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Coronavirus

Floor Speech

Date: Nov. 18, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. THUNE. Madam President, I think it is important to point out that as we discuss the issue of coronavirus relief, that Senate Republicans have now not once but twice brought a bill to the floor of the U.S. Senate that enjoyed the support of a majority of U.S. Senators. There were 52 Senators who voted for coronavirus relief not once but twice-- once in September and once in October. Not a single Democrat voted for it.

The Democratic leader was just talking about the House of Representatives, where they passed a bill. Yes, they passed a bill. It didn't have a single Republican on it. It was a massive multitrillion- dollar bill, liberal wish list, that included all kinds of things like bailouts for blue States the taxpayers would have to finance, including tax cuts for millionaires in places like New York and California, and left a lot of the American people who are really suffering from the coronavirus holding the bag.

We believe that there are things that need to be done, and just because we can't do everything that the Democrats want to do on their liberal wish list, that we should do something, and Republicans came together behind a bill. They increased the support above and beyond what unemployed workers would normally get through unemployment insurance--increased that benefit by $300 a week. It also provided a significant amount of funding for schools as they continue to deal with the cost of trying to stay open safely. It put significant investments into vaccines, testings, therapeutics, support for providers, and all the things that will help on the healthcare front to defeat this virus. And, of course, it provided infusion of additional dollars for the Paycheck Protection Program, which has been so successful in assisting our small businesses as they weather and survive this crisis to try and keep their workers employed and keep their businesses up and operating and keep our economy operating in this country.

Those are all things--all things--for which there is bipartisan support and on which there should be votes, not just among Republicans in the Senate but among Democrats as well, but unfortunately the Democrats have opted not to sit down in a reasonable way and come up with a reasonable proposal.

The bill that came over from the House of Representatives that they continue to tout is something that would never pass in the Senate, and it would never get signed into law.

The bill that Senate Republicans passed--I shouldn't say passed but got majority support for here in the Senate not once but twice--would, in fact, get signed into law and is something that could pass here in the Senate and I believe in the House of Representatives, too, because they are all things that enjoy broad bipartisan support.

The difference is that our bill was targeted to those areas which need the support the most. It was fiscally responsible, recognizing that we have a $26 trillion debt growing by the day and that every dollar we spend is a borrowed dollar from our children and grandchildren.

It is so important that when we do this, we do this in a way that is thoughtful, deliberative, reasonable, and with an eye toward making sure we are getting a good return for the American taxpayer and delivering assistance in a targeted way to those folks who need it the most--unemployed workers; those who are employed; the small businesses that employ them; the healthcare frontline workers who are out there every day fighting this fight against this virus, making sure they have the PPE to protect them--and then, of course, the important investments we are making in vaccines and therapeutics and testing and all the things that will help defeat this; money for schools, colleges, universities, elementary and high school students and faculty and administration--those who are trying to keep our kids in school, keep them educated by dealing with a lot of additional costs related to providing that education in a safe way.

Those are all things on which there is broad bipartisan agreement. We could pass it today. We could pass it today in the Senate, but the Democrats insist on a liberal wish list, which includes a multitrillion-dollar proposal--multitrillion-dollar proposal--with a liberal wish list, an agenda that in many cases has nothing to do with combating or fighting the coronavirus but simply is an attempt to deliver on a liberal agenda for their political base. So let's just make that point very clearly here when we talk about what we should be doing.

I believe what we should be doing is sitting down and working on a reasonable bill, a targeted bill, a fiscally responsible bill. Republicans have been more than willing to do that and more than willing to compromise, but the Democrats both in the House and the Senate continue to insist upon a multitrillion-dollar bill that consists, again, of a bunch of liberal wish list items--taxpayer bailouts for blue States, tax cuts for millionaires across this country, putting money into diversity studies on cannabis--instead of the targeted things, the things that are really going to be necessary to help the American people and our economy recover from the coronavirus.

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