RECESS; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 58
(Senate - March 24, 2020)

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[Pages S2006-S2008]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                                 RECESS

  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate 
stand in recess until 9:30 p.m.
  There being no objection, the Senate, at 8:32 p.m., recessed until 
9:30 p.m. and reassembled when called to order by the Presiding Officer 
(Ms. McSally).
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana.
  Mr. CASSIDY. Madam President, I spoke to you earlier when you were 
presiding.
  I am about to take the Presiding Officer's place, as she took my 
place earlier, and we will swap once more. Yet, before I sit down, I 
want to repeat the message I gave earlier.
  As we wait for a decision to be made between the Democratic minority 
leader, the Speaker of the House, and the administration, we had a deal 
that they had agreed to that was bipartisan, on which Senators from 
both parties had come together, had reviewed, and had an awareness of. 
No Senator thought it was a corporate bailout. If one did, one didn't 
say so at the time. Every Senator felt like this was the way to emerge. 
This could have been passed into law on Sunday, but we are nowhere 
close, apparently.
  Tonight, I was asked on a TV show: What about the single mother in 
Baton Rouge? What would I tell her?
  Do you know what I would say to that single mother? I would tell her 
I care about single moms. I would say that we had a deal, but then the 
Speaker of the House and the Democratic minority leader decided to 
leverage the misery of the American people, the businesses that are 
shutting down as we speak, and the people who are being laid off every 
day, to their political advantage. I am so sorry to say that, but that 
is a fact.
  Then, afterward, they had to come up with a big, sort of, ``Oh, my 
gosh. We can't support it because of this or that.'' It wasn't what 
they were saying when they agreed to it. They had to come up with a 
reason to justify mendacity. They are leveraging the misery of the 
American people to their political advantage. A deal could have been 
signed on Sunday--a bipartisan deal that 100 Senators had some input 
into and that the Speaker of the House had input into.
  Someone pointed out the irony to me--and I have to wrap up shortly--
so I tweeted that the Democratic minority leader and the Speaker of the 
House

