Fighting Back: “Democrats will continue to use truth as our guide.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) reminding everyone that Democrats rely on science and data to guide our policies.

(Rep. Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi, the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, discussed the urgent need for widespread testing, data on impact in communities of color and equipment for health care workers and first responders.)

“Before we move forward, we must get to the truth. The truth is that the response to this pandemic has not been as stellar as the President keeps repeating. The truth is there is much more we need to fix now to get it right.

“If we are to succeed in this crisis and work together, we must use the truth as our guide. While we have hard days ahead, we must rely on science and data and follow the directions of the health experts and doctors.

“What we do in the coming weeks will be key to our recovery. You can be sure that House Democrats will continue to use the truth, as we put workers and families first.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: Chairman Bennie Thompson Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Hello, my name is Congressman Bennie Thompson from the 2nd District of Mississippi. I serve as the Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security.

“The coronavirus pandemic is one of the most challenging adversaries our country has faced. Many Americans have faced unimaginable grief. Millions of families are unsure about their future. All Americans have changed their daily lives and are worried about the health of our loved ones.

“We must thank the thousands of health care workers, first responders and other essential workers who are helping us get through this. They are our heroes. I also thank all of you for following social distancing guidelines and for following the orders of your home states. While there are many challenges ahead, we are hoping that the darkest days may be behind us.

“But before we move forward, we must get to the truth. The truth is that the response to this pandemic has not been as stellar as the President keeps repeating. The truth is there is much more we need to fix now to get it right.

“First is testing. Congress worked together over six weeks ago to pass legislation for better testing. Despite promises from the Administration on testing since the beginning of March, we are still behind on testing. This has hurt our ability to get ahead of the virus.

“So far, only one percent of the country has been tested.

“We hear stories every day about people waiting in line overnight to get tested. We hear processing backlogs mean many don’t get results for weeks. And this week fewer were tested than last week. This is not right.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen no leadership from the President. He is quick to put all blame and responsibility for testing on the states. This is not true and is not the American way. The truth is, we need a whole-of-government response for a nationwide crisis. All our states are in crisis and need federal assistance. The truth is, without widespread testing, we cannot resume our lives.

“Next, with proper testing, we must also compile the necessary data on how COVID-19 is affecting different communities.

“It has become clear that this disease disproportionately impacts communities of color.

“If we want to address disparities in outcomes and move forward, we need the Administration to work with states to document the relevant data and share it.

“We also must make sure that our health care workers and first responders have the necessary PPE and medical supplies and equipment they still need.

“We had an emergency response system at the ready to properly, quickly and equitably distribute supplies. However, the Administration has upended this system, putting political actors where experienced professionals once were. Their efforts have been wrought with chaos, delays and accusations of political bias.

“States were told they were on their own – only to see the Administration outbidding them and rerouting their shipments. No state should have to compete with other states or the Federal government to get what they need.

“If we are to succeed in this crisis and work together, we must use the truth as our guide. While we have hard days ahead, we must rely on science and data and follow the directions of the health experts and doctors.

“What we do in the coming weeks will be key to our recovery. You can be sure that House Democrats will continue to use the truth, as we put workers and families first.

“Thank you for listening and be safe.”

Any bolding has been added.

~

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference from Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Speaker Pelosi. Hello, everyone.

It’s sad to be with you at this unbearably heartbreaking time for all Americans. Nearly 650,000 Americans have been diagnosed, more than 28,000 have tragically died, more than 22 million unemployment claims have been filed.

More emergency services are desperately needed now to protect the lives and the livelihoods of the American people. We all know that.

This is a time that we’ve come through this past week of Passover and Easter and now Ramadan – a time of prayer and reflection and as I said, just a time of unbearable sadness for the American people.

We’re listening. Democrats are listening to the millions crying out for assistance. I’m very proud of our Members. They’ve been having their tele-town hall meetings, tele-meetings in terms of listening to their constituents, faith-based organizations, health care workers, food delivery – all of elements that are keeping America going at this time. And we know that there are still big needs.

