U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act:
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The American people are watching this spectacle. I’m told the future’s market is down five percent. I’m also told that that’s when trading stops. So the notion that we have time to play games here with the American economy and American people is utterly absurd. So I want to explain what just happened. Our good friends on the other side would not be disadvantaged one bit if this vote succeeded. Because it would have required potentially 30 more hours of discussion. During which, these seemingly endlessly negotiations could go on as long as they would like. Now the build up to this, so everybody fully understands, is that we had a high level of bipartisanship in five different working groups over the last 48 hours. Where members who were participating were reaching agreement. And then all of a sudden, the Democratic leader and the Speaker of the House shows up. And we’re back to square one. So we’re fiddling here. Fiddling with the emotions of the American people, fiddling with the markets, fiddling with our health care. The American people expect us to act tomorrow and I want everyone to fully understand, if we aren’t able to act tomorrow, it’ll be because of our colleagues on the other side continuing to dither when the country expects us to come together and address this problem. Now, I’ve changed my vote which gives me the opportunity to reconsider at a different time. That is all I can do in the face of this obstruction. Look, I can understand obstruction when you’re trying to achieve something. This obstruction achieves nothing, nothing whatsoever other than prevent us from getting into a position where there are literally 30 more hours that they could use to continue to dither. So at a time when the country is crying out for bipartisanship and cooperation — and we saw that over the last 48 hours when regular members of the Senate, not in the leadership office, not in the speaker’s office, for goodness sake, she’s the speaker of the House, not the speaker of the senate — we don’t have one. We were doing just fine until that intervention. So I want the American people to fully understand what’s going on here. The markets are already reacting to this outrageous nonsense. We have an obligation to the American people to deal with this emergency and deal with It tomorrow. And if we don’t, I want everyone to fully understand, you’ve seen everyone that’s on record. Now I’ve conspicuously avoided trying to turn this into any partisan effort for two days. But it’s pretty clear what’s going on here. And we’ll have this cloture vote again at some point of my choosing. And hopefully, some adults will show up on the other side of the room and understand the gravity of the situation. The need to act before the markets go down further and the American people become even more depressed about our lack of ability to come together under the most extraordinary circumstances – we’ve never been confronted with anything like this before. It is totally different — and we’re not immune to it in terms of the public health risk. Coronavirus has hit the Senate today too. We have five members in self-quarantine. Everybody understands the emergency, particularly when it hits close to home. It’s not just back in our states but right here in the Senate. So I would say to my colleagues on the other wise of the aisle, step up, help us reach an agreement so we can do what needs to be done for the American people, no later than tomorrow.