completely failed us. it's botched the response to this pandemic. and the senate republicans have let the country down as well. we need a robust comprehensive package of support that gets money to schools, counties, cities, states, healthcare providers to make sure they have everything they need in order to plan more than one day at a time and to this day senate republicans still do not take this pandemic seriously. they still cower behind president trump afraid to admit that this is a worsening pandemic because they risk the ire of the president of the united states. justice roberts said things at the hearing today that gave hope he may rule to keep the aca in place, but he doesn't have to be on the prevailing side.
there are five justices on the court, three appointed by the president and two tha to that hd against the aca in the past to strike down the entirety of the aca. it's still at risk so long as republican attorney general and the trump administration are pursuing this case and they will not give up. republicans are not going to give up just because they lose a case or two. this is their holy grail, the dismantling of the aca. we are in for a long hard fight. finally, senator schumer referenced the support from the senate republicans regarding these bogus lawsuits. every day this transition doesn't start, it's harder for us to actually correct the course in november. we will have the right people at hhs and at the cdc and leading the coronavirus response for the first time in a long time when joe biden assumes the white
house but as this transition does not get underway as the republicans continue to support the president's bogus claims of voter fraud, it risks the biden administration not having the resources in the period that it needs in order to get an effective anti-coronavirus effort up and running on day number one so i would concur senator schumer's remarks that it'butit's time for this transio begin. >> i would add one more point to what senator murphy was saying. these bogus lawsuits that the republicans are supporting, the case is weak and desperate. this is so different that it was in 2000 and yet they cannot come to grips with the fact that he's won fair and square and now more and more of them seem to be
lining up behind these ridiculous lawsuits. they are not going to succeed, but they are certainly delaying any action and it is a, it never ceases to amaze me how afraid just about every republican senator close to every republican senator is so afraid of donald trump they are willing to tie themselves into legal precedents to not offend him. questions on these subjects first. >> on the transition we saw today, secretary of state michael pompeo said that there will be [inaudible] what's your reaction to him -- >> my reaction is look at reality. secretary pompeo, joe biden has one. he won the election. now move on.
let's bring this country together and get things done. we have a covid crisis raging and we don't have time for these kind of games. a. >> two-parter. the president fired his defense secretary the other day. how concerned are you that he could continue [inaudible] cabinet officials that are left in the remaining days and the second part of it is republican senators have largely said the president is entitled to the team he wants [inaudible] continuing the time confirming the joe biden cabinet. >> let's hope bu that we found r instance 180-degree reversals. deficit doesn't matter when you do tax cuts on the rich. it matters when you try to help people who desperately need help and covid relief. so it wouldn't surprise me if they do a 180-degree reversal. i hope not for the sake of the country. there are so many messages but one of them is bring us together which joe biden kept talking about so we can move the country forward.
let's hope the republicans start hearing that. they haven't yet as these lawsuits indicate. >> i worry about the people that have shown some degree of integrity being removed because that is what he does and he's getting more and more desperate as he realizes the election results. go ahead. >> he worked hard on the senate majority decided to try to take back the senate. you have to very well be in the minority [inaudible] have you personally been calculating the amount of time and effort spent on the red states [inaudible] >> we spent time in every state. and first, this group, we are happy. we've won the most important election that we faced. we always said the number one election as of the president, and we won. when it comes to the senate,
it's not over at all. georgia is close. people forget there's a there ia conventional wisdom democrats don't when runoffs in georgia. that's not true. there were two runoffs in 2018. not much democratic money or effort behind them an immediates within 4% so we are working very hard to win in georgia and we believe we have a very good chance of winning. go ahead. next question. >> you have to start planning and thinking about the next congress given that you believe that biden has won this election. so, if you guys end up in the minority, are you worried that the senate majority would block some of the progressive proposals like the green new deal -- >> the public sentiment is everything and i cannot talk about a specific provision you mentioned, but they are going to want to see action and see our country move forward in helping people in the problems they face. covid first, but many others as
well. >> [inaudible] going to a biden cabinet? >> he has not consulted me on that issue. >> on the aca, so surprised democrats are not a fan of [inaudible] supreme court, if the supreme court does the end up upholding the law does that change your opinion -- >> i do not trust this court at all. they will keep trying. they are so passionate against the aca that they will keep at it and i have very little faith in this court in terms of being of upholding the aca. last one. >> the president elect biden and harris are veterans. how will that make a difference next year? >> i didn't hear the second part. >> [inaudible] >> it's going to make a great difference. they know how to work with us. we know them and are comfortable with them.
i've been talking to president elect biden on a whole gamut of issues and i think the democrats in the senate will have a very close relationship and of course we are also proud of harris. she again has been incomplete touch with us on so many different issues. >> [inaudible] able to come up. work with senator mcconnell. has it changed so much [inaudible] >> he wants to bring the country together to get some good things done. we agree with that. thank you, everybody.