“The Republicans will hold the line on reckless spending. We need to keep the next relief bill to no more than $1 trillion, and we need to ensure that the bill only includes things directly related to the coronavirus.”
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 reckless spending and the partisan obstruction by Democrats in trying to pass the next piece of coronavirus relief legislation.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I want to start by addressing a few of the things that the Minority Leader, Senator Schumer, discussed this morning.
“Senator Schumer last week, twice, blocked an extension of the federal unemployment bonus payments.
“Twice the Democrat leader threw his hands up and he said no. No, Democrats will not support an extension of these benefits, he said, at any level.
“Why? Well, he said he wants Republicans to pass his leader’s bill. His leader is Nancy Pelosi.
“It is partisan, and it is bloated.
“Senator Schumer likes to talk about some of the things in the Speaker’s bill, but he carefully avoids much of it. Because one third of the spending is completely unrelated to coronavirus, a full one third.
“Senator Schumer says we remain far apart. He said the differences are ‘between priorities and scale’.
“Well let’s look at some of the priorities in the bill that he supports: direct payment checks to illegal immigrants, taxpayer funded abortions, changes to election laws – permanently, tax breaks for the wealthy in New York and in California, millions and millions more for environmental justice, the national endowment for the arts, a long, long list.
“The Minority Leader’s statement was full of metaphors and analogies this morning, but he had very little if any substance.
“The votes that we had last week were not what he said, sham votes, they were real votes that would have extended real money to real people all over the country.
“The answer by Senate Democrats according to their Senate Democrat leader is a larger federal government. That’s what they’re proposing.
“Now the Minority Leader used the analogy of a leaky faucet. He said that we have to take care of the flood. He never mentioned actually fixing the faucet.
“Their bill does exactly that. Never gets to fixing the problem. It just gives Americans a larger government.
“Now the Republican plan provides ten times more for vaccine development and distribution then what the Democrats have passed in the House. It actually gets at beating the virus.
“The Democrats say they are rescuing schools and small businesses, but their bill actually zeroes out the Paycheck Protection Program and provides less money for schools.
“And as for understanding the needs of the country, Senate Republicans have passed, in a bipartisan way, $3 trillion dollars in relief. Well half of that is still unspent.
“And on the state and local government side, it is ironic to hear the Minority Leader mention all of his preferred public service workers, but not once in that discussion did he mention police officers. That’s because the platform of the Democrats now really is to defund the police, and this at a time when the murder rate in his own home town, New York City, is at a record level.
“So I come to the floor to discuss the reckless spending and the partisan obstruction by the Democrat party.
“It is the path that they have chosen to deal with coronavirus. It’s the Speaker’s $3 trillion runaway spending spree. Speaker Pelosi says it’s her way or the highway.
“And the Senate Democrat leader, her deputy, Chuck Schumer, has been 100% behind her political stunt.
“At the same time, the Democrats are ignoring what the American people tell us they want and they need.
“They want to resume their lives. People want to resume their lives safely and sensibly. To do so they need a safe work environment, they need a safe effective vaccine, they need their jobs back and they need their kids in school.
“Republicans are doing everything that we can to provide this.
“This time of soaring national debt, we must make sure that every penny we spend is focused on the disease and the recovery.
“Congress has already approved nearly $3 trillion in combined coronavirus aid.
“When the Senate passed the bipartisan CARES Act it was the largest rescue package in U.S. history.
“Over $1 trillion of the relief money has still not been spent, and at the same time, millions of people who lost their jobs in lockdowns remain out of work. Schools and small businesses face challenges in reopening as well.
“So Congress needs to act, and we need to act now.
“We want to support people who are most in need and to do it in a way that encourages, not discourages, work.
“According to a University of Chicago study, two out of three unemployed people are currently making more at home than they would at work. That’s due to this $600 per week bonus payment. It’s not commonsense.
“So last week when Republicans offered a sensible compromise, Democrats rejected it out of hand.
“They want to continue paying people more to stay home than they would make at work.
“Democrat leaders are holding the unemployed hostage. As they say, leverage in their negotiations with the White House.
“Once again the Democrats are putting politics above people, slowing the economic recovery and destroying millions of jobs in the process.
“Senate Republicans, meanwhile, introduced serious relief legislation.
“The Republican legislation: targeted, tailored to the emergency. Our bill provides resources for health care, for kids, for jobs. We safely reopen the economy. We safely reopen schools. And we fund testing, treatment and vaccines.
“We provide liability protection. We shield the medical community – K-12 schools, colleges, universities – small businesses from frivolous coronavirus lawsuits.
“We already see greedy trial lawyers trying to profit from the nation’s pain. Over four thousand lawsuits have already been filed. An avalanche of abusive coronavirus lawsuits will flatten and flat line the economy as it just tries to awaken.
“So we continue to put health, safety, and well-being of the American public first.
“We’re doing everything we can to defeat the virus, and we contrast our serious efforts with Speaker Pelosi’s pricey, partisan pipe dream.
“If enacted, her so-called HEROES Act would be a huge waste of taxpayer money, the largest waste of taxpayer money in U.S. history.
“In fact, her bill costs more than all previous coronavirus legislation combined.
“It may be her dream, it would be a nightmare for the American public.
“We can go through the things that are in the Democrats’ wish list, and anything I would say here would just be the tip of the iceberg.
“But let me remind you what Politico reported when the bill passed the House. It said, ‘It’s a Democrat wish list filled up with all the party’s favored policies’.
“National Public Radio said, ‘The bill marks a long wish list for Democrats.’
“And the New York Times said, ‘The bill was more a messaging document than a viable piece of legislation.’
“Government doesn’t have a spending problem so much as an overspending problem, and it’s on full display right now as the Democrats promote runaway spending, spending that is unrelated to the challenge before us.
“Speaker Pelosi is wasting our nation’s time on a far left fantasy that does not have a single chance in the world of becoming law.
“So let me be clear, the Republicans will hold the line on reckless spending. We need to keep the next relief bill to no more than $1 trillion, and we need to ensure that the bill only includes things directly related to the coronavirus.
“I’m ready to act now. It’s essential we get this right. And for the good of the country, this wild, willful, wasteful spending by the Democrats has to stop.”