Mar 17, 2020
Chuck Schumer & Mitch McConnell Hold Press Conference on Coronavirus Bill
Senate leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer held a press conference today discussing an economic package to help alleviate economic impacts of COVID-19. Read the full transcript here.
Mitch McConnell Press Conference Transcript
Mitch McConnell: (12:10)
Well good afternoon everyone. Let me give you a report on where we are. Obviously we need to act. We finally got a completed bill from the House yesterday. We need to continue ensuring that front line health care workers have all the resources they need. We need to directly help American workers and families face this uncertain period, and particularly we’re examining policy tools to put money directly, and quickly into the hands of American families. We also need to move swiftly and boldly in a major way, to help America’s small businesses survive this disruption, and thrive on the other side of it. In particular, we are preparing bold steps to ensure that Main Street can access liquidity, and credit during this extraordinary time. So let me outline for you what we’ve been doing.
Mitch McConnell: (13:15)
I’ve divided, created three task forces among Senate Republicans. Each of them tasked with coming up with what could best be described as the next bill. We’re trying to reach an agreement among ourselves, as to what Senate Republicans and the administration favor doing next. With regard to the bill that came over from the House. There was some discussion about whether to amend that with a bigger proposal, because we all know a bigger proposal is necessary. But I’ve decided we’re going to go on and vote as soon as the Senate can get permission to vote on the bill that came over from the House, send it down to the president for signature, and thus reassure the people around the country that we can operate on a bicameral, a bipartisan basis quickly.
Mitch McConnell: (14:21)
Second, we will not leave, the Senate will not leave, until we have passed yet another bill. And clearly that’ll have to go in two steps. As I indicated earlier, first, Senate Republicans and the administration are going to try to reach an agreement on what we think is best for, what could best be described as, phase three. Then the Senate being the Senate, we will sit down with our democratic counterparts, and see what we can agree to. But we will not leave, the Senate will not leave town, until we have processed yet another bill to address this emergency. With that, I’ll be happy to take a few questions. Yes?
Speaker 7: (15:09)
Yesterday President Trump suggested that the social distancing may be required for the summer. Would that mean that this thousand dollars that’s being talked about, as far as this [inaudible 00:15:21] to go on until then? I mean how long are you planning on giving people-
Mitch McConnell: (15:25)
Well, all of that is things we’re going to address, and in the next bill that we were beginning to write already. The details of that I can’t tell you yet, but we know an additional bill of much larger proportions is necessary to meet this crisis. If we bend the healthcare curve, that will determine really how long this emergency lasts, and that has required extraordinary measures that basically have us in the unusual position of the American Government, in effect, shutting down the American economy in order to meet these health concerns. If we can get on top of the healthcare concerns, and bend the curve, we hope that this will be of limited duration. Yep.
Speaker 8: (16:13)
Are you saying that in creating these free tests, [inaudible 00:16:16] willing to [inaudible 00:16:20] with any single element of the administration proposals so far?
Mitch McConnell: (16:24)
What I’m telling you is, we’re going to take up and pass the House bill as soon as the Senate gives us permission to do it. Then Senate Republicans, in conjunction with the administration, are going to write a next bill. The Senate being the Senate, we will then discuss with the Democrats what we can agree to pass, which will of course take 60 votes. The details of that, obviously have not been determined yet. Yup.
Speaker 9: (17:00)
The administration is talking about as much as a trillion dollars. Is the scope, in terms of the overall scope, does that sound like [inaudible 00:17:00] to you?
Mitch McConnell: (17:02)
The details will be worked out in the way that I just outlined. And so I can’t give you an answer, particularly on a large question like that, about what the overall cost of it would be. We haven’t determined that yet, and obviously that final determination will be made in consultation with our democratic colleagues here in the Senate. What I can tell you is we’re not leaving town until we have constructed, and passed another bill, basically phase three. Would be the best way to look at it. Yeah.
Speaker 10: (17:37)
Senator McConnell, are any Democrats going to be on these three task force? And also, at what point did Republicans become comfortable in spending a $1 trillion at this point?
