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tv   U.S. Senate Sen. Schumer on Covid Relief  CSPAN  September 12, 2020 6:07pm-6:27pm EDT

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senators who share the democratic leader's toxic attitude, who think the real enemy are their political opponents, i assume will follow his lead and vote no. they can tell american families they care more about politics than helping them. but senators who want to move forward will vote yes. they will vote to advance this process so they can shape it into a bipartisan product and make a law for the american people. that, madam president, is what working families need. they need us to act. they need us to legislate. today, they will see exactly who has theirr: we are. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: madam president, today the senate will take a rather pointless vote on the latest, highly partisan republican emaciated covid relief bill. the republican leader claims the bill is an attempt at a bipartisan solution but the bill was drafted solely by republicans, no input by democrats and rushed to the floor. mr. leader, go look up in the dictionary what bipartisanship is. it's both parties working together, not your party doing a bill and then saying it's bipartisan. what the leader has done, the republican leader, is no one's idea of bipartisanship, not even his own members. and let's go over history. he's done this trick before. covid 2, covid 3, covid 3.5. in each case the republicans came out, the leader came out saying this is his own bill, saying this is the only bill that will pass. democrats are blocking it. democrats held strong. and what happened? we got much better bills with many of the things we wanted.
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we got truly bipartisan bills once the leader determined that he had to negotiate with democrats to pass something. that will happen again. there's a decent chance that will happen again. but this bill is not going to happen because it is so emaciated, so filled with poison pills, so partisanly designed, it was designed to fail. now the republican leader claims the vote this week will expose democratic obstruction and delay, november one of these -- another one of these alice in wonderland type statements. of course democrats weren't the ones who said let's put the senate on pause. who said that? democrats didn't say let's wait and see. who said that? democrats didn't delay for four months while the nation suffered. in fact, the house passed a bill with the broad support of senate democrats. and so while the president was
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lying to the american people about the coronavirus, senate republicans were following suit in spirit. the republican leader himself talked about the lack of urgency in his caucus to address the problem. so the idea that democrats, who passed a comprehensive relief package through the house nearly four months ago are the cause of delay and obstruction is ridiculous. it's been the republicans all along. the record shows it. from the beginning, from way back in march after the cares act passed, democrats have insisted on continuing a program of assistance to the american people. we proposed legislation to give hazard pay to essential workers, rental assistance, housing assistance, nutrition assistance, legislation to extend the enhanced unemployment benefits that kept nearly 12 million americans out of poverty, money for rural
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broadband, money to help our restaurants and our hotels. we've proposed many different things, none of which are in the republican bill. house democrats passed the heroes act through their chamber. so far it's the only major covid relief bill since the cares act to pass either chamber of congress. and meanwhile, as the spring turned into summer and the summer approaches fall, republicans dithered and delayed. they pushed their chips in with president trump's lot and hoped the virus would miraculously disappear and everything would be all better. rather than use the power of the federal government to help our citizens during a once-in-a-lifetime crisis, senate republicans closed their eyes, crossed their fingers hoping they wouldn't have to do anything. sound familiar? it's just what president trump tried to do as well. here now, in september,
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republicans finally felt the public pressure to support a bill. but instead of working with democrats on something that could pass, our friends on the other side tried to find the bare minimum that senate republicans could support. they had 20 republican senators, in the words of the leader, who wanted to spend no money. the greatest economic crisis since the depression, the greatest health crisis since the spanish flu over a century, just about a century ago, and 20 republicans want to spend nothing, and they are the tail wagging the republican dog. so the leader didn't know -- the republican leader didn't know what to do. he proposed a meager bill, a skinny bill of $1 trillion, but even that wasn't good enough for the hard right, the large hard right in his caucus. and so he put together with spit
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and polish, an emaciated bill that hardly does a thing, that leaves out so many americans, that doesn't come close to meeting the moment, so he might say he might be able to bring something on the floor with a modicum of support in this caucus. it's insufficient, it's completely inadequate, it does not help renters keep a roof over their heads or american families put food on the table. it shortchanges health care and education. it does not provide a dime to protect essential state and local services. it is laden with poison pills. provisions our colleagues know democrats would never support to guarantee the bill's failure. the truth of the matter is the republicans and the republican leader don't want to pass a bill too many on the hard right in the senate and outside it would
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be angry if they actually put together a bill that could pass. so leader mcconnell this morning demanded that democrats name exactly what we oppose in their bill like it was some kind of challenge. how about broad immunity provisions. from the day he announced them, he knew it wouldn't get democratic support. how about betsy devos school choice plan that would funnel money into private schools while he neglected the real needs of our public schools. of course democrats would oppose that. he knew that. he knows that. the truth is this emaciated bill is not a serious attempt at legislation or solving the real problems in our country. it's a shame. it is one of the most cynical moves i've seen, a fairly transparent attempt to show that the republicans are doing something when in fact they want to do nothing in reality.
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we're in the middle of a pandemic, an historic unemployment, industry struggling from one end of america to the other, and leader mcconnell isn't searching for bipartisan progress. he seems to be looking for political cover. once this bill goes down, we'll be right where we started at the start of the week, waiting for our republican colleagues to wake up to the size of the crisis in our country and work with us on a bill that actually makes sense. we want to work on a bipartisan bill. the speaker and i have come down $1 trillion off our initial request which was based on the real needs of the american people during this pandemic crisis. our republican colleagues, both the president, minions, and the republican senate, have refused to budge. but i still have some hope once this bill is defeated. if past is prologue, there's actually a significant chance
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that the public heat on many republican senators as they go back home will have them come to their senses, and they'll start negotiating with us in a serious way. that happened on covid 2. it happened on covid 3. it happened on covid 3.5. i pray and plead for the sake of our country and the people who are suffering, that it will happen again, and republicans, once they see they can't pass this emaciated, terribly insufficient, and poison pill pocked proposal that they'll start negotiating in reality with us, something they have not done as of yet. now, on president trump, yesterday it was reported in a taped interviews with bob woodward, president trump
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acknowledged that he knew the danger posed by covid-19 way back in february, but he deliberately, deliberately down played the threat to the american people. we now know that the president wasn't ill-informed. he wasn't being overly optimistic. he was lying to the american people. he was deliberately down playing the virus to the american people at a time when early and forceful action could have saved so many lives. look, when the house is on fire, a five-alarm fire, you have an obligation to let people know. if you don't, they're going to burn and they're going to die. when we look at the rest of the world and see why they're doing better than we are in fighting this disease, the reason is simple. they had some leadership. we've had none from the white house. none. we've had lying. we've had ignoring the problem.