The hospitals, state and local governments are on the front lines of this crisis. They’re running out – have been running out of money and desperately need emergency infusion of additional funds to care for patients and prevent greater spread and death.

They also need the PPP – PPE, the personal protective equipment, in order to protect themselves, to save their lives, as they save other lives.

The small businesses, particularly in underserved communities in rural and urban areas remain unable to get the financial help they need due to challenges accessing the Paycheck Protection Program, which is running out of money this morning. It is fully committed, and the money is being spent – they need more money.

Workers and families need national rapid testing, and this is so important – testing, testing, testing. And personal protective equipment, as I mentioned, they need that so we can stop the spread of the virus. We also need to collect and publish demographic data to direct resources to those who need it most, particularly the communities of color who are disproportionately impacted.

I say that as kind of a – a bit of a status – a report of what I hear from our Members, as to where we are and where we need to go.

We have been proud to say again and again, passed three bills in the month of March, all strongly bipartisan. The first bill, March 4th, we wrote it in – prepared it in [February], brought it to the Floor at the very beginning of March – March 4th. Testing, testing, testing. Nearly a month and half later we still – the Administration has failed the test of testing. And that is a problem, because everything that we want to do, whether it’s open up government or make – our first and foremost, stop the spread of this terrible plague, depends on testing, testing, testing. And so that is something that requires our full attention.

Again, the next bill was about equipment. Masks, masks, masks. We wanted to make sure that there were not obstacles to the equipment getting out there. It’s still a challenge.

And then the third bill, the CARES 1 bill. I was very proud of working together to put that together, because we – Democrats believe – House and Senate Democrats working together to flip this from a corporate trickle-down bill to a workers-first, bubble-up bill. And we are proud of the product of it, and we want it to work. Of course, we didn’t get everything we wanted, but that’s what a compromise is about.

And the Paycheck Protection Program is one we’re very proud of. I’m particularly proud, to use the word again, of our Chair Nydia Velázquez of the Small Business Committee, who was very instrumental in shaping that initiative.

But as she had said all along, for it to work, we need data, data, data to see how it’s working and for whom it’s working. In any event, it has been – funds have been committed. There is a need for more, but there is also a need for other elements of the CARES Act, like the grants program for small businesses and the disaster assistance relief for small businesses. So, that is the conversation that we are having now.

We are big believers in small business. Democrats believe that the most optimistic thing you can do is to start a small business, as you have heard me say before – except maybe get married. You can weigh those equities carefully. I’m sure that’s easier than starting a small business, which is – takes courage and takes credit, and we want to make sure that these people have access – everybody in the small business arena has access to credit. We do not want the billions of dollars spent in the CARES 1 Act, which we fully support, but we do not want it to perpetuate the disparity of access to credit for some of our businesses.

But immediate in the lives of everyone in our country is the need for us to have more funding for the hospitals and for the health – the state and local governments, whether talking about health care workers, police and fire, EMS, food delivery – all of that. We really need to recognize the danger that some people are in as they try to help us. And state and local and hospital are two arenas in which we must have more resources placed.

So, that is where we are right now. We’re having a discussion. We wanted to negotiate on how we could do more for hospitals, state and local government – that is police, fire, education, etcetera, as well as recognizing the revenue loss for many of these states and municipalities. It is about their outlays for the coronavirus. It’s also about their revenue loss because of the coronavirus that we need to address.

So, right now, we are in those negotiations. My staff and the staff of Mr. – Leader Schumer spoke with Secretary Mnuchin yesterday and will do so again today. We want to, again, we want to support what we did with PPE, but we want to make sure that as it gets more money, many more people get access to the credit. There had been some questions asked about the money being committed, but we haven’t – many of us have not received it. So, that’s all, as I said, back to Chairwoman Velázquez saying that we want – we want the data.

