Mar 24, 2020
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear Coronavirus Briefing Transcript March 24
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear gave an update on COVID-19 for the state March 24. Read the full transcript of his press conference speech here.
Andy Beshear: (00:00)
I know they’re are an update, but there also a time for us to be together as Kentuckians each and every day. I want to thank you to all the houses of worship, the churches, the synagogues, the mosques that abide by the guidance and aren’t holding in-person services and are getting their messages out other ways. I want to continue to ask any of those houses of worship and anybody else to ring your bells at 10:00 AM every day. That’s just going to remind, especially those that are homebound, those that maybe don’t have others living in the house, those that are working on NTI with their kids, that they are not alone even if they are not seeing the same people every day. I thank our frontline heroes, all of our healthcare workers that show up every single day marching into what they know is danger, but doing the right thing to protect us.
Andy Beshear: (00:50)
I want to thank all our teachers who are doing all they can and finding creative ways to help their students and I want to thank the maintenance staff in all of the buildings around Kentucky that are doing what it takes to sanitize them, to make sure that they are safe. It was a couple of days ago where I made all the cleaning crew here in the Capitol Kentucky Colonels because you don’t always appreciate the importance of what people do and my goodness, right now, these are some of the most important folks around the Commonwealth. So if you are still going in to an in-person business, hopefully everybody is spread out and hopefully the numbers of have thinned please thank that custodial and other crew. That’s what team Kentucky looks like coming together and doing the right things.
Andy Beshear: (01:39)
I want to share some good news tonight as well that we have multiple industries coming together to create sanitizer here in Kentucky. It’s both some food service industry and some of our bourbon industry that are making barrels of sanitizer for hospitals. That’s going to be really important. And they’re providing sanitizer to first responders. I want to thank everybody out there that’s providing meals, meals to kids and meals to seniors. And we hope starting tomorrow, but we’re going to be rolling it out, we’re going to be providing state workers to help out at some of our food banks. We have food banks that right now don’t have the volunteers they need with the extra capacity. We as state employees want to help and provided it’s a safe environment. We are going to come and help.
Andy Beshear: (02:32)
I also want you to know that we are out there and I know we’ll have questions and I’m working every day to secure as much personal protective equipment for our healthcare workers as possible. And I want to thank whoever it is that dropped off 4,000 swabs today and didn’t even walk in to talk about it. Swabs are necessary to do kits and tests and without the swabs you can’t do a test. This is running low all over the country and someone came in and just dropped off 4,000 today. I want to thank that individual. Amazing people do amazing things when it’s needed the most. So thank you very much.
Andy Beshear: (03:17)
Couple of other things before… I want to put a request out for any group out there that can provide meals, you could be churches, you could be other groups, we’ve got a couple of counties that right now could use the help and these aren’t any fault of their own. They’re counties that we’re going to help out in with meals that we have, but I want to put the call out there because I know the community will respond. So if you are in Trigg, Graves, Mason, Taylor, Lawrence or Christian and you can help make meals for seniors, for kids, or for others that need it, call your local leaders. They are working hard. They are working really hard. This is no failure of theirs. They are doing a good job. But if this can be a call that provides extra resources to them to help create those meals and get them out, let’s do this really good thing together.
Andy Beshear: (04:18)
Also, I want our school system to know that we filed, I’m sorry, that I signed Senate Bill 177 today that is going to have an emergency clause. So it went into effect when I signed it. It provides a relief for school districts due to this emergency, they’ll have unlimited NTI days instead of being kept, they’ll wave in-student person attendance requirements and ultimately help out our school system a lot. And our Kentucky Department of Education, Commissioner Kevin Brown, I believe has received approval to cancel K-PREP testing, which he is going to do for this year. There’s no way we can do it safely this year and no one is going to be penalized.
Andy Beshear: (05:01)
I want to say the amazing work out there being done for meals, especially for seniors. We had 11,825 meals served on Monday, March 23rd statewide, 150% increase for seniors. I want to mention a couple of groups that are stepping out to help. We’ve got CANE’s Kitchen in Letcher County, we’ve got the Perry County Jail that’s helping out with their senior center, we’ve got Horseshoe Catering in Perry County, we have Albany, Kentucky Head Start using their staff to prepare meals and many others that are helping out. So we have a lot of good things going on out there.