Mitch McConnell: (17:48)
I just said the first step is for Republicans to largely agree on what we think, is the best way to address this emergency. And second, we will consult with our democratic colleagues, and see what we can agree to. That’s the way we’ll go forward here in the Senate, and we’ll stay here until we do reach a bipartisan agreement, and achieve at least 60 votes to pass it. Yeah.
Speaker 11: (18:11)
Can you tell me will that $1 trillion be- [crosstalk 00:18:12].
Mitch McConnell: (18:13)
Back in the back.
Speaker 12: (18:14)
What’s your approximation for when these checks will actually be in people’s mailboxes? Were you given any sort of indication of what the White House is expecting there?
Mitch McConnell: (18:23)
What’s the indication? You’re talking about timing?
Speaker 12: (18:24)
For cash payments to Americans. That’s something that’s been talked about a lot. Do you have any idea when that would actually be in hands?
Mitch McConnell: (18:30)
Well, anything that requires legislation, will not be able to move until we pass legislation. There are things they can do on their own. Is that what you’re talking about?
Speaker 12: (18:39)
I believe that there are policies proposed, proposal for tax rebates. And I’m just questioning if you have any idea-
Mitch McConnell: (18:46)
They’ll do whatever they’re allowed to do administratively as quickly as they can. The rest of it will require our permission legislatively. The first thing we’re going to do, is take up and pass the bill that came over from the House, and the second phase I outlined a couple of times already.
Mitch McConnell: (19:02)
… Is outlined a couple of times already and that’s the way we’re going to go forward. Yes?
Speaker 13: (19:06)
[inaudible 00:19:06] Can you address this idea that with the House bill, when it passes, there still is a lag time in repaying small businesses for the sick time for their employees. Can you address the concern about that lag time for small businesses? I know you reported [inaudible 00:19:20]. And then once bill number three, stimulus gets here to Congress, as you expect, or are working on, are you considering then recessing the Senate for a significant period of time?
Mitch McConnell: (19:34)
Oh, a number of my members think there were considerable shortcomings in the House bill. My counsel to them is to gag and vote for it anyway, even if they think it has some shortcomings and to address those shortcomings in the bill that we’re in the process of crafting. I cannot predict how long we will be here, but we’ll be here as long as it takes to pass yet another measure beyond the one that came over from the House.
Speaker 13: (19:57)
and after that, do you think the Senate will return?
Mitch McConnell: (19:59)
I can’t answer that. Yeah.
Speaker 14: (20:01)
Mr. Leader, we’ve been told that a number of Republicans, and I guess on the rules committee, are working on potentially voting from home, under [crosstalk 00:20:10] hearings.
Mitch McConnell: (20:10)
No, we will not. Yeah, we’ll not be doing that. Look, there are a number of different ways to avoid getting too many people together. Just to give you a hypothetical, it’s not set in stone that a roll call vote goes on only for 15 minutes. We could lengthen the amount of the roll call vote. People could come over one at a time, come over and small groups. We will deal with the social distancing issue without fundamentally changing the Senate rules. Yeah.
Speaker 15: (20:46)
People are still going to the supermarkets and seeing all this, so much uncertainty. What do you want to tell the American public?
Mitch McConnell: (20:54)
Well, the way to indicate certainty is to get about doing what we’re talking about, to see bipartisan bicameral action, and that will happen on the House passed bill as soon as we can clear whatever procedural issues we have to clear to get it across the Senate floor and get it down to the President for his signature. And then we’re going to move here in warp speed for the Senate, which almost never does anything quickly. I think everyone on both sides of the aisle is seized with the urgency of moving on yet another bill, and we intend to do that.
Speaker 15: (21:33)
Mitch McConnell: (21:33)
Speaker 16: (21:35)
Senator Paul is saying he wants an amendment bill as part of the second House bill in order to let you move quickly. Will you give him an amendment bill?
Mitch McConnell: (21:45)
Well, you’ll have to ask him, but usually he wants to offer an amendment to pay for these kinds of bills. He’s usually willing to let us have that vote and move on. I hope that’ll be the case this time.
Speaker 17: (21:58)
Mitch McConnell: (21:58)
Speaker 17: (21:58)
Eventually you’re going to have to make a deal with Senator Schumer and with the Speaker. So just sort of wondering why not do that first?
