WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) voted against the Republican-authored coronavirus response package. All Senate Democrats opposed the measure. Earlier this afternoon, Senator Coons discussed the legislative package, which is still being negotiated, on MSNBC.
“There are some areas where Republicans and Democrats are working together well and quickly. In particular, new loans to small businesses, both for profit and non-profit. That's something a whole group of us has worked well together on - Senators Rubio and Collins and Cardin and Shaheen and a number of others. I'm excited about what's coming together in that space. At the highest level, virtually all of the Democratic Caucus mid-afternoon had to put the brakes on and say, ‘there's just not enough in this bill to support higher education and student loan relief, to provide for accountability about how some of these massive new pools of hundreds of billions of dollars will be used to support industry,’” said Senator Coons. “There isn't enough in here that would provide for vote by mail to make sure that our elections can go forward this fall securely…I spent ten years in county government. I know that our local governments can get money out on the street fast, but they are also the employers of the front-line public health workers: the medics and ambulance drivers and paramedics and nurses and hospital orderlies and doctors in county hospitals who are doing so much of this work. We have to support them.”
Senator Coons also voiced concern about the lack of accountability for aid going to major companies: “If we're going to put out nearly $2 trillion in assistance, and we've got millions of Americans facing layoffs, I think it is minimally reasonable to say that we expect the companies that will be taking tens of billions of dollars of assistance will sustain their payroll. We're fighting over some small differences in language, but they are big differences in terms of their impact on workers, on unions, on communities and on families. It's important that we recognize and respect the people who are taking the risk and doing the work here. Whether it's the folks cleaning offices and cleaning train cars for Amtrak and for commuter rail or it’s the folks who are serving in and working in and cleaning hospitals and senior centers. Those are exactly the sorts of folks we are standing up and fighting for. We're going to make sure there isn't price gouging on drugs that are funded through this process and we're going to try to ensure to the extent some of our biggest companies get through this and recover that workers will share in that recovery.”
Full audio and video available here.