In terms of the state and local government, the U.S. Conference of Mayors endorsed our proposal saying, ‘Cities are right now being faced with having to make decisions that include laying off employees, cutting budgets and reducing or eliminating critically needed services. At the same time, we are being called on to help lead the fight against the pandemic.’ That is the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The National Governors Association Chairman Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican, has urged Congress to appropriate assistance to the states and territories to meet shortfalls from the crisis, writing, ‘Without sufficient federal relief, states will have to confront the prospect of significant reduction in essential services, which will in turn devastate the economic recovery and our efforts to get people back to work.’

So, hopefully our negotiations that are proceeding now are respectful and championing small businesses, but recognizing that there are other aspects of our economy that will affect small businesses as well.

So, again, it started off sadly. That is what we will come back to. Very sadly, instead of focusing on the needs of the American people during this crisis, the President continues to wage an assault on the truth. On Tuesday, I sent a letter to the Democratic Caucus that said, ‘In order to move forward, we must first understand the truth of what has been put – what put us into this position.’

And I enumerated some of the truth that Donald Trump dismantled, the infrastructure. He ignored the warnings about the pandemic, he told his most loyal followers it was a hoax and would magically disappear, that we – the truth is we did not have proper testing available in March, despite his repeated claiming that we did. Even now, we do not have adequate tests, masks, PPE and necessary equipment, which creates unnecessary death and suffering. And the truth is because of an incompetent reaction to this health crisis, the strong economy handed to Donald Trump is now a disaster, causing the suffering of countless Americans and endangering lives. I skimmed over some of that. I’m sure you have seen my letter. And then I say very confidently and sadly, ‘The truth is a weak person, a poor leader takes no responsibility. A weak person blames others.’ So, you see the President blaming the WHO, blaming this, blaming that and the rest of it.

As we go into what comes next, we hope that Leader McConnell will show the respect to the facts for the needs of the American people and join in passing this interim relief package.

And as we do so, we are preparing CARES 2, which must be transformative, far reaching and extend and expand the bipartisan CARES 1 Act. We still hope to have a second CARES bill in short order in the coming weeks. It is called CARES 2. In my view it should be called CARES 2, because it builds on CARES 1 with confidence and respect to what we did in a bipartisan way there.

Again, a lot of the focus now is on small businesses. And they are the lifeblood of our economy, a creator of jobs, a creator of wealth in our country. And we want to be sure that they have the resources they need. We want data to show how it is being implemented. And also we want it to be for everyone.

Today, again, I quote from Pope – from the Pope’s Easter Monday mass, when he said, ‘Today, let us pray for government leaders, scientist and politicians, who are beginning to study a way out of the pandemic. May they find the right way always for the good of their people.’

I started off my conversation with Mr. Mnuchin a few weeks ago with the Pope’s earlier quote. I end this conversation with his most recent one regarding government leadership, scientists and politicians’ responsibility to find the right way always for the good of the people.

With that, I am pleased to take any questions that you may have

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

When Democrats need expertise for their important committees, they don’t have to look far – Speaker Pelosi taps a former HHS secretary who is now a Representative from Florida.

Pelosi Appoints Congresswoman Donna Shalala to Congressional Oversight Commission of the CARES Act

April 17, 2020
San Francisco – Speaker Nancy Pelosi today announced the appointment of Congresswoman Donna Shalala to serve on the Congressional Oversight Commission, a key oversight body of the historic $2 trillion CARES Act.

“Congresswoman Donna Shalala is a deeply respected and highly accomplished leader in the Congress and country, who has for decades led the fight to defend the health and economic security of the American people at the highest levels of government,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Her leadership as Secretary of Health and Human Services will serve the American people extremely well, as she works to ensure that this historic coronavirus relief package is being used wisely and efficiently to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people, and not be exploited by profiteers and price-gougers. Congressional Democrats transformed the CARES Act from a trickle-down corporate focus to a workers-first bill, and we must ensure that taxpayer dollars given to industry go to workers’ paychecks and benefits, not be used for CEO bonuses, stock buybacks or dividends.”