Mitch McConnell: (22:06)
I think the best way to proceed is the way I outlined. Then we’ll have a clear indication of where most of the Republicans are and we’ll sit down and talk to our colleagues on the other side of the aisle and reach an agreement.
Speaker 17: (22:18)
But is there an importance to send a message about national unity?
Mitch McConnell: (22:22)
Sure. And that’ll be underscored by the overwhelming bipartisan vote of the House passed bill and by ultimately an overwhelming bipartisan support for yet another bill, which will originate in the Senate. Yeah.
Speaker 18: (22:36)
Senator McConnell, this was discussions over the last year about the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. There needs to be corrections made to it to help retailers and small businesses change the operating loss rules. Will those things come up as during the course of this discussion, and might that make the same arguments come up over again about how bad the tax cuts were?
Mitch McConnell: (23:02)
Look, the goal here is to deal with this emergency created by this pandemic, and anything that doesn’t address that pandemic, it seems to me, should not be considered. We’re working on trying to deal with this public health crisis, which we are trying to bend the curve on quickly, and anything that addresses plugging that gap for small businesses and for individuals hopefully on a short term basis, because if the advice Dr. Fauci and others are given is followed, we hope we’re going to begin to bend the curve and get back to normal, because the underlying economy before all this came along was in very good shape. Yeah.
Speaker 13: (23:53)
Back to my second question. Can you talk about the moment that Republicans became okay with spending perhaps a good $1 trillion? Is it the stock market? Is it the health risk? What shifted among the party in the past couple weeks?
Mitch McConnell: (24:05)
Well, I mean, I’ve been through a few of these. I was here at 9/11. I was here during the financial crisis in ’08. I was here during the fiscal cliff. We occasionally have these great crises, and when they occur we’re able to rise above our normal partisanship and many times our normal positions, because these are not ordinary times. This is not an ordinary situation, and so it requires extraordinary measures. Yep.
Speaker 19: (24:40)
Is there a role for Congress to play in helping these States that worry they don’t have enough ICU beds, enough ventilators, as this spread becomes much worse?
Mitch McConnell: (24:53)
All of that deals with the substance of measures that we are either about to pass or will pass soon, the contents of which are being negotiated.
Speaker 19: (25:08)
And then have you been satisfied with what States are getting from the federal government?
Mitch McConnell: (25:11)
We’re not satisfied with where we are, or we wouldn’t be immediately turning to yet another bill, and we will be doing that shortly. I’m going to take one more, because I think we’re getting a little repetitive here. Yeah.
Speaker 14: (25:22)
You mentioned you have established three task forces. Can you just say what Senators you have put on to lead those task forces?
Mitch McConnell: (25:30)
Yeah. Oh, that’s a good question. What I’ve said, you can’t have 53 people write the bill. Right? So what I’ve done is pick out groups of people to deal with three separate categories, and then I’ve told everyone else that if they have a really good idea, I’ve told them how to funnel that idea into that particular task force. Because this is a Herculean task from a legislative point of view to try to craft something this significant with 53 people. It just can’t be done.
Mitch McConnell: (25:59)
So everyone has a way to funnel in their particular suggestions to one of these three task forces. These task forces will be working with the Treasury Department and Secretary Mnuchin and his team to see if we can reach a Republican consensus so we know where we are. My understanding is Senator Schumer has laid out, to get back to your question, where they are. I’m in the process of crafting where we are, and then that’s the logical time to sit down and make a deal. And that’s what we intend to do and we’re going to do it before we leave here.
Speaker 13: (26:35)
What are the topics? How did you divide them into the three task forces?
Mitch McConnell: (26:43)
In a sensible way. It doesn’t make any … Honestly, it’s not particularly-
Speaker 13: (26:47)
It’s just [crosstalk 00:26:47].
Mitch McConnell: (26:47)
It’s not particularly newsworthy. Yeah.
Speaker 14: (26:50)
Is there people you can tell us is their point person for these three task forces, Senator whomever. Maybe you can help us.
Speaker 13: (26:56)
Get our heads around it.
