MURPHY ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE: I GRIEVE FOR THE FAMILIES WHO ARE HURT BY REPUBLICANS’ PLAN TO CUT UNEMPLOYMENT AND FOR OUR NATION KNOWING NOTHING IN THIS PROPOSAL WILL TURN AROUND THE DAMAGING TRAJECTORY OF COVID-19

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Monday delivered remarks on the U.S. Senate floor blasting his Republicans colleagues’ latest COVID-19 relief proposal, unveiled more than 10 weeks after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act. In his remarks, Murphy highlighted the need for a comprehensive testing regime and increased assistance for state and local governments and hospitals. Murphy also called on President Trump to use his power under the Defense Production Act to ramp up the production of key resources and save American lives.

“This body has had two months to consider legislation that would stand up a national effort to squash this pandemic once and for all – and to make sure that people don't die, don't go hungry, don't get pushed out onto the street at a moment when unemployment is higher than at any time in this country's history since the Great Depression,” Murphy said. “We didn't consider any legislation for all the last work period. We went on recess for two weeks. And now, we are three days before unemployment benefits expire—the additional unemployment benefits— and we are now getting the introduction of what appeared to be a dozen different pieces of legislation from Senate Republicans tonight.”

Murphy continued: “We still don't have the details, but it looks as if there's not one bill being introduced, but there's about 13 bills being introduced. We don't have enough time before the expiration of unemployment benefits to negotiate one bill, one bill, never mind seven or 10.”

“I grieve for families that are going to listen to the news tonight and hear that Senate Republicans' stimulus plan is to cut their unemployment benefits by $400 per week. But I also grieve for this nation knowing that nothing in these proposals is significant enough to allow states and hospitals and health care systems to turn around this damaging trajectory on the virus, produce enough PPE necessary to do the job, and fix this dangerously broken testing system in this country,” Murphy added.

Murphy concluded: “I plead for my Republican colleagues to finally come to the table with Democrats in the House and the Senate so we can craft something together that does the job for families and does the job to fix this very, very broken health care system amidst an advancing pandemic.”

In April, Murphy and U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) led 44 of their colleagues in introducing the Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act, which requires the president to utilize all available authorities to mobilize a federal response to the pandemic through an equitable and transparent process.

A full transcript of Murphy’s remarks can be found below:

MURPHY: “Thank you, Mr. President.

“When people talk about this body being fundamentally broken under Republican leadership, this is Exhibit A. This is Exhibit A. This body has had two months to consider legislation that would stand up a national effort to squash this pandemic once and for all – and to make sure that people don't die, don't go hungry, don't get pushed out onto the street at a moment when unemployment is higher than at any time in this country's history since the Great Depression.

“We didn't consider any legislation for all the last work period. We went on recess for two weeks. And now, we are three days before unemployment benefits expire—the additional unemployment benefits— and we are now getting the introduction of what appeared to be a dozen different pieces of legislation from Senate Republicans tonight.

“We still don't have the details, but it looks as if there's not one bill being introduced, but there's about 13 bills being introduced. We don't have enough time before the expiration of unemployment benefits to negotiate one bill, one bill, never mind seven or 10.

“We wasted months of time when Democrats and Republicans should have been talking together. And instead, Senate Republicans were talking amongst themselves, and have now waited until the zero hour to come out with a piece of legislation which calls for a $400 per week cut in unemployment benefits for people that are out of work. That's the economic stimulus plan, a $400 per week cut for families in this country who have been relying on unemployment benefits because the economy is not coming back.

“But I come to this for tonight to tell you why the economy is not coming back. It's not because we haven't appropriated enough money. It's because we're losing the fight against the virus.

“In 15 days, this country has gone from 3 million cases to 4 million cases. And there is not enough funding in these proposals that were just outlined in order to help states beat the virus.

“We are once again experiencing a PPE shortage in this nation. Doctors at Memorial City Medical Center in Houston are using single use N95 respirator masks for 15 days before throwing them out. Schools are right now planning to spend $25 billion in order to buy masks and cleaning supplies that are escalating in cost. There is nowhere close to enough money in this legislation to help schools get ready. There’s nothing in this bill that requires the operationalization of the Defense Production Act to make sure that we are producing enough PPE in this country.

“There are still states in this nation that are refusing to open up the health insurance systems so that more people can get access to health insurance. There's nothing in these proposals to require open enrollment periods in states – to make sure that everyone that is contracting this virus has the chance to get health insurance.

“And the reality is that the states are the ones on the front lines standing up these responses. My state has done pretty well, but we're going bankrupt in the process. And from what I can tell listening to these speeches tonight, there is nothing significant in this package of bills to help states like mine stand up responses.

“And so, I grieve for families that are going to listen to the news tonight and hear that Senate Republicans' stimulus plan is to cut their unemployment benefits by $400 per week. But I also grieve for this nation knowing that nothing in these proposals is significant enough to allow states and hospitals and health care systems to turn around this damaging trajectory on the virus, produce enough PPE necessary to do the job, and fix this dangerously broken testing system in this country.

“I plead for my Republican colleagues to finally come to the table with Democrats in the House and the Senate so we can craft something together that does the job for families and does the job to fix this very, very broken health care system amidst an advancing pandemic.

“Thank you, Mr. President.”

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