Background on Congresswoman Donna Shalala

Congresswoman Donna Shalala represents Florida’s 27th District, which includes the city of Miami and surrounding municipalities in Miami-Dade County. She has dedicated her life to public service and is the longest-serving Secretary of Health and Human Services in U.S. history.

In 1993, Congresswoman Shalala was nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), where she created, implemented and oversaw the Children’s Health Insurance Program, currently covering over 7.6 million children. In that position, she also succeeded in doubling the budget of the National Institute of Health and secured the highest immunization rates in American history. At the end of her eight-year tenure at HHS, a Washington Post article described her as “one of the most successful government managers of modern times.”

In 2007, President George W. Bush hand-picked her to co-chair with Senator Bob Dole the Commission on Care for Returning Wounded Warriors, tasked with evaluating how wounded service members transition from active duty to civilian life. In 2008, President Bush selected her as the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. Congresswoman Shalala has received the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights (2010), was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame (2011) and has more than five dozen honorary degrees.

She received her A.B. from Western College for Women and her Ph.D. from Syracuse University. A distinguished scholar and academic administrator, she served as President of Hunter College of the City University of New York, Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin—Madison, and President of the University of Miami. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has been elected to seven national academies, including the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education.

Background on the Congressional Oversight Commission

The Congressional Oversight Commission will oversee implementation of economic relief provisions, hold hearings and submit monthly reports to Congress. The Commission will report on the activities of the Treasury Secretary and the Federal Reserve, the impact of these activities on the economy and markets and the effectiveness of the measures taken under the Act. The five-member panel is selected by Senate Majority and Minority Leaders as well as the House Speaker and Minority Leader. Each Leader selects one representative. The Speaker and Senate Majority Leader jointly select the Chair of the Commission, the fifth and final seat.

~

Speaker Pelosi was on a cable TV channel for an interview on Friday and provided a transcript.

Transcript of Pelosi Interview on MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari Melber. Excerpt.

Ari Melber.There’s been a lot of debate over keeping the country closed for the most part according to medical expertise. The President though – I want to show some of the protests we’ve seen around the country. You’re familiar. Some of our viewers have seen this. Some of it quite heated when we look at the photography here and some of the videos of folks protesting in Michigan, gathering together. In some of this footage people will see the protesters themselves not following the distancing guidelines. Then the President making headlines tonight, Madam Speaker, New York Times reporting, ‘Trump Foments Anti-Restriction Protests, Alarming Governors.’ He was targeting, specifically, governors in Democratic states. Our viewers are seeing, again, some of that. What is your response to what the President is doing there?

Speaker Pelosi. I won’t take the bait. This is another example of the distraction that they want to make from the fact that the President has said that this pandemic was a hoax, and that’s not true. That the President said it will magically disappear, that’s not true.

Again and again, he was in denial and delay in dealing with this. This is just a distraction. Don’t fall for that. Don’t take the bait. […]

We need truth. We have to insist on the truth as to what this is. We must have testing. We must have contact tracing, so that we can stop this.

People know; the American people are wise. They know that this is a threat to the health and well-being of their families. Of course they want to get back to work and want to grow our economy.

But the fact is, is that they take the health and well-being of their families first and foremost. We can move forward. We can find a cure. We can find a vaccine. […]

I think delaying and denial were deadly. I think they cost lives. Let’s put whatever is behind us for an after-action review later, but we cannot allow the same falsehoods to be the basis for our decisions as we go forward. We must insist upon the truth, the lives of the American people depend on it.

Bolding added.

~

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  4 comments for “Fighting Back: “Democrats will continue to use truth as our guide.”

  1. JanF
    April 18, 2020 at 8:17 am

    Pelosi Statement on White House Guidelines for Reopening America

    April 16, 2020
    San Francisco — Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement on the White House’s new guidelines for reopening the country:

    “Testing is the key to opening our country to resume our lives. The White House’s vague and inconsistent document does nothing to make up for the President’s failure to listen to the scientists and produce and distribute national rapid testing.

