tv U.S. Senate Sen. Hirono on Covid Relief CSPAN September 13, 2020 3:30am-3:44am EDT
partisanship these days. we cannot do that with regard to this issue. using this new targeted bill as a base, the one that again got a majority of senators in this chamber to vote on today and building on some of the areas of agreement i've outlined today, we need to come up with an appropriate and effective bill that responds to the challenge. i'm going to continue to work with republicans and democrats alike to insist we put the partisanship aside and work on behalf of our constituents to take the necessary steps, to get us through this unprecedented health care crisis, to get us on the other side of the economic crisis. i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work together to do the same. thank you, mr. president. i yield call. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. hirono: mr. president, actions speak louder than words and by their actions, it's clear that the majority leader and senate republicans have not been
serious about passing another covid relief bill that matches the urgency of this moment. first, the majority wanted to take a pause. then he sat on the house-passed heroes act for months. then? july he introduced a series of inadequate piecemeal bills that went absolutely nowhere. and now the majority leader and senate republicans show their priorities yet again by rushing to confirm five more trump judges and offering an anemic, weak covid bill aimed at appeasing the most conservative members of their caucus. and we just voted on that bill. so while senate republicans have been waiting for a good dough on the next covid bill, senate democrats have been listening to our constituents and have a sense of urgency. we've had the sense of urgency for -- well, the four months
that we've been waiting for us to deal with the heroes act. so we've been waiting for over four months, as i mentioned, for the majority leader to stop taking a pause. american workers and families couldn't afford a pause for four months. and they certainly can't afford to take a pause now. in fact, things have gotten worse. while republicans sat on their hands, our country was facing and continues to face a grim realty. in the coming days we're certain to pass the almost unthinkable milestone of 200,000 deaths from covid-19. a march 29 when dr. fauci warned us that america could reach this milestone as an almost worst-case scenario, 2,300 americans had died. and because donald trump has provided no national leadership, that fauci's warning will more
than sadly soon come to pass. over six million americans have contracted coronavirus. tens of millions of americans remain out of work. millions of americans have lost their health care. colleges and universities have started their fall sessions with students back on campus and are experiencing significant outbreaks. millions of parents are facing the agonizing choice of sending their children to schools that aren't safe or dealing with the challenge of distance learning and child care needs. and state after state long abandoned by the trump administration's failure to lead during the pandemic are left on their own to deal with billions in budget deficits as a result of the pandemic and to make difficult decisions about how to confront new outbreaks. in hawaii, new cases have been rising since july.
the severity of our outbreak, particularly on oahu led the mayor of the city and county of honolulu on oahu to issue a two-week stay at home order on august 27. yesterday he extended this order for another two weeks. this order and the outbreak that preceded it offered a grim reminder that constant vigilance is necessary in the fight against covid-19. and it's a reminder that even states like hawaii which for months was lauded as a coronavirus success story can become home to one of the fastest growing outbreaks in the country. at the end of july hawaii had barely over 2,000 cases of covid-19. yesterday hawaii crossed the grim milestone of 10,000 cases. like in many other states our outbreak has hit certain communities and populations the
hardest. our thriving, dynamic, and vital pacific islander community represents a mere 4% of our population but nearly one-third of our total cases. more than a dozen long-term care homes across our state are experiencing significant outbreaks that put our kupuna, our seniors, at heightened risk. the oahu community correctional center has seen 299 inmates and 76 staff members infected with covid-19. the rise in caseload on oahu is putting pressure on hawaii's already understaffed medical system where existing providers shortages are straining the capacity of our hospitals. although hawaii's outbreak is centered on oahu, we are seeing troubling signs on the neighbor islands as well with serious outbreaks at the state veterans home in hilo and maui memorial medical center in came hugh
would -- in kawala. the most important thing our state can do is learn from our experience and not to repeat the same mistakes. we have to explain things clearly and plainly, and we have to be accountable and transparent in our decision making. our states certainly should have done a better job conducting outreach to at-risk communities, expanding our testing capacity, developing an effective contact tracing system, and establishing a clearer chain of command. but we don't have the luxury of simply pointing fingers, assigning blame, and moving on. in other words, we cannot be like the president. instead we need to work together to get our outbreak under control and support the hundreds of thousands of hawaii residents who have suffered from this unprecedented public health and economic crisis. the senate must do its part by passing a real comprehensive