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tried to impeach the President of the United States for allegedly 
withholding aid from Ukraine, and now they withhold aid from the 
American people. Whatever gloss they put on it, we could have finished 
this up on Sunday, and now we are stretching it out to their political 
advantage.
  I believe that was the allegation against the President: To his 
political advantage, he was using aid that was to go to the Ukrainians. 
Now we see two people--again, the Speaker of the House and the 
Democratic minority leader--both of whom are from States that have been 
hard-hit; my State of Louisiana and theirs, being New York and 
California, have been hard-hit--who are using that misery as leverage 
to their political advantage.
  I am sorry to be so worked up, but I have people calling me, asking: 
Do I have to lay somebody off?
  Oh, my gosh. I have lost my job. Will I have unemployment benefits? 
You say there is a check coming. When will this legislation pass?
  I realize it could have been done on Sunday until two people saw an 
opportunity that was to their political advantage. In their political 
advantage, they withhold aid from the American people, but they tried 
to impeach the President for such an allegation against another people.
  I hope they answer to the voters. I understand that the people who 
support them might not be touched by this, but my people are touched by 
it, and my State is affected by it. As a physician, I don't care where 
you live in the country, for I feel, as a physician, that we should be 
doing everything we can for those who are in distress right now and not 
using it to our political advantage or using it in a way to extract a 
little bit more--maybe in requiring airlines to do this or that or 
maybe in sneaking a sweetheart deal in for a friend because we will get 
that language and have to vote on it 2 hours later.
  This is not how our Founding Fathers had imagined. It is, 
unfortunately, how it has become--not to the benefit of the American 
people, to the benefit of two people, and I find that outrageous.
  I yield the floor.
  (Ms. McSALLY assumed the chair.)
  (Mr. CASSIDY assumed the chair.)
  (Ms. McSALLY assumed the chair.)
  (Mr. SASSE assumed the chair.)
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. McSALLY). The majority leader.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I have an update for the information 
of all the Senators and for the information of the American people, and 
it is good news. It is good news for the doctors and nurses in 
emergency rooms around the country who are waiting for more masks and 
more funding. It is good news for families all across America. At last 
we have a deal.
  After days of intense discussions, the Senate has reached a 
bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic. It 
will rush new resources onto the frontlines of our Nation's healthcare 
fight, and it will inject trillions of dollars of cash into the economy 
as fast as possible to help American workers, families, small 
businesses, and industries make it through this disruption and emerge 
on the other side ready to soar.
  The bipartisan CARES Act will squarely address each of the four big 
priorities that I laid out in my legislation at the beginning of the 
process about a week ago. It will rush financial assistance to 
Americans through direct checks to households from the middle class on 
down and through a significant and creative expansion of unemployment 
insurance during this emergency.
  It will deliver historic relief to Main Street America through 
hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency loans so more small 
businesses can survive this and keep paying their workers.
  It will help secure our economic foundations and stabilize key 
national industries to prevent as many layoffs as possible, while 
keeping big companies accountable, as both sides have sought to do.
  And, of course, it will push major relief to hospitals and healthcare 
providers, invest in new medicines and vaccines so we can beat this 
virus faster, and help get more equipment and masks to the frontline 
heroes who put themselves at risk to care for patients.
  In effect, this is a wartime level of investment into our Nation. The 
men and women of the greatest country on Earth are going to defeat this 
coronavirus and reclaim our future, and the Senate is going to make 
sure they have the ammunition they need to do it.
  I am thrilled that we are finally going to deliver for the country 
that has been waiting for us to step up.
  I am relieved that my distinguished Democratic colleagues are ready 
to take yes for an answer. This has been a long week for the Senate, 
but it has been a much longer week for the hundreds of millions of 
Americans who find themselves in this strange new reality, where every 
morning brings new worries about their health, about their loved ones, 
and about whether their job or their small business will still exist at 
this time next week.
  So, Madam President, help is on the way. The American people are 
already rising to this grave challenge, and the Senate is about to 
follow suit. We are going to pass this legislation later today.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Madam President, after 5 days of arduous negotiations, 
after sleep-deprived nights, and marathon negotiating sessions, we have 
a bipartisan agreement on the largest rescue package in American 
history. This is not a moment of celebration but one of necessity. We 
have the anguish of the American people, their wondering about the 
future of their health, the health of their loved ones, and the 
economy. It necessitates us to do all we can to help them and help our 
country.
  From the very beginning, the Democrats have had two primary goals: a 
Marshall Plan for public health workers and hospitals on the frontlines 
and of putting workers first. The agreement now, after these 5 days, 
reflects those Democratic priorities, and we are proud that they are 
now part of this legislation.
  Like all compromises, this bill is far from perfect, but we believe 
the legislation has been improved significantly to warrant its quick 
consideration and passage. Because many Democrats and Republicans were 
willing to do the serious and hard work, the bill is much better off 
than where it started. The Democrats have succeeded in making the bill 
substantially better on many counts.
  Here are four major pillars of the bill.
  First, a Marshall Plan for our hospitals and medical needs--there is 
much more money for our hospitals, for our nurses and physicians, for 
our nursing homes and our community health centers to do the jobs they 
need to do, over $130 billion.
  Second, workers first--so many people are being put out of work 
through no fault of their own. They don't know what their futures are 
going to be like. How are they going to pay the bills? Well, we come to 
their rescue, and the most significant part of that is something we are 
proud to have devised. We call it unemployment compensation on 
steroids. All American workers who are laid off will have their 
salaries remunerated by the Federal Government so they can pay their 
bills. Because so many of them will be furloughed rather than fired, if 
they have benefits, they will continue, and--extremely important--they 
stay with the company or small business. That means that company or 
small business can reassemble once this awful plague is over, and our 
economy can get going quickly.
  Third, strict oversight, transparency, and accountability of all 
loans made to corporate America--we need oversight. We need 
transparency. Every loan document will be public and be made available 
to Congress very quickly so we can see where the money is going, what 
the terms are, and if it is fair to the American people. There will be 
an oversight board, as well as an IG, to make sure things are done on 
the level.
  Fourth, real resources for our State and local governments--that was 
one of the last decisions we had to make. There is $150 billion that 
will go to States and localities that are so hard-pressed because of 
all the new expenses that COVID-19 puts upon them, and because they are 
not getting the resources they usually get, taxes will be delayed until 
June.
  Finally, there is real, real help for small businesses. My dad was a 
small

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businessman, an exterminator. I know how small business people worry 
and suffer. They will get loans, and their employees will be paid by 
the Federal Government while they are closed because they don't have 
customers or services, and they can, too, bounce back afterward. So 
this agreement is really an outstanding agreement.
  To them and to all Americans, I say help is on the way, big help and 
quick help. We are going to take up and pass this package to care for 
those who are now caring for us and help carry millions of Americans 
through these dark economic times.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.


                  Orders for Wednesday, March 25, 2020

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that when the 
Senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 12 noon, 
Wednesday, March 25; further, that following the prayer and pledge, the 
morning hour be deemed expired, the Journal of proceedings be approved 
to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later 
in the day, and morning business be closed; further, that following 
leader remarks, the Senate resume consideration of the motion to 
proceed to H.R. 748.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

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