Lankford Urges Senate to Pass Negotiated COVID-19 Aid Bill
Lankford: “We want to do everything we can to protect the workers.”
CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) took to the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to pass the negotiated Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide relief to Oklahoma families, workers, and businesses. Lankford highlighted specific areas where the bill will help Oklahoma healthcare facilities, workers, families, and individuals.
We're in the process of passing a very large economic package to help stabilize our economy through the middle of all that’s happening with COVID-19 globally and in the United States. The heart of the package we're passing today is almost identical to what we brought actually Sunday night, which was a bipartisan proposal which ranking members and chairmen of all the major committees had worked together to be able to get this done.
The key elements of it are still there, it's unemployment insurance for Americans including a six hundred dollar plus up to be able to go through the process. There is a support for small businesses that will actually pay the payroll. We don't want individuals to end up on unemployment insurance.
It's better if they stay connected to their same company. So it has a unique new proposal that's built in to be able to say a small business can go to any bank rapidly to be able to get a loan there, which will convert into a grant if they maintain their current employee numbers. That keeps people connected to their business and keeps people assured of a job at the end of all this when it all finishes out.
It is a loan program for larger business that’s designed to say if you’re a very large company you're not going to get a grant, you’re going to get loan at this process. And at that moment, you get a loan when you don't have capital and you don't have access to it right now because of all that's going on, you could get that. This is also has a feature built in where individuals will receive just a check for twelve hundred dollars.
Every adult does. That is built in to be able to give immediate economic supports all those folks across the country, know all those features were already in the bill already through Sunday night. Now there have been some tweaks. Some folks have brought up that some our Democratic colleagues really wanted to be able to engage in.
Many of those changes have been heard and been added in some way have said absolutely not. It's not connected to COVID-19 at all, but there's some things that some our Democratic colleagues really want to make sure they got in and through all the negotiations. Some of these things were changed.
For instance, they really want to make sure that energy companies couldn't get any support. So they fought hard to be able to make sure there is no additional money for the President buying additional oil to put in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve at this lowest price now. So it will actually cost us more money in the future, but it was their intention to say we don't want oil companies to get any kind of support in this downturn.
They also want to make sure that there was great transparency because they didn't trust the Trump administration. So they built in an inspector general and a whole bunch of additional people to be able to watch the Treasury through the process. And they put in a neat little feature that they demanded and that was that no son or daughter or family member or any individual that works with the presidency, vice presidency and the Congress could get any of not the grant programs, the loan programs.
In fact, it was interesting the language they demanded, no son in law could get that. I wonder who that could be targeted towards? A particular son in law that might be there. Literally a lot of this fight that we've had over the last three days because they were demanding that there was no way that the President or any of his family could get any kind of loan or benefit from this program at all.
So we spent three days, three days of delay because they had some additional demands for some things they wanted to do significantly targeted a lot of the President and his family. I understand they don't like the President, I get that. We want to do everything we can to protect the workers.
That's why we had all these programs in place already and why we'd done a lot of bipartisan work to be able to get it done. It's done now, let's get it going and our encouragement is to be able to have the House, be able to finish this up as quickly as possible and to be able to get the support to the American people. What has been interesting though isn't the speeches that I've heard on the floor today from my colleagues and from many individuals and releases that I've seen.
His folks have mentioned their prayer. They've mentioned with God's help we're going get through this. They've mentioned the struggle that we're going through as a nation and how we’re praying for each other. It keeps reminding me of something, it’s a very old Psalm of ascent, Psalm 121. When the Jews would come into Jerusalem for the different feast they would sing these Psalms of ascent as they came off the eastern hills and would start rising towards Jerusalem. In the song they would sing I think is pertinent for our time right now. Psalm 121 reads I lift up my eyes to the mountains. Where does my help come from?
Now remember the mountains here is the capital city Jerusalem, it's the seat of government for them in the center of worship, but it's the seat of government for them. And they would sing, I lift up my eyes the mountains where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip, He who watches over, you will not slumber. Indeed He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep the Lord watches over you. The Lord is your shade at your right hand, the sun will not harm you by day nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from harm. He will watch over you. The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
It's interesting to me that the people would come in marching in to Jerusalem, the seat of government singing the song. I lifted my eyes to the mountain, but where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord. And of all the things that are going on in Washington D.C. right now you'll hear people here repeating over and over again.
“Our hope is not in government. Our hope is not in how much money we can spend.” We understand full well when we lift up our eyes to the mountain to this hill, we understand full well where our help comes from.
And it's not from all the folks in this room, our help comes from the Lord and we're grateful that he neither slumbers nor sleeps.
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