    “The President’s continued insistence on moving forward without testing, contact tracing, demographic data collection and a respect for science and the facts risks further death and economic disaster.

    “On March 4th, the House passed our first bipartisan coronavirus response bill focusing on testing, testing, testing. Six weeks later, we still do not have adequate testing. Sadly, the President continues his assault on the truth and says that we have more testing than any other country, when just one percent of Americans have been tested.

    “For the good of the lives and livelihoods of the American people, we must insist on the truth.”

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  2. JanF
    April 25, 2020 at 8:32 am

    Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) delivered the Weekly Democratic Party address for the week ending April 25th. Here is the tweeted out link with captions (in lieu of transcript):

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  3. JanF
    April 25, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Speaker Pelosi’s Dear Colleague letter outlining the path ahead:

    April 24, 2020

    Dear Democratic Colleague,

    Today, sadly our country passed the 50,000 mark of those who have lost their lives from the coronavirus. We are all shaken by that statistic, and we are all prayerful for the families affected.

    Yesterday, the House passed, with an overwhelming bipartisan vote, the interim coronavirus relief package – a package greatly expanded and improved by the leadership of our committee chairs, Nydia Velázquez of Small Business, Maxine Waters of Financial Services and Frank Pallone of Energy and Commerce.

    Thank you to our Caucus for being such strong voices to enable us to secure:

    – A more inclusive Paycheck Protection Program and urgently needed emergency loans and grants for our small businesses;
    – $75 billion desperately needed by hospitals and health care workers; and,
    – $25 billion for testing and requiring a national strategy which addresses racial, ethnic and geographic disparities.

    Yesterday, we also made progress by passing the legislation establishing the Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, the purpose of which is to ensure oversight of the nearly $3 trillion in expenditures for the coronavirus response. My thanks to our distinguished Majority Whip Jim Clyburn for bringing his great record of leadership to serve as chairman.

    Many thanks to the Attending Physician and Sergeant-at-Arms for making the participation of so many Members on the Floor possible in a safe way.

    I want to give you an update on plans for Member participation going forward. Last month, I asked Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern to develop a full report on remote voting, which he completed on March 23. This report was put forth to the whole House with the request for Member comment. I also asked Zoe Lofgren, Chair of the Committee on House Administration, to assess the capabilities and vulnerabilities of various technology options.

    Last week, Chairman McGovern set forth his recommendation for remote voting by proxy and ways to operate committees, which was supported by Chair Lofgren. This week, I conveyed the interest in our Caucus in remote voting by proxy to Republican Leader McCarthy. Our view is not shared by all in Congress. We have agreed that Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Leader McCarthy, Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern and Ranking Member Tom Cole and House Administration Chair Zoe Lofgren and Ranking Member Rodney Davis confer this week about remote voting and also how committees will function. Leader McCarthy has told me and confirmed to the press that “I made a commitment to her that we would be able to look at that and get to that point.”

    Recognizing the need for your engagement, I have asked Chairman Hakeem Jeffries and Vice Chair Katherine Clark for time on a conference call in the days ahead to hear your views as we consider remote voting by proxy and how committees proceed.

    Thank you for your ongoing attention to the important policy debate and your involvement in how Congress can function at this challenging time.

    Stay well,
    Nancy

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  4. JanF
    April 25, 2020 at 8:42 am

    Speaker Pelosi’s press conference from 4/24/2020:

    Transcript: Pelosi Weekly Press Conference Today

    Speaker Pelosi. Good morning. Thank you for being here.

    And what a sad day. I know people, as am I, are quite shaken by the fact that we have passed the 50,000, number of people who have died from the coronavirus, mark. Over 50,000. The numbers are staggering, but each individual case is so heartbreaking.

    Yesterday, on the Floor, we heard about a five-year-old girl, her mother a police officer and her father a fire fighter. Five years old and she died of the coronavirus. And then we hear Maxine’s sister is dying. Senator Warren’s brother died. That is people we know, but people we don’t know, they are having the same kind of terrible grief in their families. So, our prayers and thoughts are with those who have lost their loved ones. Our prayers are with those who are diagnosed, over 900,000 people – approaching 900,000 people diagnosed. And also, 26 million having lost their jobs. Staggering numbers. Lots of personal and family grief.

