Durbin Asks For Unanimous Consent To Consider Resolution To Reaffirm U.S. Commitment To Global Effort To Find COVID-19 Vaccine

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today, during a speech on the Senate floor, asked for unanimous consent to have the Senate consider a resolution that encourages U.S. engagement with the international community on the COVID-19 response given the Trump Administration’s failure to participate in global summits on vaccines and therapeutics.  The resolution, led by Durbin and supported by 39 of his Senate colleagues, noted the historic international effort to eradicate smallpox as an example of why concerted global collaboration and coordination is needed for the COVID-19 pandemic — and yet the U.S. has failed so far to participate in a number of key global collaborative efforts on this issue.  Senators Jim Risch (R-ID) and Mike Braun (R-IN) objected to the unanimous consent request.

“You see, joining forces with other countries would help speed the development and eventual distribution of a coronavirus vaccine that we all desperately seek. It would save lives in America but it would also save lives around the world. No one knows, no one knows, where the vaccine will eventually be perfected or produced, so we should be in on this. The United States should be at the table. We should be part of the collective global effort to find this vaccine,” Durbin said.

“As I said from the beginning, it will be a great source of pride if it's found here, but if it isn't, if there's a safer, more effective vaccine that is available and it's discovered in another country, what difference does it make if it saves lives in America and around the world?  Let's be part of this effort.  Let's set our pride aside and instead talk about the impact it would have on this globe and on the people today who are in fear, suffering and sadly dying as a result of this global virus,” Durbin concluded.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

The following Senators joined Durbin in introducing the resolution last week: U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tom Udall (D-NM), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Casey (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-NJ), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Angus King (I-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Tom Carper (D-DE).

A copy of the Senate resolution is available here.