Andy Beshear: (05:43)
But I do want to say we still have folks that aren’t following the recommendations and that ultimately hurts all of us. I’m about to do the update today of new cases, but I want to say identifying which one. We have a positive case today from someone who attended a Coronavirus party. And this is the part where I, the person that tell everybody to be calm, have to remain calm myself because anyone who goes to something like this may think that they are indestructible, but it’s someone else’s loved one that they are going to hurt.
Andy Beshear: (06:26)
We are battling for the health and even the lives of our parents and our grandparents. And don’t be so callous as to intentionally go to something and expose yourself to something that can kill other people. We ought to be much better than that. And folks, we all owe each other a duty. We all owe each other a duty to protect each other and we simply can’t have folks that are doing things like this. So this is one that I hope I never have to report on again. This is something that no one should be doing across the Commonwealth. And my job in these press conferences is to talk to you about how we’re going to get through it and we are, and that we’re going to do everything we can to protect the lives of those around us, but this is one that makes me mad and it should make you mad. But ultimately, power forgiveness, we get through this. We should forgive that person, but no more of these anywhere, statewide, ever for any reason.
Andy Beshear: (07:33)
Okay. So let’s move into our update for today and as we know, we expect more cases every day. What we are trying to do is to, what they call flattening the curve, is to make sure that we have enough healthcare facilities and enough beds as we know our cases are going to increase every day and we know that they are going to increase every day and increased significantly. Let’s show the Philadelphia versus St. Louis slide. I think it’s important that we talk about some of these same things every day. This is the way a pandemic occurs that you have a spike, and it’s a big spike regardless of which city you are of cases and we know we are now in the midst of that spike, but we don’t know where we are and we won’t know exactly how well we’re doing until we get some more data.
Andy Beshear: (08:31)
But let me tell you, I believe that we acted fast, we have acted aggressively, and we are doing everything we can to make sure that spike is more like St. Louis’ than Philadelphia’s so that we have enough healthcare facility and capacity to make sure that we can take care of everybody that we need to. We don’t have a lot of data in Kentucky right now, but our cases are increasing significantly day over day. So this is a little bit, again, with just a little bit of data about where it looks in Kentucky today and this is all expected. And folks, this can and we hope still would fit in that St. Louis graph just on the number of cases that we’re seeing and we know that we’re going to see them day after day.
Andy Beshear: (09:23)
So our numbers today are, we believe that we have 163 cases of the Coronavirus, which is 39 new cases since yesterday. We haven’t been able to confirm all of them because again, we’ve even had one more lab come up today that we have seen and we are not getting all the information as quickly as we need. So of the new cases, I believe that we have, I can account for about 29 of them. We have one in Christian, one in Clark, three in Daviess, I believe we have 12 in Fayette, but I can confirm six of them, one in Franklin, five in Jefferson, one in Jessamine, two in Kenton, one in Martin, two in McCracken, one in Menifee, two in Muhlenberg, two in Pulaski and one in Warren. And again, what we’re seeing is different labs will report to the facility that that is in and that we’ll need to make sure that again, we’re getting as much information in as we move forward as possible from all of these labs so we can have the best information.
Andy Beshear: (10:40)
Now, in good news today, we will not have to be lightened up in any of our houses screen. We’ve done a good job of protecting our people today. That we know more of that is coming, we do have to be prepared for it and this is why we are taking the steps that we are taking because the risk to our most vulnerable is significant and we’re going to do what it takes to make sure that we protect them. All right, I’m going to talk through some of our previous actions and then talk about some steps we’re going to take moving forward. And with this being the single biggest day that we’ve had thus far with an increase of cases, we are going to have to be taking increasingly significant steps as we move forward.
Andy Beshear: (11:26)
Again, we know that we are in the time where any pandemic, we have escalating cases, which means we got to continue to act, act now and act in a significant way that protects our people. So we declared a state of emergency, unlocking more resources to help our people activate the emergency management operation center and the State Health Operations Center. Now, we announced our COVID-19 Coronavirus hotline that is 1-800-722-5725. That’s 1- 800-722-5725…
Andy Beshear: (12:00)
(800) 722-5725. Let’s put up the infographic on when to seek care and when to call in. I mentioned yesterday that this guidance has changed. If you are well but nervous, call the hotline. That’s 1-800-722-5725, it has been significantly staffed up and while you’ll have to be patient, we want to talk to you if you need to talk to us. If you are sick, but you might not have sought medical attention, but for the coronavirus, we want you to call your local health provider. Call your primary care doctor directly, don’t go into the office, call them. That’s the type of behavior we need during the virus to make sure that you are not going into a place where you might be exposed to it. And third, if you are feeling sick and you would have sought care or if you were injured, go ahead and go to your healthcare facility.