Speaker 14: (26:57)
Just clarify for us.
Mitch McConnell: (27:00)
I think you’re getting down too far into the weeds. Our goal today will be to try to move forward and take up and pass as soon as we can the bill that’s come over from the House. And then you’ll be hearing from us as we move along crafting the measure that Republicans will largely be behind, and then we’ll sit down with Senator Schumer.
Speaker 14: (27:23)
Could you vote for the House [crosstalk 00:27:23] today?
Mitch McConnell: (27:23)
Thanks. Thanks a lot.
Chuck Schumer Press Conference Transcript
Senator Schumer: (29:52)
This cleaning the podium was not a political comment.
Speaker 14: (29:57)
We know you have a reputation. You can ask individually.
Senator Schumer: (30:01)
Okay. Thank you all for coming. We all know how serious this crisis is. We know it in our States. We know it with our families. My wife, and daughter, and daughter, and daughter-in-law, and grandson are all together in my house, each trying to work. People feel worried in a way that they never have in a very long time in this country. Having lived through 9/11, having lived through the crisis in the banking system in 2008, I think people are more worried about the future and their own health, their own economic viability today than they were in either of those crises. So we need to act, and we need to act quickly and strongly.
Senator Schumer: (30:52)
We Democrats have proposed a big, bold, comprehensive package of what needs to be done right now. We are looking first at the medical needs. You can put all the money you want out into the economy, but unless you actually solve the problem and reduce the number of cases, the number of people ill, the number of deaths, none of that will matter.
Senator Schumer: (31:19)
So first and foremost, we need much more bolstering on the medical side. Obviously, we need the testing to work, but we need much more than that. We need hospitals to be well-prepared. They need equipment. They need masks. They need respirators. They need beds. We do not want to be in the situation like Italy where there was not enough medical care for the ill people. And this has to be done quickly, firmly and strongly, and that is number one in our $750 billion package that we have proposed. If you don’t solve the medical problems, you won’t solve anything else.
Senator Schumer: (32:05)
And there’s the problem of the workers getting to the facilities. When their kids are home from school, when mass transit is not functioning, how do the people who work in the hospitals, who work with the doctors, who work at the facilities that make the products, how do they get there? All of that needs to be done and that is the first thing we do in our package. That is job number one, the medical needs.
Senator Schumer: (32:35)
Second are people who are hurting. I think about, in my state, Broadway, and what do I think of? Not the people who can’t go to the shows, as much as they regret it. What about the people who collect the tickets, who clean the aisles, who worked backstage, who are not working and not getting any income? We must do something for them quickly. We must bolster paid family leave, paid sick leave, and unemployment insurance so that the millions and millions of people who are not working and not getting a paycheck can get one.
Senator Schumer: (33:14)
Third, we need to help small businesses. I’ve talked to countless small businesses in New York. They will go out of business in a couple of weeks if they don’t get some help. Our proposal main lines money into small businesses quickly. They need it.
Senator Schumer: (33:36)
And we asked for forbearance. The federal government and the banks should not be able to foreclose on a house if you can’t pay your mortgage. And we have asked that anything that’s federally backed, student loans, mortgages, which are the vast percentage of mortgages, and small business loans, that there’d be a six month forbearance, they don’t have to be collected.
Senator Schumer: (34:07)
Finally, we believe we have to mobilize the National Guard to help, who will feed and watch the kids have a medical worker who has to go to work, who will make sure that food is delivered to an elderly person who can’t go out, who will make sure that kids get food who are not going to school and getting their school lunches. So we need to employ people to do that right away, but we also need to employ the National Guard.
Senator Schumer: (34:42)
So our legislation, the $750 billion, which may not be enough, deals with the immediate needs, the people who are hurting for health reasons, the people who are hurting for economic reasons that they’ve been laid off. They’re not getting paid. They can’t work because their kids are at home and they can’t work. This is job number one, targeted, bold, quick, strong aid, and that is the most important thing we can do.
