July 27, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) released the following statement in response to the Senate Majority Leader’s proposal for a new coronavirus relief package:
“On May 15th, the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act to help lay out the next stage of support for the American people during the coronavirus pandemic. This should have been seen as a starting point from which to begin a dialogue – but instead, the proposal languished on the Senate Majority Leader’s desk, because he said publicly he did not feel any ‘urgency’. Clearly, he’s not talking to the same constituents I am, and he damn sure isn’t experiencing the same challenges they are, because talking to Maine people, there’s plenty of urgency.
“State and local leaders are urgently trying to avoid layoffs for vital services; this proposal contains not a penny for our public sector nationwide. Schools are trying to figure out the best way to safely educate students during this pandemic; this proposal seriously underfunds their needs. Families are urgently looking for ways to make their rent or mortgage payment, or access affordable childcare, or get health coverage in order to stay protected during this generational public health threat; this proposal drastically shrinks the assistance they have been relying upon. But don’t worry – despite all these underfunded priorities, the bill’s architects did manage to find nearly $2 billion to build a new FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., no matter that it’s wholly irrelevant to the crisis at hand.
“We need to get something done, to help our people get through this crisis – but after months of ignoring this issue, today the Senate Majority Leader has released a plan that demonstrates his failure to understand the urgency Americans are feeling. This approach won’t work – we need a bipartisan negotiation to produce a bill that will truly address the challenges facing families across our country.”