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we've had misleading the american people, but no leadership, at a time when we desperately need it. other leaders around the world were clear about science. they faced it up. they faced up to the problem and worked hard to solve it. they instituted policies to test, trace, and isolate. we had a president who simply lied about the dangers of the disease and suggested that americans inject bleach. other leaders took responsibility and ownership. we had a president who said it is what it is. in the annals of history, this will be one of the five greatest examples of lack of leadership in american history. president trump, the history books are not going to regard you kindly. they are not going to regard you kindly. the president is coming up with great excuses now for his proif i
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profidious lies. this time he said he didn't want to tell the truth about covid because it might cause panic. is this the same president busy panicking america right now, telling women in the suburbs their safety is at risk when the suburbs are not at risk at all? is this the same president who invented a caravan of migrants in an attempt to panic americans before the last election? this president always uses panic as a tool when he thinks it serves his interest. so the idea that he did it because he didn't want to panic americans does not ring true. it seems like an ex post facto excuse for the president's profidious lies. president trump doesn't mind panicking people when it serves his interest. what is worse is he will not tell the truth when it hurts his interest, even, even if lives are at stake. the president's comments in this interview were despicable.
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it should serve as a warning to all americans about who this man is and his total, complete, abject failure to lead. finally on transit, covid-19 has changed nearly every aspect of american life, but senate republicans in the white house only want to address the barest sliver of the problems in our country, so this week i've been pointing out many of the things that the republican proposal leaves out. yesterday i spoke about the plight of live venues and the need to save that essential part of our culture and our economy. today i want to address another topic that has received far too little attention from the senate republicans -- transit. public transportation systems are the lifeblood of great american cities. regional networks connect workers to jobs and consumers and businesses.
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as anyone can imagine during the pandemic, while transit authorities like the m.t.a. have continued around the clock operations to serve the people, ridership on public transportation has plummeted, leaving them in a state of crisis. god forbid if public transportation were forced to shutter or drastically reduce operations like on long island where they rely on the long island railroad. the damage to regional economies and to the national economy would be severe. but there is not a penny, not one single penny in the republican bill to help public transit systems or even help state and local governments which fund a lot of transit systems. not a penny. my republican friends seem to look at this crisis through a narrow lens. some of my colleagues have criticized democrats for the outrageous idea of wanting to help our state governments and essential public services they provide. well, i have news for our colleagues. these regional transit systems
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are mission critical to the national economy. it's not just a new york problem or a new jersey problem or an illinois problem. it's a national crisis. the metropolitan transit authority alone carries about 40% of the nation's transit riders and drives as much as 10% of the national g.d.p. 10%. the facts argue for heavy investment in public transportation systems to staunch the bleeding and jump-start the economy when the pandemic wanes. the lack of investment in transit systems in the republican legislation is unacceptable. finally, according to a whistle-blower complaint filed by a former senior official in the office of intelligence and analysis at the department of homeland security, political leaders at d.h.s. told him to refrain from sharing reports about putin's efforts to interfere with our elections because, quote, they make the president look bad.
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and this d.h.s. whistle-blower goes on to allege a broader pattern by trump and his lieutenants of politicizing and misrepresenting intelligence, altering the information to fit the president's way of thinking, what the president thinks makes him look good. we know this president doesn't like to hear the truth. he literally can't handle it. but what's even more alarming is that former d.n.i. director dan coats, according to bob woodward's new book, could not shake his, quote, deep suspicion that is vladimir putin, quote, had something on the president. many americans believe what coats said, that the reason donald trump bows down in obeisance to putin is that putin knows something that the president doesn't want made public. that's how egregious the pattern of president trump's behavior has been. it cries out for an explanation, and there is no logical one.
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there is no honorable one. his pattern, president trump's pattern of down playing the threat from putin, placating the dictator and pursuing policies that have long been the goal of moscow asks an enormous question. what does president putin know that president trump is so afraid of? so here is what needs to happen. before we leave the election, there has to be an all-senators briefing on the threat from putin to our election. every senator, democrat, republican, liberal, conservative, north, south, east, and west has an obligation to our constituents and the country we all love to find out what exactly putin is up >> there is no plan for another
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relief plan for another over the next few weeks, senators will need to work on federal spending with current funding set to expire on the 30th. follow the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak at watch updates from governors. attract the spread in the u.s. and the world with interactive maps. watch on-demand at any time, unfiltered, at /coronavirus. of congressbers returned to session next week.
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there will be a debate on several bills. on the agenda next week, a resolution condemning anti-asian bias following the coronavirus pandemic. later this month, measures that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. follow the house live on c-span. the senate returns monday at 3:00 p.m. eastern and plans to debate on judicial nominations, mostly for courts in california and illinois. it senators will need to negotiate with the house and president trump over 2021 federal spending. follow the senate live on c-span2. >> the white house did not release a weekly address this weekend, however, senator tilde brent gave the address where she commemorates the


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