“We need to make sure when Americans wake up tomorrow, they don't have that same fear and trepidation about the disease and their family's wellbeing. We need to take that decisive action today. The time for politics is beyond us.”
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) spoke on the Senate floor about Senate Democrats blocking the bill to bring economic relief during the coronavirus pandemic.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I just heard my friend and colleague from West Virginia to say there's no reason to vote today. There is a lot of reason to vote today.
“It's a country affected by disease. People waking up anxious, scared, afraid of the disease -- afraid of the disease and the economic consequences that are there. There are a lot of reasons to vote today.
“And every member of this Senate needs to stand up and be counted and for the Senator from West Virginia to say I wouldn't be for this, I don't know where that's coming from.
“Well, just read the papers that are coming out of the Democrat house. Just read the papers of the demands by the Democrats to muck up a bill that is designed as a rescue operation for the American people.
“That's where the problem is. We need to vote today again and again and again until we provide the relief, the rescue that the American people need.
“That's why we have a dozen Republicans on this side ready to speak, standing at podiums ready to speak and you don't right now have even a single Democrat on the floor to defend their position because it is indefensible.
“That's where we are. We had Nancy Pelosi flying back from California because she sent the House home a week ago. They're not here.
“To defeat the work that we've done in a bipartisan way and to say oh, you've done nice work. Now look at our list of - a laundry list of things that we are demanding. Tax credits for solar panels, wind turbines, a bailout of the Postal Service. You can go through this list. Portions of the Green New Deal.
“I'm a doctor. I've been on the phone with doctors around the country, with my colleagues at the Wyoming Medical Center. They were working double time, through the weekend. Day and night.
“The nurses, the doctors, the health care providers. They need help. They're looking to us for help. They need tests. They need masks. They need respirators. They need hope, hope that there will be a vaccine. Hope that there will be a treatment.
Those things are in this bill that the Democrats voted to block last night and the Democrats voted to block again today. And that's only the health care component of it.
“Our economy cannot be unleashed again until after we get the health care component behind it.
“But our colleagues, our friends, our neighbors, people we know in our home states woke up today, woke up today not being able to go to work, not being able to know if they're going to have a paycheck, not being able to know if they're going to be able to pay their bills, not being able to know if they'll be able to feed their families or get food if it's available, if they can have the money to pay for it, and yet we're ready to provide relief.
“They need it immediately. They don't need it after the Democrats block again and again and again. The senator from West Virginia said I don't know why we voted today, that's why we voted today.
“That's why we need to keep voting. Because the American people need relief and they need it now. This is our duty station and we're prepared to stay here until we get this done.
“But to go through all of this - and I've talked to a small business owner, has a restaurant, been there for 37 years. She doesn't know how she is going to make payroll. She never closed her door other than for snowstorms in Wyoming. Successful restaurant, very good to the people that work there. She doesn't know how to pay for the food that was delivered at the end of last week. She doesn’t know how she is going to pay the help.
“This bill takes care of so much of that. Blocked by the Democrats today.
“We have a good program for small businesses. It's really good. It was worked on in a bipartisan way. But yet it's being blocked by the Democrats who blocked even the motion to proceed to the bill.
“Businesses all across the country employ people regardless of the size. It's the people that need the jobs. A job is part of somebody's identity. People who work realize how important it is to who they are.
“They feel a sense of productivity. People I know aren't looking for a check. They just want a job. They want to work. They're ready to produce. And they can't.
“Why? Because a disease has struck America and the government, not the economy, the government has said we're going to shut down this economy and the government has a responsibility to provide relief, to rescue those people, to provide immediate relief.
“And every Democrat came to the floor voting against doing that last night and again this morning.
“We need to continue to vote. This bill is about our health care system. It's about our economy. It's about money in people's pockets who through no fault of their own are finding themselves in a position they've never been in before ever.
“When they can't go out, knock on the door and say hire me, I'm ready to go to work. Whether it's a farmer, rancher, anyone, they can't do that today because the government says you may not. You stay home.
“You might have a good job, a job you love. You can't go it today. Monday, we want everyone to work on a Monday. Not in America on this Monday.
“And so there's a role and responsibility of us to step in and do what the role of government ought to be in this case of crisis. The crisis caused by both a disease and the economy, the government's action to shut down the economy, and yet, Democrats one after another continue to block it.
“And they're not blocking it for things that have to do with actually helping the American people. It is a wish list, a liberal wish list.
“It is astonishing they are delaying direct assistance so they can play to the liberal left. The extremists, the environmental extremists, the labor special interests.
“We're here trying to fight for the man and woman on the street in our hometowns, and yet they're fighting for the Green New Deal. Bernie Sanders may have lost to Joe Biden, but the Green New Deal of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and that entire crew is alive and well in the democratic cloakroom and is controlling the actions today on the floor of the United States Senate.
“They want to put up an entire cap-and-trade system for the airline industry. That's a worthy debate to have, but not on this bill.
“They want to expand tax credits for wind and for solar power. That's a debate that is worthy of being held, but not on this bill today.
“That's not going to help one person who's having problems breathing to get a respirator that they need. That's what's holding this up.
“We know that Nancy Pelosi has been pushing this extreme environmental agenda from the moment she cut the deal to remain as Speaker and said to the liberals I will do what you want if you just allow me to be Speaker again.
“And now, through a letter that she has written to the Democrats, she is bragging that she is carrying the flag for the Democrats' agenda.
“The Speaker is pushing for diversity on corporate boards, for collective bargaining, for election reform. There are proposals here in her proposal she said I'm going to go write the bill - requiring early voting, requiring same-day voter registration.
“Where does that fit into a bill to rescue the American people who right now find themselves in the throes of a disease that may kill them and an economy that has been shut down?
“That's why the Democrats aren't on this floor, because what they are doing cannot be defended.
“So I would just say - and I would appeal to my colleagues, let us do the work of the Senate. It is time for everyone to stand up and be responsible.
“Let us get this done. Let us get this passed. The days for political games are now behind us.
“Everyone who's watching should understand the House of Representatives is not in town. They have been gone for a week. Only Nancy Pelosi just flew back from California to throw a monkey wrench into the works.
“And we need to get this done. We failed a cloture vote last night, blocked by the Democrats, and at that time we found that one of our colleagues had tested positive for coronavirus.
“We failed a cloture vote today, blocked by the Democrats again, when we learned that the spouse of one of our colleagues is hospitalized on oxygen with the same disease that is hitting the entire country.
“We can litigate the Green New Deal another day. Americans' lives and livelihoods are at stake.
“That is the situation we are at today as a nation. We could litigate election reform another day. We can debate diversity on corporate boards, airline fuel standards. We can do all of that another day. We can talk about cap and trade another day.
“America needs now to know how we as a nation will survive from the standpoint of our health and our economy. We need immediate relief.
“The bill on the floor accomplishes that. We need to make sure when Americans wake up tomorrow, they don't have that same fear and trepidation about the disease as well as their family's well-being.
“We need to take that decisive action today. The time for politics is beyond us.
“We need to vote today, and we need to pass this today.”