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Coronavirus

Floor Speech

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

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Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I come to the floor to talk about what the voters of America told the elected representatives in Washington about the election earlier this month. There has been a lot of analysis about what happened this year in the elections--who got what right, who got what wrong. The pollsters, the prognosticators, and the pundits-- well, they are already taking a beating for their many wrong predictions.

The American people in States all across this country and, certainly, in Wyoming, rejected this far-left agenda. They saw what the Democrats were offering, and they said: No, thank you. Voters looked at the violent leftwing protests that have wrecked large cities and small cities across the country. People saw the death, injuries, and destruction of property, and Americans went to the polls and said: No, thank you. They rejected the Democrats' calls to defund the police; rebuffed the Democrats' threats to pack the Supreme Court; and said no to one-size-fits-all, government-run healthcare. They snubbed the Democrats' embrace of the Green New Deal and rejected this far-left plan to end American energy production. Basically, Americans said no.

Many Democrats ran on this far-left agenda. They lost despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to convince Americans otherwise. The Democrats must be asking themselves: What did we get wrong?

No matter how much the Democrat Party pushes and their candidates push, America is not a far-left country. Americans don't want to blow up the Senate or the Supreme Court. They don't want to add more States to the Union or more Justices to the Court. They don't want to kill our energy economy and the good jobs it provides. People do not want to pay $10 a gallon for gasoline when they fill up under the Green New Deal. They don't want more government meddling in their personal healthcare decisions.

I know what the people of Wyoming want, and Members ought to know this. Americans want jobs and security. They want to get back to work in a free enterprise economy, not a socialist one. They want their kids back in school safely to make sure they don't fall further behind. People are smart enough to know that the free stuff for everyone means the American taxpayer will be left footing the bill.

Between now and the end of the year, we have very important things to do for the Nation in this body, the U.S. Senate. We need to fund the government. We need to pass the National Defense Authorization Act. We need to confirm well-qualified nominees to the Federal judiciary. Senate Republicans are ready to get that work done. There is also work to be done in our fight against the coronavirus.

The Democrat House has played politics with American lives and livelihoods for months now. With the election behind us, I hope it will take a more sensible approach to this Nation's most pressing problem right now. For months, Senate Republicans put forward targeted proposals--first in September, again in October--that provided comprehensive coronavirus relief, that focused on the coronavirus. There were 52 Republicans who came to the floor of this Senate and voted in favor of the proposal. Not a single Democrat voted for it. It is our plan to get people back to work, to get kids back to school safely, and to put the disease behind us.

Just last week, Pfizer announced a vaccine that could be 90 percent effective in the fight against the coronavirus. This morning, it found out, with more testing and more time, that it will be, actually, 94\1/ 2\ percent effective. Now Moderna and the National Institutes of Health have developed a vaccine that is almost 95 percent effective. There are four other vaccines in the trials, and one of the Members of this body, the Senator from Ohio, is part of the trial of one of those. I believe additional vaccines will be coming down the pipeline as well.

It was a front-page story yesterday in every major paper in America-- the good news about vaccines and that the light at the end of the tunnel of the coronavirus is upon us.

Today there was an announcement of an at-home test for coronavirus-- very, very promising.

But when we think about the vaccine and why this all happened, Congress wisely invested $18 billion for vaccine treatment and for research, and it is paying off.

The Governor of New York, astonishingly, called this bad news. He said this is bad news. It had to do with the fact that this is coming out now, and he wanted it to wait for a couple of months, after a Presidential inauguration.

Why is it bad news that, through innovation and the work of the Cures Act, which came out of this body under the Republican majority and was then accepted by unanimous consent in the House--why is it bad news that we may be able to save millions, if not tens of millions, of lives all around the world? Why is it bad news, as the Governor of New York calls it? Why is it bad news that American invention and innovation and an investment by this body has brought about such a tremendous--what I would call as a doctor--modern medical miracle?

Now, we still need to provide additional funding for vaccine distribution, and there is going to be a briefing tomorrow for all the Senators on both sides of the aisle with Operation Warp Speed to talk with the heads of research and distribution about how to make sure we can continue on this path to success--a path that the New York Times yesterday described as one that could lead to 20 million people being vaccinated before the end of this year. Bad news, says the Governor of New York, because it came this year rather than after January 20.

It is distressing that an elected official would behave that way, in such a callous manner toward the lives, as well as the livelihood, of so many Americans.

We still have work to do. At every turn, Democrats have blocked our path. They are keeping us stuck and America stuck in this coronavirus crisis by demanding funding for things unrelated to coronavirus, per the Speaker of the House. You say: Oh, no, she wanted this $3 trillion for all sorts of things unrelated to coronavirus. She has more money in that bill to send direct paychecks to illegal immigrants--people in this country illegally--than she does for coronavirus vaccines.

That is the kind of opposition and leftist thinking that we have been running into here in this body and that the American people rejected on election day and said: No, we want a path forward. We want to continue the great American comeback. We want our jobs. We want our kids. We want that path forward.

There is still more work to be done, and we are ready to do it.

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