    The conversation going on now is if we were to open government, how and when? As I have said, it should be science-based, science-based. Testing, testing, testing holds the key to opening the door to taking us from home into the economy. We had testing – everyone agrees, testing – well, not everyone. Scientists agree that testing, contact tracing and isolation are the path to opening up our economy.

    Since this has occurred, three times in March and then yesterday, the Congress has passed four bills in a bipartisan way to address the coronavirus crisis. The first one, March 4th, we wrote it in February and brought it to the Floor in the beginning of March, testing, testing, testing. That is what we talked about at that time. Still, a month and a half later we don’t have anywhere near the adequate testing or plans for it that we need. That is why we are so glad we had [this] provision in yesterday’s bill, which I will talk about in a moment. It is hard to even explain why we don’t have the testing, why we don’t have the kits, sufficient kits and we don’t have the reagents and the rest.

    So, yesterday brought us some hope, because we have $25 billion in testing in the bill for – and then we have a large amount of money for small businesses. We were especially pleased that we were able to get a set-aside for $60 billion for small businesses, shall we say, the underbanked, but businesses, small business: mom and pop, women and minorities, veterans, urban and rural area and tribal lands, Native Americans, all who have not made – were not first in line, shall we say, in the first round of this.

    I just want to say this, because I see something out there and I want to give light to it. You saw on the Floor, yesterday, the Members on the Floor saying, the Republicans saying, ‘We should have done this two weeks ago.’ Yes, we agree. We agree it should have been done two weeks ago. And the person who led their debate, the Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Brady, he said specifically, he said – it is just so stunning – he said, ‘We could have agreed on this in sixteen minutes. Republicans and Democrats. It got held up for all sorts of extracurricular stuff.’ ‘Extracurricular stuff.’

    A hundred billion dollars for hospitals and testing –$75 [billion] for hospitals, $25 [billion] for testing. $120 billion more for small businesses, $60 [billion] in the set aside, another $60 [billion] more for grants and loans from the Emergency Injury Disasters Loans. It is used by many for small business because it is faster to get them and you have a longer time to pay them off and a low interest rate. That was $60 billion, which is leveraged to over $300 billion in loans. $10 billion in grants – we wanted $15 [billion], we got $10 [billion]. We need much more, but nonetheless.

    $120 billion more for small business in addition to the $250 billion that – we all support and all helped create the PPE. We certainly support it, but we want to be sure we are not hardening the disparity in access to credit that exists in our society by spending hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money to not have access – fair access for everyone.

    So when they just say that ‘extracurricular stuff.’ Now, that ‘extracurricular stuff’ was by and large what we put forth on the Floor of the Senate. Remember the timetable.

    April 6th – no, April 7th, Secretary Mnuchin called me and said, ‘I need a quarter of a trillion dollars in 48 hours for the PPP.’ Well, we all support the PPP, but, let’s see the data, how is this working? I’ll get back to you. The next day we got back to him with a plan. Democrats in the House and Senate putting together a plan that had just what we’re talking about now, a set aside for the smaller, underbanked community, the funding for hospital and testing, et cetera.

    And that was when Mitch McConnell took to the Floor, on the 9th. He went to the Floor two weeks ago and he said then, ‘This is it. $250 [billion]. Not one penny – $250 [billion], $250 [billion].’ He would not hear the objections raised by Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin of Maryland. They objected to the unanimous consent request he made and offered the amended version that contained what we passed yesterday and what he passed by unanimous consent on Tuesday. But for at least one more week, they resisted until the beginning of last weekend, when they agreed to negotiate.

    And here we have a bill that has the set-aside carveout for the smaller businesses, the increase in the loan and the grant program, $100 billion for hospitals and testing. ‘Extracurricular stuff’ to the Republicans. Vital to the life, and livelihood, and success of the American people.