Andy Beshear: (12:59)
These are all important steps to make sure we have the healthcare capacity to help the sickest amongst us. Again, this is about being a good neighbor. It’s about making sure we keep our cool and we keep our calm and we make sure that the resources are there for the most vulnerable amongst us. We also have launched our website and our website is the definitive source in Kentucky for information on the coronavirus. It is kycovid19. ky.gov, all of our recommendations, links to any of our orders, everything that you need, we are trying to put on this one website. And it’s important to have just one and not a whole lot of other places to go, because at a time when things can be spread through social media that aren’t true and at a time when enemies of our country are trying to use those methods of social media to stir unrest, we need one place for people to be able to go to get that information. We have also moved our primary election deadline, our primary elections themselves to June 23rd, 2020, but again, we will make it safe, make sure it’s safe before we ask any of our poll workers to show up. We’ve been working to protect healthcare for our most vulnerable Kentuckians. That’s making sure that we do everything we can, whether it’s private insurance or Medicaid, that treatment and testing is free. We’ve had to limit visitation to virtually any facility that caters or provides for a senior, we’ve allowed pharmacies to refill prescriptions up to 30 days. We have taken steps and I want to appreciate our local leaders for a minute, in taking steps when it’s necessary to make sure somebody self quarantines or to do everything they can to stop a gathering where the coronavirus could be spread. Now these things are happening across counties and you know what I’m finding? Is that that our local leaders are exactly where I am.
Andy Beshear: (15:03)
There is no Democrat or Republican right now. There is only American versus the coronavirus and we are seeing local officials step up and do what it takes to protect their people. And for all of you, I greatly, greatly appreciate you. We are providing guidance to support good mental health and relieve anxiety. If you could put that one up, this is so important. You know, as the days or the weeks or even the months progress, we’ve got to make sure we are mentally strong. The way that this virus spreads, tests our resolve and tests our mental and emotional health. We are people that want to be close to each other and this virus is truly testing that. Staying strong mentally, physically and emotionally, is our key to making sure we can do this however long it takes to beat the coronavirus because that is what we have to be willing to do. We’ve also now signed an executive order ceasing all elective medical procedures. I know there are those that disagree with that out in the state, but almost all of those procedures require the personal protective equipment, and also the time and the beds that we are going to desperately need when this escalation continues. My job is to make sure we have 100% of our healthcare capacity ready, as we see increase in cases. We have started and are working statewide social distancing every day and we’ve banned all mass gatherings. We’re encouraging all businesses to let their people work from home and we launched a COVID-19 reporting hotline and that’s about protecting people.
Andy Beshear: (16:48)
It’s about if somebody is working in a dangerous environment, then ultimately we need to know. And I will say that we received a couple thousand calls last night and please bear with us as we work through those. As we put out more guidance, hopefully there can be more compliance all over Kentucky. And as you all know, we have had to close a number of facilities and businesses to in-person traffic and in-person sales. We’re also working to provide economic relief to Kentuckians that are out there. We launched the Team Kentucky fund, which people can make a donation to. It will be used to help those that are struggling as we move through this coronavirus.
Andy Beshear: (17:37)
Also excited the Small Business Administration is now processing the claims that we have filed. We have moved back the date of tax filing deadlines to July the 15th and we are also working to make sure that everybody who can sign-up for unemployment has that opportunity. There is a schedule this week that’s really important to follow because at a time of anxiety, I don’t want you to have to wait long periods of time to speak to somebody or to get what you need. So again, here are the days, depending on your last name, that you need to file your claim. There is no penalty, not at all, for waiting for your day. We will make sure that you are treated appropriately.
Andy Beshear: (18:24)
Also want to make sure that there is no stigma on public assistance during these times. These are times that none of us have ever lived through and we want to make sure everybody is able to get through it and everybody has enough. Know that our food supply chain is strong, groceries are always going to stay open. Know that your pharmacies are always going to be open. When you go to a grocery store, buy for a week. Remember if you buy for a month, the person behind you might not be able to get what they need. Being a good neighbor, it’s about how we get through this all together.
