Senate Majority Leader Schumer Holds Briefing on COVID-19 Economic Relief CSPAN February 9, 2021 10:36am-11:06am EST
capitol on january 6 when that was the last trip on the train as far as them certifying those votes. for him to go out there -- he made statements about the proud boys and for them to stand back. but he had them come up there to do just what they did. the fact that they overran and -- sen. schumer: they are marked with distances. ok.
i am proud to be joined by my colleagues, the chairman, i was almost going to say ranking member, but that was then, the chair members of that so many of our committees involved in the covid-19 legislation. first, a word on impeachment, the senate has a solemn responsibility to try and hold trump accountable for the most serious charges ever, ever levied against a president. those who say let's move on, that brings unity, are false when you have such a serious invasion of the capitol, incited by a president who we know urged people, told people the election was false and urged people to come to washington and march on the capitol. the senate has two -- when you
have such a serious charge sweeping it under the rug will not bring unity. it will keep the wounds open. you need truth and accountability. i believe managers will present a strong case. the evidence will be powerful. some of it will be new, and i urge all my colleagues to pay careful attention to the evidence. i particularly urge my republican colleagues despite the pressure on them to pay real attention to the evidence because it is very serious. every senator, democrat and republican, has approach this travel -- trial with the cavity it deserves. that is important to the future of this country.
a mob of white supremacists and domestic terrorists falsely believed that election was stolen and tried to overthrow the government. the trial is about whether the president, chiefly responsible for feeding the mob, who directed them at the capitol, is guilty of inciting the violence. now, it was said a few weeks ago that the impeachment trial with threw a wrench into the early agenda of president biden. we are here to say we are not letting that happen. we can do both at once. the defining challenge of our moment, we had to do three things and we gained majority, one, build the cabinet.
last night two nominees were approved, the deputy secretary of defense was approved. second, run a fair impeachment trial. unlike the previous impeachment, leader mcconnell and i are introducing the resolution together. no one can claim it is not fair. third and just as important, deal with this awful covid crisis. to the pundits that said we cannot do both at once, you are wrong. we can and we are. bottom line, the senate is moving all steam ahead on a bold plan to get this country out of the crisis and speed vaccination distribution and provide a lifeline for small businesses and help schools reopen and so much more. the country has so suffered.
everyone of us knows people that make our hearts ache with what they are going through. i just saw video -- grandchildren saying goodbye to their grandparents. they could not see them, touch them, hug them. we have to end at this crisis, and even though the trial is an important responsibility, we are doing both. that is what my colleagues here are doing. we are working with house members and the committee members, and we are working with our republican colleagues when we can to produce a bold piece of legislation that will help us deal with and get out of this awful crisis. we look forward to working with republican colleagues to make this package a reality.
you saw there were a number of amendments. the first that passed, the one to help restaurants, was authored by one republican democrat -- one republican senator and one democrat. senate democrats will not dilute or delay because the covid responsibility is so real. now, here is the order of speaking. i think it is seniority. [reading names] first, patty murray, a tester who is a happy surprise guest arrival because we did not think she could make it. >> since january 6 there has been a question in my mind that we need to do everything we can to make clear that in our country, brute force cannot win
over people and their voices and votes. that is a critical part of our work, but this time in our history demands action on many fronts. we have an administration to staff, qualified experts can get to work leading our nation and the response to covid-19 to make sure we can come back stronger. last week my committee held two hearings to discuss the nominations of the secretary of education and the secretary of labor. we will vote on their nominations this week and i hope to release nominations to the senate floor soon so they can get to work. we will continue to schedule more hearings including in the house space. the pandemic continues to cost lives and cause illness and leave families struggling. now we are in a race against
more contagious strains of the virus. our countries covid-19 response went without serious attention to critical needs like vaccine distribution and administration or needed investments to reopen schools. in helping to make sure our fragile telecare system does not clap when essential workers needed the most as well as many of the other priorities that others are here to talk about today. because americans spoke clearly this election or a covid-19 response that matches the depth of this crisis, work is underway to get exactly that kind of strong response signed into law. we are getting it done. i have been asked about how we are going to do this, and i think about how many people are being asked to do all at once under impossible circumstances
right now, moms, students, educators, not workers, you name it. they do not have the option to pick just one problem to solve. they have to get it all done, and so do we. senate democrats know that and we will get it done and we are proud to be doing this. >> thank you. it is wonderful to be here with my colleagues who are working so hard to move this package forward along with the agenda for the american people read it has been set this week we are holding a trial, an incredibly important trial, and confirming nominees and taking bold action to ensure we save lives and help americans survive the pandemic come and get the kids safely back to school. american families and communities are suffering
through crisis, a health crisis, a hunger crisis, andy agricultural portion of the american rescue plan will work with colleagues on four important things, to help families and communities survive, ensure that families have enough to eat, close the gaps in the food supply chain, including providing ppe to food processing and farm workers, providing critical support for rural hospitals, and helping farmers who have been left behind. on that note, i want to say thank you to some senators for introducing their emergency relief for farmers with me yesterday. families and farmers and communities need to know we have their back and that is what this
plan is all about. >> thank you. thank you for giving us this opportunity to give you an update right now on where things are. this is a supremely important moment for our economy and for millions of vulnerable families. without our economic package, it would be five years before unemployment is back in the ballpark of where it was a year ago. that is five more years of unnecessary financial pain for millions of americans.