    I just want to review that timetable because, when I heard Mitch on the Floor the other day, he was saying, ‘We have all these things that we asked for.’ No, you rejected. No, you rejected. But, speaking of Mitch, what’s gotten into him? Well, it’s an indication. The President is asking people to inject Lysol into their lungs and Mitch is saying that states should go bankrupt. It’s a clear, visible, within 24 hours, of how the Republicans reject science and reject governance. If you don’t believe in science and you don’t believe in governance, that is their approach.

    And we do not – we don’t want any more government than we need, but we know that governance has a role. And we know that science has a role. And without science in our decision-making, we are not going to be on a very successful path.

    So what did we do yesterday? We passed the – we strengthened the PPP program, the Paycheck Protection Program. It went from $250 [billion] to $310 [billion], that $60 [billion] as a set-aside. We increased the lending with the $50 billion leveraged to over 300, more like $350 billion in loans and $10 billion more in grants that don’t have to be paid back. $75 billion for resources to the front line including PPE, personal protective equipment, for providers, for hospitals and $25 billion for testing, we were pleased we were able to get language that called for national testing strategy – strategy, imagine that – to increase capacity and address geographic disparities.

    This is an interim bill. We were not planning on this. We had CARES 1 and we were getting ready for CARES 2, and then along came this bill. So, this bill followed the path of CARES 1. In one particular way, it did not. In CARES 1, we had $150 billion for state and local. We call them our heroes. State and local, they pay the living wages and salaries of our health care workers and public hospitals and the rest, police and fire, emergency services folks, first responders, our teachers, our teachers, our teachers, transit workers who enable people, the essential workers to get to work. And again we have to see what it means to the food workers, whether in grocery stores or carry out or chain stores, whatever. They are on the front line. They are visibly and physically exposed to the virus because of where they are. We have to do something about that. And not to do something, in my view, is morally wrong, it’s medically disastrous.

    We cannot defeat this pandemic if Mitch McConnell is letting our health heroes get fired. And that’s what is happening: they’re getting fired now. Chairman – excuse me, Leader Schumer mentioned the other day at a press event – some of you were there maybe, the other day – that hundreds have been fired from hospitals in New York already, public hospitals.

    Unfortunately, we are seeing Republicans make comments made with zero connection to science and facts. Let’s just put that behind us and let’s go forward in a way that gets the job done for the American people.

    I mentioned the President and his – what did he say? We can kill the virus by injecting disinfectants, like Lysol, into the body. Clearly and sadly, the President is not listening to medical experts. And I don’t know which ones he is listening to, if any. And as I said in my [Dear] Colleague last week, a few days ago, I said, ‘America must ignore his lies and start to listen to scientists and other professionals in order to protect ourselves and our loved ones.’

    So, again, if you wish, I can go over what we are hoping to do in CARES 2.

    But, I do appreciate the fact that so many Members came back, 388-5. That was the vote on the Floor for the bill. I am so appreciative of the Members, the staffs of the committees, Nydia Velázquez, Maxine Waters, Frank Pallone. They did a remarkable job in getting this done, this legislation. Plus, I want to thank the – all of the, shall we say, maintenance of the Capitol: the support staff on the Floor, the Capitol Physician’s office and the Sergeant-at-Arms who gave us our regimentation on how we could come to the Floor in a way that had as close to zero interaction with each other as possible, enabling Congress to take the vote, which was the – Republicans insisted upon and we were there. We had 210, 211, I think, Democrats who voted for it. And so I am very proud so many people made the effort to come, even though it was clear it would be a very big vote.

    In any event, we hope that – again, we had four bills, all bipartisan – that the CARES Act 2 will be bipartisan, as well. I especially was pleased that we were able to pass the legislation to establish the Select Committee to Address the Coronavirus Crisis, which will be Chaired by Chairman Clyburn. And I’ll answer any questions that you may have about that.

    Yes, ma’am.

    Questions and answers followed (at the link).

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