Jul 27, 2021
Mitch McConnell, Senate GOP Press Conference Transcript July 27
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senate GOP leaders held a press conference on July 27, 2021. Read the transcript of the full news briefing speech here.
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Mitch McConnell: (00:00)
Well, the whole Senate is so much sad today and particularly the Republican conference over the loss of our friend and colleague Mike Enzi. He was a remarkable individual. Smart, quiet, effective, the best kind of United States Senator. I look forward to honoring him further when we find the funeral arrangements are announced.
Mitch McConnell: (00:36)
With regard to where we are, we had an extensive discussion about infrastructure and our conference at lunch. But one thing we know beyond the infrastructure package is the reckless tax and spending spree is headed our way. And I can predict competently again, there’ll be no Republican support for this. The country does not need this. And in fact, we’re playing Russian roulette with our economy by continuing to pour trillions of dollars into our economy. That will be an extraordinary debate of enormous dimensions. I can’t think of a single issue that underscores the difference between the two parties more than the reckless tax and spending spree that we’ll be dealing with here in the next week or two.
Senator Thune: (01:30)
Let me just echo what the leader said about our colleague, Senator Enzi and I’m sure Senator Barrasso, you’ve heard him speak to this already, but he was the consummate professional. He was the kind of guy that, what you see is what you get. There weren’t any pretensions there. Hardworking, principled, and just as genuinely a good a human being as they come. So a real loss for obviously his family, Wyoming and his family here in the Senate and our country.
Senator Thune: (02:01)
Just let me say about the tax and spend proposal, the tax and spend spree, that’s been outlined by the Democrats. I was happy last week that every Republican Senator here sent a letter to the President, outlining something that we will never vote for. And that is the proposal to raise taxes on small business people and family farms and ranches that the President has laid out, I should say, in they’re three and a half trillion dollar tax and spend proposal.
Senator Thune: (02:41)
Part of that, I think, hearkens back to the fact that a lot of our farmers and ranchers throughout the pandemic, as they always do, showed up day in and day out. And one of the real silver linings, I think you could say about the pandemic is we never had a food shortage. We owe that to the people who are out there everyday working hard to make sure that we have a stable and affordable food supply. And they shouldn’t be rewarded by their government with a big fat tax increase as a result of that. Our members weighed in with the White House, made it very clear that, that was something that we’re not going to tolerate.
Senator Thune: (03:19)
And I’ll say one other issue about our farmers and ranchers. I had been requesting for some time, a hearing to take a look at the potential manipulation in the meat packing industry. Meat Packers have been reaping big profits. Those profits have not been seen by producers across this country. We had an AG committee hearing a few weeks ago that examined that and now the judiciary committee is also going to take a look. Because one thing we know is that the livestock producers in this country deserve fair, transparent markets. Again, we owe that to them and I’m going to work as hard as I possibly can to see that we get them some answers as to what’s happening in the markets out there that are seeing the meat packers continue to do well, ranchers continue to struggle and consumers continue to pay skyrocketing meat prices at the supermarket. That is an unacceptable situation.
Senator Barrasso: (04:24)
Well, thanks to all of you for the condolences that we’ve been receiving about our friend and colleague Mike Enzi. A number of you went to his Christmas cookie party every year. As you know, his wife, Diana would bake hundreds of dozens of cookies and invite everybody. The press would be invited. The police would be invited. The plumbers would be invited. Everybody on Capitol hill, all part of his family. Truly beloved in Wyoming. People really, they knew Mike and they understood that he respected them. That he understood their problems and he believed in them, and for that reason, he continued to get elected and reelected through four terms in the United States Senate.
Senator Barrasso: (05:05)
To the issue before us now in the Senate, this past weekend, Nancy Pelosi demonstrated who is truly running the Democrat party. It’s not Joe Biden. It’s certainly not Chuck Schumer. Nancy Pelosi went on national television and she made very clear that any bipartisan infrastructure bill passed here would not see the light of day in the House, unless and until, the Senate sent her a $3.5 trillion reckless tax and spending bill. This wasn’t a negotiation. This was a hijacking.
Senator Barrasso: (05:41)
What she’s proposing is bad for the economy and bad for the country. So she’s not only a hijacker. she’s also an arsonist. Because what she is proposing is going to put jet fuel on the flame of inflation that is hitting this country today. And so who are going to be the victims of this? Well, the victims of this inflation and taxes, it’s going to be certainly people on fixed incomes, seniors, young families starting out. The victims are also going to be every middle-class American who’s going to be paying more in taxes and more when they go to buy things.
Senator Barrasso: (06:16)
I’m sure you’ve seen, if you fill up a vehicle, that you’re paying $25 more for filling up the tank now than you were when Joe Biden took office. If you go to a weekly grocery shopping, you’re paying about $25 more for groceries than you did when Joe Biden took office. That is what we’re looking at. It does seem the Democrats want to drag us back into the age of Jimmy Carter inflation. And you remember, they talked about the misery index back then and the impact of the economy of these policies.
Senator Barrasso: (06:44)
So Nancy Pelosi has said, basically, there will not be a penny for roads, not a penny for bridges, not a penny for ports, not a penny for airports, unless, and until, the Senate passes increase in taxes and spending on the American people. There is not a single Republican in the House or the Senate who is going to support this tax and spending spree, which is clearly irresponsible.
