Carper on Third Coronavirus Relief Package: “We have a responsibility to get this right”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement expressing his opposition to the third coronavirus relief package in its current form and calling for bipartisan collaboration to pass a bill that helps those Americans most in need.  

“Our country is dealing with an unprecedented challenge as we combat the coronavirus, and I know that many Americans – in Delaware and across the country – are scared and looking to the federal government to deliver results quickly. As elected officials, we have an obligation to act expeditiously, but, when the stakes are this high, we also have a responsibility to get this right. I appreciate the efforts that my colleagues – on both sides of the aisle – have made thus far. Up until last night, I understand that there was a good deal of bipartisan cooperation. I would urge my colleagues to return to working in that spirit because that is the best way to pass meaningful, comprehensive legislation that will actually address the challenges we face. 

“The Senate has already come together to pass two relief packages related to the coronavirus. We were able to do that – and do so in an expeditious manner – because we worked in a bipartisan way and in concert with our nation’s governors. That is what is needed again as we attempt to pass an even larger third package. Let’s be clear: we all want to pass this package quickly and bring much-needed relief to the American people, but we have to get this right. We cannot play politics, and we cannot forget those who need help the most. 

“We have a $1 trillion package before us, the text of which was released just hours ago.  What’s more, this package does not include many of the provisions that governors across the country – both Democrats and Republicans – have said are desperately needed. In its current form, this bill does not ensure money for state and local governments that are already stretched thin. It does not provide adequate support to our Native American communities or to our hospitals and health care workers who continue to provide life-saving care, often at great personal risk to themselves and their families. It does not include additional funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which allows low-income families to put food on their table. This bill does not currently expand emergency leave policies for many hourly workers who may be sick or need to care for a loved one who is sick. This bill also does not include policies to provide much-needed health care coverage at this time for the uninsured. These are just some of the basic provisions that former senior officials in both Democratic and Republican administrations have said are needed right now to provide relief to states and put money in the pockets of people who need it most.

“John F. Kennedy once said, ‘Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer.’ That is especially true today as so many health care professionals, families, workers, small businesses and states face so much uncertainty. We need to act with the urgency that this crisis demands, but we cannot rush through a partisan proposal that does not do enough to help hard-working Americans, particularly those working on the front lines to combat this virus. I stand ready to work with my colleagues around the clock to addresses the problems that still remain so that we can vote quickly on a bill that meets this bipartisan test and provides the relief that is needed to meet this crisis.”