we, as chairs in the senate, are committed to making sure that does not happen. we are making steady progress on legislation to rescue the american economy ahead of the march 14 cliff for jobless workers. we know that the american people are with us on this package, and we know it because we have been listening to them. the support jobless benefits and resources to keep firefighters on the job. the only place in america where there is division on these priorities seems to be in the united states senate. we believe when americans are hurting, when their neighbors are hurting, you got to get a
critical package designed to help people get on their feet. senate life has always been about dealing with more than one issue at a time. it has been ever done and we are doing it again. we will deliver and as the majority leader said, we understand with respect to what we are dealing with now that unity requires accountability. now our leader on the environment. >> thank you. good morning. a few days before his inauguration i had the privilege of talking with the then president-elect about priorities as he assumed the mantle of leadership. among them was to accelerate the vaccinations, supply, predictable supply, and the
second build back better. how do we clean up the air and water and address climate change and produce jobs. one of the most contentious nominations before the committee in my time has always been epa administrator. we measure the delay from a hearing or from naming a nominee until confirmation not by days or weeks, but by months. this morning at about 10:20, the committee met and we reported at the nomination of michael regan to be administrator on 14-6 vote , a strong bipartisan vote. next, expect to have a hearing later this month focusing on service and transportation reauthorization for the claimant title.
the expectation is we will be gathering input from senators on what priorities should be, and our goal is to beat the record we had two years ago, and the goal is to beat that. reported out that in june and we are going to try to report that this year in the month of may. and we are turning our attention to the water resources development, the infrastructure. the goal is to beat the end of may, and actually do two bills by memorial day. we have a couple of mark nominees, and one of those is brenda malory, and also a nomination for epa deputy.
we get things done and we are off to a good start. thank you. >> let me introduce maria cantwell. thank you. >> since last february, when the first case of covid-19 hit the state of washington, actually in everett come and then was followed by a nursing home outbreak, we have had to focus on the needs of delivering people the type of support they need and to think about the impacts on the economy. that has not stopped since last february. this week is no different. we have had to focus last week on getting this budget resolution passed, and obviously , in an all-night session start negotiating with our colleagues. it is imperative we continue to focus on the resources to help
our economy during this pandemic. we cannot ignore the issues that average americans are facing as they struggle to keep their kids educated and to keep their livelihood. that is why the next focus of attention will be on getting our money in the program because we have 12 man kids who still cannot get access to broadband to have the education advantages that they deserve. we have to focus on the airline sector which is basically about 5% of our gdp -- gdp. we need to focus on manufacturing where we have lost 100,000 workers and the potential is to lose more. we cannot afford that. we have to remain focused on amtrak and those services because they are communities that are suffering economically because they no longer have service. literally we have to keep america moving.