covid relief bill that would help states like hawaii confront their outbreaks and help the millions of americans who are suffering right now. while the majority leader struggles -- struggles to unite his caucus even around an emaciated weak bill like the one we voted on today, democrats are united around passing the heroes act because that bill's scope marches the urgency and -- matches the urgency and severity of this moment. i certainly understand and appreciate the need to negotiate and compromise to get something done, but we cannot lose sight of who we are fighting for. unlike the majority leader and senate republicans who are fighting tooth and nail for corporate interests in the next covid bill, i'm fighting for the workers, families, and small businesses who are getting screwed. i'm fighting for high's spall business -- hawaii's small business owners like laura. she is one of the favorites at hawaii on the hill where many of
my colleagues, including those on the other side of the aisle lined up to sample salty hawaiian salts. laura's products are incredible and her success over the years reflects the hard work she's put into building and growing her business. but laura has been devastated by the pandemic. although she was able to take advantage of pass relief -- past relief programs that we passed, laura is struggling. she needs more help right now to pay the rent and rehire their employees. alongside congressional delegate -- democrats, i'm fighting for hundreds of billions in new assistance for small businesses like laura's. i'm fighting for the homeowners and renters who have lost their jobs and are terrified to think of what might happen to them if the federal protections that have prevented their foreclosures or evibses expire -- evictions expire. i'm grateful that organizations like the legal aid society of
hawaii are stepping in to help people who worry that they will lose their homes. the executive director told me that doing this kind of work during a pandemic is like playing 3-d chess on a tilt a whirl. in other words, it's mighty hard. the senate needs to step up and provide the 100 billion plus in housing and rental assistance needed to make a dent in this crisis. i'm fighting for parents, teachers, and students who are struggling to adapt to the new normal of hybrid and distance learning. grandmother's like a retired educator i spoke with last week, she's concerned about learning loss and her 5-year-old grandson struggling to sit and learn sitting behind a computer screen for hours a day. women like the restaurant owner in cu kauai i spoke with is rung
how to run her business while tiewt oorg her high school age children. many i've spoken with over the past few months, the students are struggling with learning loss, finding a quiet place to study from home, hunting down reliable internet at starbucks or having trouble concentrating all because republican senators can't get their acts together. we need to increase our support for public schools so they can create safer environments for students once they are back in school. and we can do this by investing billions of dollars to help states get their outbreaks under control through testing and contact tracing so we can get our kids back to school safely. that's the operative word, safely. we all want our kids to go back to school. they need to go back in a safe environment. so, mr. president, the bill our
republican colleagues offered today was anemic and weak at best. it does more to help their corporate benefactors than to address the pain so many americans are feeling right now. and after today's vote, i'm left wondering how much more pain do the american people have to endure before senate republicans get serious and act? how many more americans have to die? how many more americans have to lose their jobs? how many more businesses have to close? how many more children have to go hungry during this pandemic? how many more people have to lose their health insurance? the list goes on. i say to the majority leader, what is it going to take for you to finally do your job? mr. president, i yield the fl >> the senate failed to advance
a coronavirus relief bill. short of the 60 votes needed. all democrats opposed the bill and republicans voted in favor except for senator rand paul. there is no plan for another relief bill. over the next three weeks, senators will have to work on federal spending. both chambers of commerce -- congress returned to session next week. the house will vote on several bills. agenda, a resolution condemning anti-asian bias. later this month, measures that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. and reauthorized federal intelligence agencies. monday andreturns plans to spend its week voting
on judicial nominations mostly for courts in california and illinois. before the end of the month, senators will have to negotiate with the house and president trump on 2021 federal spending. >> the white house did not release a weekly address this weekend. new york senator kirsten gillibrand gave the weekly democratic address, where she commemorates the 19th and talksy of 9/11 about the coronavirus response.