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In a speech on the Senate floor, Senator Murray called for quick passage of the American Rescue Plan to get relief to those in need across Washington state

Senator Murray: “The reality is, we are far from doing too much, because we will not have done enough until this crisis is over—until families across the nation are safe—and until we rebuild a stronger and fairer country”

Senator Murray: “Right now, the country is on fire—and Republicans’ biggest concern seems to be that we want to use too much water”

ICYMI: 76% of Voters Back $1.9 Trillion Plan, Including 60% of Republicans – MORE HERE from Morning Consult

***SEE VIDEO OF SENATOR MURRAY’S SPEECH HERE***

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, during a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, called on her colleagues to pass the American Rescue Plan, a COVID-19 relief package that the U.S. House of Representatives passed last week, which would provide critical assistance to families, workers, small business owners, and more who are struggling across Washington state. The Senate is set to vote on the package this week.

“People support the American Rescue Plan because the American Rescue Plan supports people—workers, families, communities—who know firsthand the loss and hardship of the last year. And because they understand the simple fact that when the house is in flames, you don’t argue about how much of the fire to put out, or how much water to use, or how many lives to save,” Senator Murray said. “You do whatever it takes until the crisis is over and everyone is safe—and you do it as fast as you can. That’s what Democrats are trying to do. That’s what this bill is about.

While Congressional Republicans so far have refused to join Democrats in working on the legislation, which is supported by 3/4ths of the country, Senator Murray and her Democratic colleagues have remained committed to passing relief that meets the scale and scope of the pandemic in Washington state and across the country. Among other provisions, the bill would:

  • Include $1,400 direct payments and extended and increased unemployment benefits.
  • Invest in helping states stand up efficient and fair vaccine distribution and administration systems to get shots in arms faster.
  • Ramp up testing, contact tracing, and sequencing to identify new COVID variants and slow the spread.
  • Get schools the resources they need to re-open for in-person learning safely and address student learning loss.
  • Provide struggling small businesses with the aid they need to keep their doors open.
  • Make sure families can afford child care and child care providers can stay in business.
  • Provide funding to ensure that people and families can stay housed.
  • Ensure state, local, and Tribal governments can continue to respond to the crisis without slashing jobs and services that people need now more than ever.

Since COVID-19 first arrived in Washington state, Senator Murray has fought to get families, workers, small business owners, and everyone who has struggled during this pandemic the assistance they need. In March, Senator Murray successfully secured surge funding for hospitals and medical supplies, more than $375 billion in small business grants, loans, and assistance, expanded unemployment payments and direct payments, and much more in the CARES Act. While Senate Republicans then refused to even vote on additional relief until this past December, Senator Murray pushed for the House-passed HEROES Act in the Senate, and eventually helped secure additional direct relief and support for small businesses and vaccine distribution in the December relief package.

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

“The reality is, we are far from doing too much, because we will not have done enough until this crisis is over—until families across the nation are safe—and until we rebuild a stronger and fairer country. Anyone who says this bill is too expensive needs to understand how much this pandemic has already cost our communities, how much it has already taken from families, and how much more is at stake if we don’t finally bring it to an end.”

“Anyone who has been listening to the American people—anyone who has been watching what they have gone through—understands the danger in this moment isn’t doing too much—it’s doing too little.”

“If Republicans want to talk about ‘too much’—there are almost 10 million fewer people working compared to this time a year ago, 11 million people at risk of eviction, and 11 million people about to lose unemployment benefits…one in four students lack access to the internet at home. One in four young adults has considered suicide. We have lost over 650,000 jobs in higher education and one in six jobs in child care. Across the country this virus has infected over 28 million, left thousands of ‘long haulers’ still experiencing symptoms, and killed over half a million people. That is too much.”

Watch Senator Murray’s full speech HERE:

Read the full text of Senator Murray’s remarks as prepared below:

“Thank you M. President.

“Right now, the country is on fire—and Republicans’ biggest concern seems to be that we want to use too much water.

“The reality is, we are far from doing too much, because we will not have done enough until this crisis is over—until families across the nation are safe—and until we rebuild a stronger and fairer country.

“Anyone who says this bill is too expensive needs to understand how much this pandemic has already cost our communities, how much it has already taken from families, and how much more is at stake if we don’t finally bring it to an end.

“They need to listen to public health and health care workers who have been straining to test, contact trace, vaccinate people across the country, and grapple with the trauma of fighting this pandemic on the frontlines.

“They need to listen to parents who are asking how they are supposed to go to work when they don’t have child care and their kids can’t go to school in person, wondering how they are going to pay rent, pay for groceries, pay to keep the heat on—and fearing what will happen if they can’t.

“They need to listen to students who this pandemic has robbed of critical school resources, as well as opportunities to grow, thrive, and socialize with their peers.

They need to listen to our states, cities, Tribes, and territories, who have seen their budgets upended.

“And they absolutely need to listen to people of color—to voices in Black, Latino, and Tribal communities who have been hit the hardest by this pandemic in every way.

“Because anyone who has been listening to the American people—anyone who has been watching what they have gone through—understands the danger in this moment isn’t doing too much—it’s doing too little.

“If Republicans want to talk about “too much” —there are almost 10 million fewer people working compared to this time a year ago, 11 million people at risk of eviction, and 11 million people about to lose unemployment benefits.

“That’s too much.

“One study says, by June, this pandemic will likely have set students back five to nine months, in math, from where they would be in a typical year—and that set back is even larger for students of color.

“Another notes, as schools across the country have shifted to remote learning, that one in four students lack access to the internet at home.

“And, according to CDC, one in four young adults has considered suicide.

“That’s too much.

“Since the start of the pandemic we have lost over 650,000 jobs in higher education and one in six jobs in child care.

“That’s too much.

“Across the country this virus has infected over 28 million, left thousands of “long haulers” still experiencing symptoms, and killed over half a million people.

“That is too much.

“We have to act M. President. We have to.

“And that’s why we’re fighting to pass the American Rescue Plan.

“The American Rescue Plan will send families long overdue direct relief, and prevent expanded unemployment benefits—that have been a lifeline to so many people—from expiring.

“It will help get vaccines in arms faster, hire and train more public health workers, ramp up testing capacity, and invest in programs to counter the disproportionate harm COVID-19 has caused specifically to communities of color and Tribes.

“It will expand affordable insurance to more families.

“It will give schools much-needed resources to help students get back to classrooms for in-person learning safely, and stabilize our struggling child care sector, which are critical to helping women and working families get back to work.

“It will support small businesses and help states keep educators, firefighters, sanitation workers, and others on the job.

“So before my Republican colleagues worry any more about the cost of doing all of that, I hope they take a moment to consider the staggering cost of failing to do it.

“There is a reason bold action like this plan has the support of Republican Governors like Jim Justice in West Virginia.

“The support of Republican Mayors like Betsy Price in Fort Worth, Texas, Francis Suarez in Miami, Florida, David Holt from Oklahoma City, and—according to a recent poll—the support of a majority of Republicans.

“That same poll, showed the American people support this package by an overwhelming three-to-one margin.

“People support the American Rescue Plan because the American Rescue Plan supports people—workers, families, communities—who know firsthand the loss and hardship of the last year.

“And because they understand the simple fact that when the house is in flames, you don’t argue about how much of the fire to put out, or how much water to use, or how many lives to save.

“You do whatever it takes until the crisis is over and everyone is safe—and you do it as fast as you can.

“That’s what Democrats are trying to do.

“That’s what this bill is about.

“And that’s why I urge every single member of the Senate to support it.

“Thank you.”

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