Andy Beshear: (19:03)
All right, so a couple of new steps with the rise in cases and knowing that these next probably two weeks, are going to be some of the most important. We are going to take a next step, so effective Thursday at 8:00 PM, we’re going to be asking all non-life sustaining businesses to close to in-person traffic. We’ll admit that a lot of businesses that are going to be under this order are going to be life sustaining, and that a whole lot of our commerce that’s out there is incredibly important to sustaining people’s lives, but even for those that are going to be accepted under this order, we are going to mandate the type of social distance that we have to see, that we have to see out there to protect our people. The order is going to be out tomorrow and that’ll provide the details and give time for people to ask questions, but let me just say this:
Andy Beshear: (20:04)
At a very least, these types of stores will stay open: groceries, drug stores, pharmacies, banks, agriculture. None of those will close. Drug stores won’t close, gas stations won’t close. Manufacturing key to our national interest or life sustaining goods will remain open. And a couple of others just to make sure. All of those under the federal critical infrastructure sector will remain open. The retail that we mentioned yesterday or two days ago that will remain open, will still remain open. Food, beverage and agriculture will remain open. Media, gas stations and businesses needed for transportation, financial services, housing, building and construction, mail, post shipping, logistics, delivery and pickup, laundry services. Restaurants can still be open as long as they follow the guidelines that we have out there, meaning delivery, take out and curbside. If you were going to do take out, please limit the number of people that are coming in, especially given the size of your store. Please engage in significant social distancing. We want to be able to keep this option open.
Andy Beshear: (21:19)
Those that supply life sustaining businesses, transportation, home-based care and services and professional services. Though, let me say, with professional services, being somebody who was in one before I came to government, you can do almost all of it from home. If you are a lawyer or an accountant, if you are in real estate, you can do almost all of this from home. And if regulations need to be eased to allow you to do it, we will do it. Make sure, if you are an accepted business or practice that you are following the social distancing guidelines. Manufacturer, distribution and supply chain for critical projects and industries. Telework is going to be allowed in any industry and for anyone that can do like what we asked in our restaurants, whether that is curbside, whether it is delivery, all of that is going to be allowable.
Andy Beshear: (22:18)
But folks, just yesterday we had the single toughest day for the coronavirus here in the country. We saw a hundred deaths just yesterday in the country and this thing is ramping up like we knew it would, and we’ve got to be ready to do what it takes to protect our citizens. And that’s what we are going to do, we’re going to rise to the occasion. Now, we’re going to be here tomorrow to answer questions. We’re going to get that order out, but please know it is just the next step we need to take. And with that step, and with others that we’ll reevaluate, we’re going to go about 10 days at a time. Now, I don’t want anybody out there to think that we think 10 days from now we’re going to be able to ease restrictions. I can almost guarantee that we’re not. But what I want to be able to do is I want to be able to look forward to a chunk of time and a period that we can come up to and we can provide you a report on where we are.
Andy Beshear: (23:13)
This will not last forever. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel, even though we don’t know exactly how far it is away. But as long as we have the strength and the perseverance and the resiliency, we can defeat this coronavirus on the very first try. And that’s what we’ve got to do, to protect our people and to protect our loved ones.
Andy Beshear: (23:36)
All right, with that, we will move into questions. I’ve got a group here, and then I know we’ve got some folks that are out here. So the first question I have from a concerned caregiver is, any word on caregivers and their company’s closing? The caregivers are life sustaining. They are required, especially for those that are receiving in-person care. And.
Andy Beshear: (24:03)
… folks that are receiving in-person care and absolutely have to have it, but if you are a caregiver that goes into someone’s home and spends a large portion of your day, I know you already care about that person. What it means is you have to reduce your outside contacts with other people to the bare minimum. You are spending your days, and thank you for doing it, protecting those that are the most vulnerable to this virus. So I need you to make sure that you fill, and I know you do, your duty to protect those that you work with even more so maybe than others. So make sure if you are one of these caregivers that you go to work and you help people and you go home and try to do as little else as you can.
Andy Beshear: (24:48)
Wondering how many calls the hotline had to report noncompliance? We had about 2000 last night. We’re continuing to work on it. That doesn’t mean that there is noncompliance. It just means that people out there want to feel safe and feel protected and that’s our job to try to do that. Folks out here. Joe.
President Trump said he would like to see the country opened back up by Easter, which is less than three weeks. Do you think that’s realistic for [inaudible 00:25:14]?
