Durbin: With COVID-19 Cases Spiking in Illinois and Across the Country, The Senate Must Act

Durbin also calls out GSA for refusing to affirm the presidential election results, withholding federal funding from President-elect Biden’s transition team & threatening peaceful transfer of power

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today thanked the people of Illinois for electing him to another term in the United States Senate and 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.  On Saturday, the U.S. hit the highest daily total of new cases—126,000 new cases in one day.  Illinois is approaching 500,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and the state has tragically suffered more than 10,000 COVID-19 deaths.

“I want to take a moment on the floor of the Senate to formally and officially thank the people of Illinois for electing me to another term in the United States Senate,” Durbin said.  “I’m eager to continue my work to help the families, small businesses, schools, hospitals, and constituents in my state and help all of us in this country endure this pandemic together.”  

Durbin also slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s boycott of negotiations and delay in passing meaningful, bipartisan COVID-19 relief legislation and urged Leader McConnell to start negotiating in good faith –  as the Senate did in March when it passed the CARES Act – with Congressional Democrats on a bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill that provides meaningful assistance to Americans in need. 

“I continue to hear from hospitals on the brink, workers who have lost their jobs, small business owners desperately trying to keep their heads above water about their struggles.  Unfortunately, the Senate continues to waste time on proposals that place the needs of big businesses ahead of the needs of American families,” Durbin said.  “History will judge this body on how we respond or how we failed to respond to the worst pandemic in a century and the deepest recession in 75 years.  The American people are looking for leadership.  We cannot let them down.”

During his speech, Durbin also called on the General Services Administration (GSA) Administrator to sign a letter affirming the election results in order for President-elect Joe Biden’s transition to receive the legally mandated millions of dollars in federal funding that helps to ensure the peaceful transfer of power. 

“For the past 60 years since Congress passed the Presidential Transition Act to ensure a smooth, orderly transfer of power, the GSA Administrator has said the winner within 24 hours... once GSA makes this ascertainment, the Executive Branch can provide crucial services to the transition team to make sure there is a smooth transfer [of power],” Durbin said.  “It’s time for the Administrator of the GSA to do her job and announce the ascertainment and move forward in an orderly, productive, and smooth transition.” 

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.