the commerce committee will continue to negotiate these issues with all of our colleagues to move the economy forward and continue to invest time in the next package, as my colleague from ep w mention. there's so much to do on the next proposal. this last year has been nonstop, and there been many things that have faced us as we have negotiated, sometimes losing track of day and time, but we continue. this week be no different. now i would like to turn it over to senator menendez. >> thank you. we have taking -- taken the majority leaders request seriously to work on covid-19 issues during the course of this impeachment trial. for as long as covid-19 is anywhere, it can spread
everywhere directly threatening the national security and our economy and the health and safety of americans. that is why i am working with mike holidaying's -- my colleagues to fashion the intervention of covid-19 in the covid package being negotiated. we know that covid-19 has devastated the world. there been over 103 million confirmed cases worldwide and more than 2 million have died. we understand the sense of urgency, covid-19 knows no borders. the longer we allow the virus to spread, the more it mutates into new strains. the more it mutates, the greater the threat to the vaccines and the ability to rebuild the economy and restore our way of life. that is why our efforts to ramp up leadership and fighting
covid-19 abroad and be involved in the various vaccine forums that can create more supply and to stop new variants before they reach our shore is so important. at the same time, we have reported out not only the secretary of state which has been confirmed but linda thomas-greenfield, the nominee to be the u.s. ambassador to the united nations. we will surely be considering the nomination of samantha power , and yesterday the committee held a classified hearing on hotspots in the world to instruct where our attention has to come, and in my 30 years i have never seen a greater confluence of challenges to the united states. we are meeting all of those. >> thank you particulate for
your leadership. -- for your leadership. i am prepared to devote the necessary time in regards to the impeachment trial. there is no more serious charge that can be brought in inciting insurrection. as the ranking member and now chairman of the small business -- i have to learn how to use these words. as the chairman of the small business committee, i will be devoting time to make sure week can act quickly on the request for covid relief. the small businesses are the growth engine of our nation could we all know that. that is where jobs are created, and we know the resiliency is challenged. that white in the previous packages -- that is why in the
previous packages we have brought money directly to small businesses but we must do more. the first priority where we must do much better is to get the covid-19 under control and get the virus under control. small businesses will be able to recover, and this package needs to provide that type of relief for distribution and the other areas to get it under control. secondly, direct assistance to small businesses, we need to concentrate on those smaller small businesses that are in the greatest need and we intend to do that, and to look at industries that have been hardest hit because of the gathering restrictions on the number of people such as restaurants. we intend to do that and be ready to act as quickly as we can and we will do this as well as the trial.
with that, let me turn it over to senator brown. >> thank you. we have three big things to do. fight the virus every day. we hold accountable the people who attacked our democracy, and we help people in housing and banking, we know we have to stop the massive if actions. they have already voted out of our committee on a strong vote marsha thud -- budget to be secretary of hud -- fudge to be secretary of hud. we also are about to consider -- we know what we have to do.
this plan is about vaccines and about putting money in the pockets of the people. we will continue our work on this. the committee is working every day on this during the impeachment and after. we have seen the risk of inaction and the public health risk of inaction on this virus and we've seen the risk to a functioning government of inaction in the face of the encouragement of violence. we can never make those mistakes again. my pleasure to bring forward a senator who is doing his work well and we voted yesterday to confirm --[indiscernible] >> thank you. in a few i think it is important we do our job as jurists to hold
people accountable to what happened on january 6. i think if we have to have unity, we have to have accountability. i will tell you we will make sure our veterans get the benefits they earned, it is important. the pandemic has brought new challenges to our veterans because many of these already have health conditions that need to be dealt with. covid has compounded that. we need to continue to work to make sure we get adequate vaccines and get those into arms and giving benefits to our veterans they have earned. we are working on it as we speak. i have never been overworked in the u.s. senate yet. we have a lot of things to be doing and we have time to do them. thank you all for being here.
i want to introduce the chairman of the indian affairs committee. >> we are one year into this pandemic. for native americans, the risk of covid is higher, around 3.5 times higher as terms -- in terms of covid rates and morbidity is almost twice as bad. they need help now and our plan will infuse up to $28 billion into indian country making it the biggest one time investment into indian country in american history. billions for the indian health services to wrap up vaccine distribution and contact tracing and billions for tribal governments struggling to keep other critical services running. also hundreds of millions for native students to make sure
they don't get left behind. every politician in the congress makes promises to native communities. this congress, we have a chance to fulfill our obligation. >> we will take a few questions. >> [indiscernible] >> on your first question, we are trying to work as well as we can with the parliamentarian to get minimum wage to happen. that is all i will say. yes? >> [indiscernible]
>> no, you get one question. you want his or mine? [laughter] what we are talking about is the president day in and day out lying about the election, urging people to come to the capital, urging people to march on the capital, urging people to come to washington, d.c. and people died. people were hurt. our capitol building was invaded. these tactics have nothing to do with the other. >> [indiscernible]
>> it is going to be the managers' decision. there will be a vote that has to be made if they decide to call witnesses but i will not prejudge. let's see what they decide to do. whether the call witnesses were not or if there is a vote or not, they will continue -- we will continue to get our work done. this was such an impressive array of people and issues and exhibit a that we can do all three things at once. last one. >> [indiscernible]