Senator Schumer: (35:15)
And I think that is the contrast between us and our Republican friends. They’re worried about the big businesses. They want to pump some money into the economy, but if you don’t solve the immediate healthcare and economic needs of the people who are hurt, the problem will just get worse, and the airlines will be in worse shape, and the economy will be in worse shape. So we must do all of those things and do them quickly.
Senator Schumer: (35:49)
Today I distributed a PowerPoint, which you all have, and a whitepaper, which is much more detailed than what I said. Oh, by the way, on hospitals, if we don’t get help to our hospitals right away, the large hospitals may survive, although not as well, but medium-sized hospitals, small hospitals, rural hospitals will go under, they tell us in a month or two. They need help right away, as well. Can’t have hospitals permanently closed.
Senator Schumer: (36:18)
So the needs are immediate and strong, and our package addresses them. I haven’t heard anything coming out of Secretary Mnuchin or the President to deal with these immediate issues. That’s job number one. There are other jobs and we will certainly look at them.
Senator Schumer: (36:35)
In terms of pumping money into the economy, you can’t do it without doing the things I mentioned. The things I mentioned come first, and it can’t be replacement for doing the things we’re doing, or it’ll be a Sisyphean task. It won’t solve anything. And it should be very robust. Very robust, and be able to be repeated time after time if it doesn’t work at the beginning. But we’ll see what happens there. We’re focusing on job one.
Senator Schumer: (37:11)
And one other thing I’d say in terms of help for corporations, and I know that the President is talking to the airlines industry. He’s talking to the travel industry. He’s talking to the leisure industry. And we just want to make sure whatever hope we give them, whatever help we give them, workers come first. The vast majority of the aid should go to the workers, not to increasing salaries. Not to doing the kinds of things that these companies have done, like buybacks. We would prohibit buybacks. We’re also thinking that there should be, if they’re going to get help, maybe their employees should get on the boards of these companies. Last time the government …
Senator Schumer: (38:03)
The government took stock when they gave money to the banks. Well maybe that stock should go to the employees so they have some representation in these industries. We also want to, so we want them to pay $15 minimum wage and we want to make sure that they strict requirements they keep workers in their jobs and not cut their benefits. The aid has to be workers first if we’re going to help these industries. Not what happened in 2008 where the big boys got helped and the workers and everybody else was left by the wayside.
Senator Schumer: (38:44)
So our plan puts working people, average middle class families first. It puts the health of the country first and then we will move on to other things. Senator Durbin. Okay, one other thing. Yes, left out. This should be a four corners in negotiation with the White House. The plan that Leader McConnell laid out will only delay things for the Republicans to first tech together and put together their plan, then work it out with the White House and then come to us, and then after that go to the House will just slow things down. I believe the best way to get this going is in a bipartisan way from the outset.
Senator Schumer: (39:32)
We have our ideas, they have their ideas, but Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, myself and the White House sit down and come to an agreement rather quickly. The plan Leader McConnell laid out will slow things down in a significant and dramatic way and it doesn’t start out in a bipartisan way. And above all, this should be bipartisan. Senator Durbin.
Senator Durbin: (40:03)
This is not just another political issue. We know it. It’s a matter of life and death. And today in Illinois we announced the first coronavirus fatality. A person who passed away while being hospitalized. I also learned from the Illinois Department of Public Health that there was some worry about a nursing home when a person came down with the coronavirus infection and then they turned around and tested every resident of the nursing home and every staff member and in the words of the director of public health, dozens of positive test resulted in that one facility.
Senator Durbin: (40:40)
She told me this, she said, just to let you know, we’re going to use up so much of our protective equipment in a place where we didn’t even anticipate a challenge and we are woefully, woefully behind in terms of receiving help from the federal government. So I might say at the outset, let us not assume that the first thing we did here, the coronavirus one package that we pass some $8 billion directed toward medical research, medical equipment, medical vaccines, and such has done its job yet. We haven’t seen it in Illinois.
Senator Durbin: (41:13)
It’s been promised over and over again. We have fewer than 500 tests today in a state of almost 13 million people. The number of people who’ve been tested for positives really is just a fraction, I’m afraid, of what is truly the case out there. So before we start thinking about phase two, phase three, as important as each one of them is, let’s get phase one right. Let’s make sure that the testing kits and the protective equipment is there for Illinois and for every state that needs it. That is absolutely essential to deal with the medical side of this crisis.
