WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) expressed his disappointment last night on the Senate floor following the Senate Democrat’s decision to block progress on Phase Three of the congressional response to COVID-19.
“I am absolutely shocked at what happened on this floor a little while ago. And I am going to try to convey to my colleagues a sense of the urgency that I think this moment demands and they apparently don’t understand, because our Democratic colleagues all voted to prevent us from considering this legislation.
“So let me start with the context that we’re operating in because it’s unbelievable. I wouldn’t think I would need to go through this, but just be clear, we’ve been invaded by a potentially lethal species.
“A virus that is infecting Americans now by the tens of thousands, growing numbers every day. It’s killing Americans, including in my state. We have infected people in every single one of our states and the numbers are growing rapidly.
“In response to this threat, we’ve been taking progressively more serious measures because of the degree of the danger. The disaster, the illness, the death, that we fear if we don’t try to stop this virus.
“So we have gone to an extreme that I will just candidly acknowledge, I never could have imagined. What I’m talking about is, among other things, the fact that my state of Pennsylvania and many other states across America, they’re closed.
“I could never imagine that I could even put that sentence together. My state is closed. What does that even mean? I’ll tell you what it means.
“It means it’s not legal to operate a business in Pennsylvania. It’s not legal to go to work in the morning. Tomorrow morning at eight o’clock, there’s only a very small percentage of Pennsylvanians who are even allowed to go to work.
“We have shut down the state. I’m not talking about restaurants, and bars, and night clubs. I’m talking about all businesses, except those deemed essential and a very small handful of others. I’m talking about factories, distribution centers, warehouses, all kinds of producers, manufacturers, services. Across the board – it’s closed.
“So what does that mean? Well it means an awful lot of things. But the most important thing that it means is that, the guy who wakes up tomorrow morning and can’t go to work. What’s he supposed to do? How’s he going to support his family?
“Because he can’t get a paycheck. It’s not that he doesn’t want to get a paycheck. It’s not that he doesn’t want to go to work. He’s not allowed, he’s not allowed. So he’s going to have no income pretty soon, because guess what?
“The company that he works for is not allowed to have any sales. They’re closed. By order of the government. And it’s not just Pennsylvania. This is, I think, more than half of all our states at this point. More than half of the country and the number is growing every day.
“So this guy, like almost everybody across my state. Men and women are beside themselves. They’re terrified because they know they still have to put food on the table. They still have to pay the rent or a mortgage. They still have to clothe their kids.
“They still have all the ordinary expenses of living and they’re not allowed to earn a living. Because of the extreme measures we’re taking to try to avoid an absolute catastrophe with this disease.
“So, that’s why so many of us in this body have worked so hard for several weeks now, but very intensively in these last few days to try and deal with fact that we have a potentially lethal threat and an economy that is disappearing. I mean, literally, the bottom has fallen out. It is going away and that is enormously devastating to the people we represent.”
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