Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) suggested during a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday that the latest version of the economic relief package is minimally different from the original measure Democrats rejected and added that he will “leave it to others to compare” the two and “determine whether the last few changes really required or merited three days of delay.”
McConnell said during his floor speech that he originally emphasized four “urgent priorities” for Senate legislation to help the nation get through the crisis. Those included direct financial assistance to the American people, aid to small businesses to keep paychecks flowing, and measures to both stabilize key industries to prevent mass layoffs and flood more recourses into the “frontline healthcare battle itself.”
One week ago, McConnell said, the Senate GOP laid out a proposal that “tackled each of these emergency missions” and noted that the proposals “remain the central building blocks” of the legislation they have today.
McConnell said, noting the creation of the bipartisan working groups that worked “literally around the clock” to make the bill even stronger:
Our nation needed us to go big and go fast and they did. The created policies our chairman crafted in just a couple of days time remain the central building blocks of the proposal we will pass today. But Republicans knew the nation had no time — no time — for conventional political gamesmanship.
By Sunday, the majority leader said, they had a bill from “both sides.”
“Republicans and Democrats had worked together to dramatically strengthen and rework unemployment insurance during this crisis. We worked together to ensure lower-income families could receive the full cash assistance and on and on,” he said, again hinting that the bill they will vote on is not much different than the original measure that Democrats rejected days ago.
Instead, Democrats opted to pursuit radical legislation covering a flurry of progressive policy agendas unrelated to the crisis at hand.
“Mr. President, I’ll leave it to others to compare the bipartisan Sunday bill to the final version we will pass today and determine whether the last few changes really required or merited three days of delay — three days of delay in the face of this worsening crisis,” he emphasized.
Despite the partisan turmoil over the last few days, McConnell said the Senate will pass the historic relief package today:
Struggling Americans are going to go to their mailboxes and find four-figure checks to help with their bills. Why? Because the Senate stepped up. Many American families who poured everything into a restaurant or a shop or a small manufacturer are going to keep making payroll and keep their businesses alive, because this Senate stepped up. Hundreds of thousands of workers in key sectors, who might well have been laid off through no fault of their own, will instead get to keep their job and continue their career, because this Senate stepped up. And for the health care heroes who leave their own sleeping children and drive to the hospital for an all night shift, who spend hour after hour healing the sick, comforting strangers and literally battling this disease, there will be more masks in their supply closets, more funding for their hospitals, and soon more new treatments to administer to their patients, because this senate stepped up.
The legislation itself cannot defeat the crisis, McConnell stressed, but it can provide relief to Americans, who will ultimately beat the virus.
“No this fight is not going to be won or lost in Washington,” he added. “It’s the American people who will beat this virus.”