Durbin: Instead of Negotiating Bipartisan COVID-19 Relief Legislation, McConnell Focused on Confirming More Under-Qualified Judges

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today spoke about the importance of helping unemployed and uninsured Americans, hospitals and health clinics, state and local governments, and small businesses as COVID-19 cases spike across Illinois and the country.  Durbin also slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) boycott of negotiations and delay in passing meaningful, bipartisan COVID-19 relief legislation.  Instead of focusing on this public health crisis, Durbin noted that Leader McConnell has scheduled votes on six more lightly-qualified judicial nominees this week. 

“It’s the story of the 116th Congress—the Republican-controlled Senate spends month after month after month after month ignoring the raging pandemic and refusing to even consider House-passed relief legislation…we come here with a new set of nominations each week from the Republican Majority. We don’t have any legislation on the pandemic; we have no legislation on economic recovery; we just have to get these lifetime appointees, some who’ve been found categorically unqualified. That’s what this Senate is all about,”Durbin said. “In the last week before the Thanksgiving recess, is this really all we’re going to do?”

Durbin continued, “Americans need leadership…isn’t there enough talent or will on the floor of this Senate – on the Republican side and Democrat side – to find a way to help Americans who are struggling? To provide unemployment assistance? To provide support to small businesses like restaurants who’re facing closure? To give some money to local units of government, who through no fault of their own have lost revenue do to this COVID-19 crisis? These are not wild ideas. These address the very basics that face families, businesses, and governments across this country.”

During his speech, Durbin also remarked about President Trump’s continued refusal to accept the outcome of the 2020 election, thereby delaying the peaceful transition of power. 

“Never before have we witnessed a losing Presidential candidate refuse -- out of spite and anger -- to follow the law and allow the peaceful and orderly transfer of power to his successor to start,” Durbin said. “It is shocking. It is dangerous. It is shameful. It needs to stop now.” 

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

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

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