“It is our job to do everything that we can to get people back to work, and back to work safely. The physical and economic health of our country is at stake today.”
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 the Senate returning to work to help America safely reopen as soon as possible.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I come to the floor today as the Senate returns to help the country recover from coronavirus.
“This global pandemic is hopefully a once-in-a-lifetime, once-in-a-century shock. It has been an earthquake that continues to shake the world to its core.
“Tragically, we have lost tens of thousands of Americans to the disease, and our hearts go out, as well as our prayers, to each of those impacted and all of their loved ones.
“More than 30 million Americans have lost their jobs in the last six weeks due to the virus and due to the state lockdowns that we put in place as a result of the virus.
“People want and they need to get back to work as soon as possible.
“It’s vital that we reopen America smartly and safely, and we do it as soon as we can.
“Many states are starting to open. Wyoming did this past Friday.
“I will tell you, we must all be prepared and alert for any likely aftershocks that will occur from the virus.
“The economy could not reopen had it not been for the major medical progress that we’ve been experiencing.
“Our heroic nurses, our heroic doctors and others on the frontlines have saved many lives.
“Testing in the United States has been dramatically expanded. And we are producing promising treatments.
“The American people deserve a lot of credit for their tremendous sacrifices to contain the spread of the virus.
“Everyone in my home state of Wyoming is suffering from the economic fallout – as are Americans all across the country.
“The best way to help these people is to push the start button on the economy.
“The Senate is in session and will consider taking additional targeted, temporary and bipartisan relief measures.
“We are now assessing the impact of the relief money that’s already been spent.
“Now, we do know what has worked. We know that the Paycheck Protection Program, the funds that go to the mom and pop small businesses that are part of the CARES Act, has saved 30 million jobs.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, the engine of job creation.
“And in Wyoming, the program has been very successful and very popular.
“Before the pandemic, the United States had record job growth and record-low unemployment.
“Our economy will bounce back. There is no question in my mind.
“As we look to the future in terms of recovery legislation – what we need to do is to prevent a second epidemic.
“And I have great concern that the second epidemic will be that of frivolous coronavirus lawsuits.
“Any future legislation must focus on the virus and must include reasonable liability protections for the hard-hit health care workers and for American employers.
“Opportunistic trial lawyers are already advertising and they are targeting the same health care workers and the same small businesses that we have assisted during the crisis.
“Ironically, the relief money could end up lining the pockets of greedy trial lawyers.
“As businesses bravely begin to reopen, class-action lawsuits are being planned nationwide.
“Ambulance chasers are running recruitment ads right now that read: ‘Receive a Free Coronavirus Lawsuit Review.’ It goes on to say, call ‘if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and believe another party’s negligence caused exposure.’
“Nursing homes appear to be the prime target. An ad from one Florida lawyer who describes himself as ‘coronavirus exposure lawyer’ encourages action for ‘nursing home negligence.’
“That’s why nurses, doctors and hospitals are counting on Congress to pass commonsense liability reform.
“Yet Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer say they oppose this critical liability protection.
“Instead, Democrats are demanding more aid for states and local governments.
“They want American taxpayers to bail out states with long histories of financial mismanagement.
“That’s already on top of the $150 billion that the states have just received within the last two weeks. Nancy Pelosi now wants a lot, lot, more.
“We have put the full force of the American government in this fight against coronavirus.
“We cannot afford to allow an avalanche of abusive lawsuits to crush our awakening economy.
“Republicans will insist on a legal shield for essential workers and for businesses before spending another dime.
“It is our job to do everything that we can to get people back to work, and back to work safely.
“The physical and economic health of our country is at stake today.
“We are continuing to deliver financial support plus medical help to all people across the country.
“One thing is clear: Trial lawyers should not profit from our nation’s pain.
“Together, America will come back, and Americans will come back, and it will be stronger and better than ever.”