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Charles Schumer
  U.S. Senate Sen. Schumer Opening Statement  CSPAN  January 26, 2021 12:53pm-1:00pm EST

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service. >> before heading to the weak lunch meetings the senate voted on antony blinken for secretary of state. senate democratic leader chuck schumer talked about the nomination before discussing the power-sharing agreement between democrats and republicans for the next two years. you will see the senate republican leader mcconnells response following the majority leader. >> now as we move through the first full week of the biden administration the senate will continue the important work of confirming president biden's cabinet. today the senate will hold a confirmation vote for tony blinken to be the next secretary of n state. mr. lincoln is just the right person to rebuild and reassert america's national security prerogatives onri the global ste and we established the first instrument of american power, diplomacy. for four years failed diplomacy
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of the trump administration weakened our alliances, strengthened and the bold our adversaries, and tarnished america's reputation abroad. we must reaffirm our commitment to nato and other critical alliances around the world. we must hold russia accountable for its malicious interference in democracies. we must confront china's economic political and human rights abuses and we must work with the family of nations to combat the existential threat of climate change. once confirmed, mr. glcm also inherit a state department workforce in desperate need of a leader that knows that everyone on the team plays a critical role in advancing america's interest abroad -- mr. blinken. under president trump, our nation's diplomats and state department civilians were relegated to the sidelines and too many positions in the state department will have bacon are relegated to irrelevance. so none of this will be easy but
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i'm confident that mr. blinken is exactly the right person for the job. i look forward to seeing this chamber confirm his nomination later today. and after that, both parties must keep working together to confirm the rest of then' president biden's outstanding cabinet. we are off to a decent pace with the confirmations of the president, sectors offense, treasury and the director of national intelligence. i appreciate the republican leaders cooperation and hope that it will continue because the country needs that. that pays must continue this week with the confirmation of the secretaries of homeland security and transportation. after that, we need a health and human services secretary installed to oversee the public health response to covid, and education sectors to facilitate the safe reopening of schools, guided by the science, sector of
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devastated homes during this horrible economic crisis. the senate is working and in encouraging pace and will not let up. now on the organizing resolution, well, since the last time i addressed this chamber there has been notable progressl in my discussions with the republican leader about organizing the senate. last night the republican leader dropped his demand for additional provisions on the organizing resolution, and will agree to the 2001 rules that last govern a 50-50he senate, exactly what democrats proposed from the start. i am glad the republican leader finally relented and we canar me forward now to organize the senate, set up committees, chairs and ranking members and the process for moving bills and nominees to the floor from committees with an evenly divided number of members.
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i'm glad were finally able to get thee' sin up and running. my only regret is that it took so long, because we have a great deal we need to accomplish over the next several weeks and months. now onra covid. in addition to the confirmation of critical cabinet nominees, the senate will soon look forward withes legislation to address the twin crises facing our country. the public health crisis and economic crisis. in december congress took the important step of passing it around emergency relief to the country, but we left the job unfinished. i understand that recent opposition from the political right to more spending has increased in volume now that there's a democrat in the white house. but the pandemic doesn't particularly care that there's been a change in the administration. the needs of our country are still great, and urgency to act is clear than ever. the congressional budget office
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told us last fall that the covid-19 pandemic has taken more than $17 trillion out of our economy. $17 trillion. no doubt congress has passed substantial relief, but looking at the data we are nowhere close to building the covid sized hole inur our economy. expanded unemployment insurance will once again expire in march, state and local governments which have cut over 1 million jobs are still reeling from budget deficits and debt not receive direct assistance. the amount of direct payments to the american people in the previous bill was regrettably much lower than many of us including myself wanted. we must continue supporting the rapid and massive distribution of the vaccine to finally crushed this virus once and for all. so the senate is going to pressd forward on another covid relief
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bill. we want to work with our republican colleagues to advance this legislation in a bipartisan way. but the work must move forward. preferably with our republican colleagues, but without them if we must. we are still in the midst of a once in a century crisis that has reshaped our economy and altered nearly every aspect of american life. americans are still getting sick. americans are still dying. americans are still losing their jobs. we must not suffer delay. there is great urgency to continue the work of covid relief, and that's exactly what the senate will do. i yield the floor.