Senator Blunt: (07:16)
Well, COVID continues to be a problem, obviously. I think the Center for Disease Control is going to make some announcements on that later today. I hope that there’ll be more forthcoming with information than we’ve had up until now during this pandemic. I don’t know of any reason not to share the information that the Center for Disease Control has. For instance, a lot of talk about people who’ve been vaccinated, but then got COVID-19, the Delta variant or some other kind of COVID-19. If you share those facts and figures, right, that shouldn’t be a big shock, because I recall one of the vaccines had an 85 or so percent effectiveness rate. Another one had a 95 effectiveness rate. That would mean somewhere between five and 15 of every hundred people that get the vaccine are going to get COVID. But the good news is the people that got the vaccine that got COVID have a very different circumstance than the people who didn’t get the vaccine and got COVID.
Senator Blunt: (08:25)
I had three stories I thought I’d share with you today. One in Monett Missouri, near my hometown of Springfield. A guy named Cole who was married, 26 year old father of two young children. His symptoms got really bad. He thought his family was losing him. It didn’t work out that way, but here’s what he said. He said, quote, “I just remember sitting in the hospital and just thinking to myself, you could have avoided this. I just don’t want anyone to feel the way that I felt.” That was Cole’s quote.
Senator Blunt: (08:57)
And then I saw in the Columbia, Missouri news report, a person who lost her youngest sister and her brother’s wife to COVID and having other family members battling that illness in the hospital. Marlene asked everyone to get a vaccine. Here’s what Marlene said about her sister. This is her quote. “She didn’t know what the long-term effects of the vaccine would be. Well, COVID 19 was her long-term effect and she’s gone.”
Senator Blunt: (09:30)
Today in a St. Louis report on a national news network, Kimberly Jones in St. Louis talked about her daughter, Erica Thompson, who had died leaving behind a husband and three sons, age eight, 11, and 12. Her mother, Kimberly Jones, speaking for the family said as she prepared for her daughter’s funeral, she hoped others would be convinced that they need to do the right thing for themselves and their family so that other people aren’t preparing for their family’s funeral.
Senator Ernst: (10:09)
President Biden’s political advisor is now very, very concerned about inflation. And the demographic that it’s hitting, the hardest, those that are the most concerned right now, are women. The price of goods and services for nearly everything has gone up because of Bidenomics. And with this $3.5 trillion package, what do we see? We see middle America being hit the hardest with the inclusion of things like the Green New Deal and with new taxes on our farmers and ranchers and small businesses. This has got to stop. Middle Americans are the ones that are paying for Bidenomics. We simply can’t afford three and half trillion dollars and folks, I think that’s a low estimate for what the Democrats want to pass. They need to stop this reckless tax and spending spree. And I do hope that there are some common sense Democrats that will put an end to this.
Senator Scott: (11:28)
I hope everybody’s following what’s going on in Cuba right now. We have a Cuban population which has finally said, “Enough is enough.” They’ve shown up. They’ve gotten on the streets. Unfortunately, the Castro regime is beating peaceful protestors. We have over 500 dissidents. Some of the dissidents I’ve talked to over the years, we don’t know where they are. We do know some of them are being tortured, if not all of them. When you can see the pictures of young boys being taken from their homes, being forced to serve in the military because they can’t get enough people to serve right now. So this is our opportunity. This is our best chance. But Joe Biden’s got to stand up.
Senator Scott: (12:06)
By the way, if you look at Latin America, Cuba is a problem. Cuba defense Maduro in Venezuela. He supports Ortega in Nicaragua. So a lot of the unrest we see in Latin America is caused by the illegitimate Cuban regime. So what is the Biden administration, what should they do? They should shut down the embassy, the Cuban Embassy here in DC. The Cuban government’s an illegitimate government, that’s number one. Number two is you have to use all the resources to make sure whether they do it or the private sector, we get the internet on the island. You can do that. I’ve been talking to technology providers. It is doable.
Senator Scott: (12:40)
On top of that. They ought to show the pictures. Show the videos of what’s happening. Jose Daniel Ferrer’s family is here today. His daughter’s here today. His sister’s here today. His brother was here yesterday. I mean, where is he? Our understanding is he’s being tortured right now, all only because he believes in what we all believe in is freedom. So, Joe, Biden’s got to stand up, start talking about this and talk to world leaders. Where’s Macron, where’s Boris Johnson, where’s Merkel where’s Trudeau. They shouldn’t be supporting an illegitimate government in Cuba.
Speaker 7: (13:11)
Leader McConnell, a recurring message at the hearing today, over on the house side, on the January 6th attacks was the frustration from the officers who were responding with those who were downplaying the significance of the attack on January 6th. As somebody, you were here on that day, what is your message to those who have been downplaying the severity and the significance of the attack on the Capitol on January 6?
Mitch McConnell: (13:34)
I had a good deal to say about that. Not once, but twice on January 6, and again, on February the 13th, I don’t see how I could have expressed myself more forthrightly than I did on that occasion. And I stand by everything I said on January 6th and February 13.
Speaker 7: (13:57)
[crosstalk 00:13:57] Did you watch any of the hearing today?
Mitch McConnell: (13:58)
No, I didn’t.
Speaker 7: (13:59)
Mitch McConnell: (14:00)
I was busy doing work. I served in the Senate. Yeah.
Speaker 8: (14:03)
Leader McConnell, just before you, Democrats were here with masks on. I’m just wondering all of you made the decision not to have them on. You can imagine, it’s almost like the confusion that Americans are experiencing. We don’t know whether to wear them or not if we’re vaccinated. What should be done and also are you, if the CDC says vaccinated, people should wear them, will you put yours back on?
Mitch McConnell: (14:26)
Well, this particular environment here in Capitol Hill is extremely well vaccinated. And we just got the report from CDC and I think we’ll all be thinking about the way forward. But it’s pretty clear that if you were vaccinated, as Senator Blunt pointed out, your chances of having the disease are pretty small and almost everybody in the Capitol complex is vaccinated. So this environment right here is pretty safe, but we’ll have to see what the reaction is to their announcement.