Senator Durbin: (41:46)
And let me say as well, it is time for us to pass the second package that passed the House of Representatives in the early morning hours of Saturday. It could have been done and Leader McConnell knows it with unanimous consent on Saturday, on Sunday, yesterday and even this morning, but he didn’t move forward with it. Now there are no excuses. He’s promised that he’ll bring it up, and I hope he does it quickly because we need to tell the American people we are moving on that bipartisan agreement quickly.
Senator Durbin: (42:17)
There are parts of it which I’m not excited about. There are parts I’m sure the Republicans are not, but it is a bipartisan agreement. And as Leader Schumer said, that should be the beginning point for all of our negotiations on this critical issue. In terms of the CDC guidelines, we hear over and over from Leader McConnell that we should follow these guidelines. Those guidelines call for working from home, which we’re certainly not doing. Those guidelines say don’t go into a meeting with more than 10 people. I’m not going to count how many of you in this room.
Senator Durbin: (42:47)
There were 18 people on the floor of the Senate this morning when we did the prayer before the Senate, three senators and 15 others. So we have to understand that this circumstance is unusual. We are not exactly setting the best example for America in how we’re doing it, but we have to do it. We have to do it with a sense of purpose and a sense of urgency. We have to understand that business as usual is unacceptable. I agree completely with Leader Schumer when he says that our priority first is the health issue.
Senator Durbin: (43:18)
If we don’t deal with that and deal with it effectively, nothing else that we do is going to be of any merit. Secondly, to look at it through the perspective of families and workers across America who are the first line of defense against this pandemic and have to be willing to step forward if they’re not feeling well and step away from work, even if it means losing a paycheck. We’ve got to come through with medical leave and unemployment compensation to make them whole again. I stand ready to work on a bipartisan basis.
Senator Durbin: (43:44)
Let us not make this a four or five step procedure as Senator McConnell suggested just a few moments ago. Let’s put the principals in a room, put the proposals on the table. Let’s get this done and done in an effective and efficient, timely way. Senator Stabenow.
Senator Stabenow: (44:00)
Thank you. Well, we all know this is an incredibly difficult time for all of us, for our families and for the people we represent. And we, as my colleagues have said, are laser focused on helping those that are hurt the most, the individuals, the families, the small businesses, the targeted industries. That’s where we’re focused and we also know that we are past time and passing the package that came from the House. Part of that package includes waivers that allow school districts to take school lunch money and be able to make sure that children who usually only eat healthy meals at school have the opportunity to eat.
Senator Stabenow: (44:42)
So most of the schools closed yesterday. So did the children eat yesterday? Are they eating today? I mean, this is something of paramount urgency to families and to children. When we look at the needs of the food banks, when we look at the WIC program for pregnant moms and children, these things have tremendous urgency. Every hour counts, and that’s why we are so frustrated that this bill has not already passed. We all realize the next steps need to include both a major economic package focused on, again, people that are impacted as well as expanded healthcare funding.
Senator Stabenow: (45:22)
And first and foremost, this is a public health crisis. This is a healthcare crisis that we have to address. We need to make sure our hospitals and doctors and nurses and other healthcare workers have everything they need to meet the medical needs of people as well as the medical needs of themselves in this process. And as we work on the next package, I’m so pleased that our proposal make sure that we address health care above the neck as well as below the neck. And what do I mean by that?
Senator Stabenow: (45:54)
Well, in addition to our hospitals and our community health centers that are frontline on addressing medical issues, we also know that expanding community behavioral health centers is critical, so we’re not leaving the mentally ill and people with addiction behind. Medical experts are stressing that people who misuse opioids are at high risk of the coronavirus because opioids impact their respiratory and pulmonary health issues and they are particularly affected and vulnerable to the coronavirus, so I’m very proud that our package includes addressing that.
Senator Stabenow: (46:34)
This is a critical time for everyone in our country and we are committed to working with the White House. We’re committed to working with Republican colleagues to get it right, not in this elongated process that Leader McConnell is talking about, but getting the leaders at the table all at once to be able to negotiate quickly what needs to be done. And let me stress, this is not the time for broad based tax cuts that mainly help people who least are affected, least are effected by the crisis.