Andy Beshear: (25:17)
The question is, and I didn’t see the press conference today but apparently the president said he’d like to see everything open by Easter and large crowds in different places. We’ve got to be ready to do what it takes to defeat the coronavirus on the very first try. So my son Will is supposed to be baptized in his church this Easter and that’s something that happens in-person, or at least has in my lifetime. I talked to talk to him about this the other day and what he said to me is, “If dad, it helps other people, I can wait.” I think that’s pretty special, and I think all of us have to be ready to wait however long it takes, if it helps other people.
Andy Beshear: (26:03)
We are now just seeing the escalation of this virus and to suggest that there is a short duration that we could almost promise people is not something that we should be doing. We’ve got to be ready. I mean, these are the lives of our parents and our grandparents. This is a significant outbreak that we’re having and we are … I mean, we’re all sacrificing so much. Those that are out there that have lost their jobs, you are sacrificing so much. To those that are out there that have had to shut down their businesses that they worked so hard for, you are sacrificing so much.
Andy Beshear: (26:38)
Let’s make sure we get the job done. After what we’ve asked you to do, let’s make sure that we defeat this virus and we don’t just set a random number of days and then stop doing what we’re doing and it result in a threat to the life of so many Kentuckians. Yeah. Joe.
Have there been any cases reported at Fort Knox?
Andy Beshear: (27:08)
Now the question is, have there been any cases reported in Fort Knox? I don’t have any information that there have been, but we will check on that. Besides the SBA low interest loan program that’s now been approved. Are there plans for Kentucky led efforts to provide relief, specifically to small business owners, or this be wrapped into the Team Kentucky Fund announced last night?
Andy Beshear: (27:32)
So I want to talk about small business owners and independent contractors. Oftentimes they might be the same, but they’re not always the same. There are independent contractors that don’t own their own small businesses. We know you’re hurting. We know that you don’t qualify for unemployment and that is an error in the system. That’s because the unemployment system was set up never anticipating something like this. Let me tell you that we are fighting for you and we hope to have some good news as early as tomorrow.
Andy Beshear: (28:06)
For many of you, the system is unfair. If you fall into one of those groups, I believe, and I’m going to fight to get you on unemployment as quickly as we can. You need help just like everybody else and I think I saw an article today of somebody saying they shouldn’t have to starve, they’re right. They should not have to starve, and we’re going to do everything we can and we hope to have more good news soon. I’m sorry that we don’t have it today, but I’m working towards it and I can tell you every day that I don’t have that good news to provide you. I’m disappointed. I’ll continue to work on it.
Andy Beshear: (28:42)
When I’m talking about private labs not sending their negative tests, does that include U of L? So right now we now have, I think it’s 11 or 12-
Andy Beshear: (28:52)
I have to think, Oh it’s opposite day. Like my children will say, “There’s actually something opposite being said. Let me just figure out what that opposite thing is.” So let’s go through where we are and then we’ll come through the opposite day aspect of our conversations.
Andy Beshear: (29:08)
First, people are hurting. But not just people being laid off. Schools have been discharged. My wife cofounded a school for children with dyslexia, public charter school, children of all backgrounds come and have their dyslexia addressed. It is critical that those children be in school. There is a science-based way for those kids to learn how to read and if they have to be dismissed because of fear about spreading disease, then those children are not being exposed to that science-based curriculum and those children are therefore losing the opportunity to both learn and to have their issue of dyslexia addressed. That’s just one school. There are very many more.
Andy Beshear: (29:55)
So to address, last week the Senate majority leader put together a proposal where he would have senators from the Republican party draft some initial concepts, clearly not written in stone, clearly open to negotiation, and then meet with Democratic counterparts to come up with a bipartisan solution that would reflect the perspectives of all hundred senators knowing that each Senator represents a different constituency elected by people with a different viewpoint, but the amalgamation of those viewpoints and constituencies would come up with a wise public policy that would help to address both the medical crisis and the economic crisis.
Andy Beshear: (30:39)
It was bipartisan and I was struck. One of our democratic colleagues was on a show, was asked about the process, and he said, “It actually worked well. I met with the small business people. I met with this Senator from the Democratic side and from this Senator from the Republican side, and we had a process that worked. It worked very well on the member level. It is in the leadership that it broke down.” Oh, that’s interesting. In the leadership, the bipartisan process with a product that both sides had agreed upon, broke down.
