U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed the ongoing congressional response to the coronavirus outbreak, which will help support American families, workers, small businesses, and health care professionals.
Click here to watch Thune’s speech.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, before I begin, we’ve just learned that our colleague, Senator Rand Paul, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with him for a speedy recovery.
“We’ll consult with the attending physician here at the Capitol about appropriate measures for those of us who have been in contact with the senator.
“This is the kind of situation that Americans across the country are dealing with right now, and it underscores the importance of acting immediately to deliver more relief for the American people
“Mr. President, the Senate has been working around the clock over the past few days to put together a third round of coronavirus legislation.
“And we’re very close to moving forward with a major bill that will deliver much-needed relief to American families, workers, and businesses and put more resources into the hands of medical professionals.
“Mr. President, this is a big bill.
“But this situation requires a big and bold response.
“Across our country, American workers and American businesses are struggling.
“Families are scared.
“Businesses have been forced to drastically curtail or close their operations as social distancing has become a public health priority.
“Workers are wondering how long they will be getting a paycheck.
“Small businesses are worrying about whether they’ll be able to reopen their doors when all of this is over.
“Key industries have taken a massive economic hit.
“A major response is required.
“The package we’ve put together addresses a number of priorities:
“Putting emergency cash into the hands of American families and American workers quickly, in a way that ensures that those most in need get the maximum level of support.
“Delivering relief to small businesses to help them keep their workers employed.
“Injecting stability into the economy to help bridge this crisis and limit layoffs.
“Providing new resources for state unemployment programs to help workers displaced by this emergency.
“And most importantly, continuing to deliver resources to the health care workers fighting to stop this pandemic.
“This package is the product of bipartisan input, and I hope it will receive overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate.
“Republicans and Democrats have already come together to deliver two coronavirus relief bills.
“It’s time for us to come together again to deliver this legislation.
“As the leader said yesterday, the American people need help, and they need it now.
“This bill will provide them with relief.
“Mr. President, these are challenging days.
“There is a lot of stress and uncertainty, and Americans are understandably worried.
“But we are going to get through this.
“There may be difficult days ahead, but we are going to come out the other side.
“All around this country, Americans are standing up to meet this challenge.
“We have our heroic health care workers, who are putting their lives on the line to care for the seriously ill.
“Our first responders, who got their name because they are always the first on the scene in any crisis.
“And new heroes – grocery store employees, truck drivers, delivery people, pharmacy employees – people we may have taken for granted before but won’t again.
“Everywhere I look in my state, I see South Dakotans helping other South Dakotans.
“And it’s the same all across this country.
“People looking out for their neighbors, providing meals for those in need, offering childcare help to those who can’t telework, running errands for the elderly or those with compromised immune systems who can’t leave their house.
“I was touched to read a story from the Rapid City Journal yesterday about a group of young people from Eagle Butte, South Dakota, who showed up outside the Medicine Wheel Village nursing home to hold up signs to encourage the residents, who can’t receive visitors right now because of the risk of virus transmission.
“We are going to get through this together.“And I and my colleagues here in the Senate are going to keep working to deliver the resources Americans need to confront and defeat this disease.”