Senator Stabenow: (47:04)
This is the time to help those who are having the toughest time and will have the toughest time surviving this crisis. While the president continues to focus on people who are on the stock market, we are focused on people who need to be able to get to the supermarket and we hope our Republican colleagues will join us.
Senator Schumer: (47:32)
Yeah. Just one point. We are clear to let a covid 2, the bill that the House passed go forward right now. It’s the Republican side that hasn’t cleared the bill yet. I didn’t make that clear. And second, I guess the overall point here is we hope the White House will pay attention to some of the things we’ve talked about because if you don’t deal with the healthcare crisis, the stock market, which they seem to be more focused on is not going to improve questions. Yes?
Speaker 23: (48:03)
[inaudible 00:48:03] one or two questions [inaudible 00:00:48:08]. But one, what do you think in general about the idea of $1,000 per person as a form of stimulus? It’s something Republicans are talking about a lot. And I want to be sure I understand what you’re saying. Are you proposing or are you open to perhaps a fourth bill after this next?
Senator Schumer: (48:23)
Look, we don’t know. I mean, this is one of the most serious crises America has ever faced and we’d like to do as much as we can in bill three but there probably will be other bills. And on the first point, the main focus has to be on the things we talked about, first healthcare and the workers’ families who have been put in real jeopardy by the economic crisis. As for just putting money in people’s pockets, it needs to be robust. It needs to be able to be repeated and it can’t be to the exclusion of the things we talked about. Yes?
Speaker 24: (49:06)
Senator Durbin talked about the challenges of sort of social distancing when you’re in the United States Senate. Senator McConnell said that he wants to keep the Senate in session until this third [inaudible 00:49:11] is completed. What are your thoughts on how long the Senate should be here?
Senator Schumer: (49:13)
Well, look, we have to get this done. That comes first, but we also have to set an example for the American people today. We usually have a Tuesday lunch where 47 senators and some staff cram into a small room. Today, we did it as a teleconference and it worked out very well and there are only two people in the room that where I was on the phone with. Yes?
Speaker 25: (49:36)
Senator Schumer, are you open to the idea of a $1 trillion scope package?
Senator Schumer: (49:41)
I think it may have to be higher than that. Our package is a minimum of $750 billion and there are other ideas that are needed. Yes?
Speaker 26: (49:52)
[inaudible 00:49:52] for the airlines? [inaudible 00:00:49:55]?
Senator Schumer: (49:58)
Well, look, I think we’ve got to see the whole thing. It has to put workers first. As I mentioned, I mentioned, I said no salary increases. I mean for the corporate executives and the buybacks in a lot of Democrats’ craws, a lot of these airlines bought back their stock so they have less liquidity and cushion right now. How are we going to deal with that? I don’t think the American people want to allow them to buy back their stock and then without any recompense get aid. Okay.
Speaker 27: (50:28)
Senator Schumer: (50:30)
Well, we’ll have to figure that out.
Speaker 27: (50:35)
Mark Warner was boarding talking about the guarantee of 90% of the workforce [inaudible 00:00:50:37].
Senator Schumer: (50:38)
Well, I think it probably should be much more than just that.
Speaker 27: (50:42)
Senator Schumer: (50:42)
Much, that was just one of his ideas and I would say that again, it’s got to be a policy that helps workers first. Not going to do what they did in 2008. Okay.
Speaker 28: (50:54)
[inaudible 00:12: 56].
Senator Schumer: (51:01)
Amy Klobuchar is looking into that for us. She doesn’t think there’s a constitutional barrier at first impression, but it’s something we’ll have to look at.
Speaker 29: (51:10)
Leader McConnell just firmly shut the door and said that it’s not going to happen.
Senator Schumer: (51:13)
Okay. Look, I think we have to do our job first in whichever way we do it. Okay. That’s for sure. We cannot. There’s such a crisis here that we are needed to be working and getting the job done in whatever the quickest, best, healthiest way is. Okay. Thanks.