Andy Beshear: (31:17)
Now Madam president, let’s contrast this bipartisan process which led to a series of policies with the opposite day rhetoric that has been used by the Senate minority leader. The bipartisan product came up with an economic stabilization fund in which dollars would be transferred to the treasury department, which would then be transferred to the Federal Reserve, to set up guaranteed loans so that an industry, not a specific business, an industry, think tourist industry, think healthcare. Somebody particularly affected by the coronavirus epidemic, as a class, would be able to come and get guaranteed loans, they keep their people employed, they keep their business going so that when we get through this rough patch, their business can restart as before.
Andy Beshear: (32:27)
Now the opposite day rhetoric of the Senate minority leader is that this is a bailout for big corporations and it was a sweetheart deal put together by Republicans. Oh, opposite day. It was actually a bipartisan deal that goes through the Federal Reserve in a way that is sector specific, but not business specific, with the goal of keeping people employed. But the opposite day rhetoric is that it’s a bailout. These are loans, specifically loans, that have to be paid back. By law, the Federal Reserve cannot take a loss.
Andy Beshear: (33:05)
Madam president, that is not a bailout. That is a loan to keep people employed and it’s wise public policy brought together on a bipartisan basis, bipartisan Democrats and Republicans, that come up with the solution reflecting all viewpoints across the country. So despite the opposite day rhetoric as somebody who wishes to disparage, who wishes to diminish, who wishes to depreciate a process that worked as the Senate is supposed to work, Madame president, instead, it was denigrated. I kept asking myself why, why? We’ll come to that in a little bit.
Andy Beshear: (33:45)
What else about the opposite day process? That not enough has spent on healthcare. Madam president, I am a doctor. I went through these provisions for health care. We are spending literally, literally tens of billions of dollars on healthcare trying to find where to use the best, the opposite day rhetoric that we’re not. Didn’t quite figure that one out. That we’re not spending on the average American. Madam president, opposite day rhetoric, $1,200 to an individual, $2,400 to a couple, that just goes out the door. Those folks get it. That is a commitment.
Andy Beshear: (34:28)
Also committed to keeping small businesses afloat with an expedited process by which that small business can obtain cash and loan, and that loan, the portion of which is used to keep people employed, is forgiven. Forgiven Madam president. So if I borrowed, if I was a restaurant owner and I borrowed $100,000, and I use 75,000 of it to keep my employees employed, that 75,000 is forgiven and I only have to pay back $25,000. Madam president, that is a bipartisan policy put together specifically to keep Americans employed with their benefits.
Andy Beshear: (35:12)
By the way, if you were a waitress or a waiter, your tips were included in your salary, and so even though you might get a smaller amount, you make it up on tips. We took that into account with this bipartisan legislation. Bipartisan legislation that addressed that need. Opposite day, the Senate minority leaders rhetoric was that we weren’t taking care of people. Why would he not tell the truth? Why would he specifically attempt to fool the American people about what was actually being done? I had to think about that. Madam president, why would he attempt to corrupt the entire process to tell the American people something which is not true? I’m not sure about that. Madam president, I’m not sure about that.
Andy Beshear: (36:00)
So we got the deal put up by the speaker …
Andy Beshear: (36:03)
Sure about that. So we got the deal put up by the Speaker of the House in which she said in exchange for the airlines being able to continue to employ flight attendants and pilots and ground crew and administrators, they would have to do an emission profile for every airplane. I’m struggling to stay afloat. I have no passengers. My cash flow’s immediately interrupted, but by the way, let me go out and get an emissions profile for my airplane, or else otherwise I don’t get to stay in business. That is so absurd that I kept thinking that cannot be the answer. That is so stupid. Madam President, how can you label it anything else in this circumstance, when people are in the process of boarding up their businesses, that that is the nonsense you would propose.
Andy Beshear: (36:57)
So I kept thinking, why would they want that, Madam President, when the American people are hurting, and just like in a military emergency and just like in a medical emergency, it demands rapid action.
Andy Beshear: (37:12)
I was just presiding, Madam President, just before you, and as I was about to come on, I heard on the TV somebody speaking, the senior Senator from Illinois, and I got a clue. He was not speaking of the Senate working where Republicans and Democrats come together and respecting a hundred different constituencies, a hundred different viewpoints on a bipartisan basis, establishing policy that works for all, taking into account that Louisiana is different than Arizona, and Arizona is different than Maine, and Maine is different than Washington State. We’re all Americans, but we have different industries, and so part of this bipartisan process involving as many senators as possible was to totally reflect that which was going on.
Andy Beshear: (38:08)
But I finally had my clue as to why the Senate Majority Leader wants this process to break down, not to be representative of us as a whole, but rather that merely which he and the Speaker of the House can negotiate.
Andy Beshear: (38:26)
The Democratic Whip from Illinois spoke of the four corners process. Now those who are watching may not know what the four corners are. The four corners are when nothing else can work. You get the Senate Majority Leader, the Senate Minority Leader, the Speaker of the House, and the Minority Leader in the House meeting with the White House, and the four of them decide on everything. There’s no transparency. They’ll come out with a 2000 page bill with all kinds of sweetheart deals tucked into it, totally leaving out 98 other senators, but not leaving out those stakeholders.
Andy Beshear: (39:07)
Madam President, if you’re a stakeholder and you have somebody on your speed dial who’s one of those four corners, you can get what you want. So on this opposite day type reality where someone speaks of bailouts, I’m thinking, huh? Somebody once they particular industry bailed out, doesn’t want the scrutiny of a hundred senators looking at it with enough time to consider. No, they want to release the bill tonight to vote on tomorrow morning. Now the emergency kicks in. Oh, it’s something we can think about until that deal is baked, and then we have no time to consider, and then we must vote. That’s how the four corners process works. And suddenly it dawned on me.
Andy Beshear: (39:58)
Remember the process, Madam President, that I spoke of in which senators and both parties came together on a bipartisan basis to come up with something that would provide a little bit of support… no, a lot of support for the economy? Let’s talk about the airlines. In the deal that was come apart where all the senators are represented in one way or another, the deal that came together was that the airlines would get a loan but would not get free money. That’s what Republicans, frankly, wanted. That’s what the White House wanted. That was agreed to in the bipartisan arrangement before it got blown up by the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader.
Andy Beshear: (40:42)
Madam President, you know what I’m going to be curious to see? I’m going to be curious to see, Madam President, do the airlines get free money? Not just a loan to bridge over the rough spot to keep people employed, the attendants, the pilots, and the administrators, the ground crew, et cetera, but free money, and then I’ll understand the opposite day. I will understand that the reason that people have been talking about corporate bailouts is because they have particular industries in which they wish to bail out, and those who speak have no transparency. Again, opposite day. Now we’re into the four corners situation where no one knows what is being put into that package because 98 senators have been excluded. And by the way, let me just compliment my Senate Majority Leader. He is the one who proposed the transparent process of a bipartisan set of senators putting this together. So let’s just drop blame where blame should be.
Andy Beshear: (41:35)
As my Democratic colleagues said on TV, it was going pretty well until it came to leadership. Well Madam President, we will see that bill, we will vote on it after not having time to read it because it’s been crafted in a small room with people who did not include senators of both parties from different places because they had something they wished to put in there, and Madam President, we’ll find out later what those stakeholders are able to get. My stakeholders are the American people. My stakeholders, Madam President, are the ones who are boarding up their buildings right now because a bill we could have voted on Sunday is still not decided upon, because somebody has a special deal in which they wish to place.
Andy Beshear: (42:19)
Madam President, the way the Senate works is not a four corners arrangement where all the powers and the group of one or two or three or four, in which deals are released the night before and released the next day, and no one has a chance to read but some people are taken care of. Rather, it is to be as the Senate Majority Leader put up where there is bipartisan agreement with an opportunity to study, to understand and reflect upon, the American people are represented, special interests are kept in their place. Madame President, that is the way it should be. Unfortunately, that is not where we are now. Madam President, I wish it were not opposite day, but we shall find. I yield the floor.
Andy Beshear: (43:56)
Speaker 1: (43:56)
Senator from Georgia.
Speaker 2: (43:59)
Madam President, last week the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recognized agriculture for its critical role in the United States COVID-19 response. Today, in recognition of National Agriculture Day, I want to highlight the work that millions of Americans do each day to make the agriculture industry in America the greatest in the world. This industry is incredibly expansive, and at its most basic level, it is defined by the food, feed, fiber, and fuel it generates, but it is so much more. It fuels the global economy and is driven by millions of dedicated, hardworking people who are working every day to deliver these products. These folks are our nation’s farmers, ranchers, foresters and producers. This includes those who manufacture-