Murkowski Speaks On COVID-19 Pandemic
‘Americans need to have that confidence that we get the urgency…that we hear their cries’
As the U.S. Senate works to come to an agreement on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) spoke on the Senate floor about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the concerns of Alaskans across the state. Senator Murkowski stressed the urgency for Congress to put politics aside and deliver relief the American people need and deserve.
“Failure is not an option. This is not a time for the bumps to derail us. This is not a time that we have that is unlimited to extended debate, to extend a process when we have folks back home that we answer to that are angry, frustrated, and anxious,” said Senator Murkowski. “At the end of the failed vote today you heard anger from colleagues saying this type of political games or brinksmanship is not what the American people deserve and this is not what we should be doing as a United States Senate. Right now we don’t need the words that just further separate us as Americans.”
- “We’ve got about 19 Alaskans that are stuck in Peru, trying to get out of a country that has literally gone on lockdown. We were in long conversation yesterday with the folks at the State Department trying to figure out how to help them, how to help their families back home in Alaska who are calling my office every day, sometimes multiple times a day saying ‘What are you doing to help? What are you doing to help?’ Not only those 19 Alaskans getting out of a place like Peru, the pregnant woman with several children, the minor exchange student, the families that are over there. They are looking to us to help them.”
- “We went from a situation on Monday of last week where it was just one municipality ordered the closure of restaurants and bars to the following—the entire state has a full on closure.”
- “We’re a state that is isolated from everybody else from the continental United States. We fly to get home. It is a fact of our life. We had a letter signed by multiple emergency room doctors last week urging the Governor to ban non-essential air travel. Think about what that means? Pretty debilitating for a state like mine.”
- “I’m so discouraged as I listen to the nature of the partisan words that are on this floor today. Because that is the last thing this body needs. That is the last thing this country needs. They need assurance from us. They need to have that confidence that we get the urgency and that we hear their cries.”
- “When we are reminded that so much good can come together if we just lay down our partisan arms and say, ‘What do we need to do for this country? What do you want for Arkansas? What do we need for Alaska? What do we need for one-another?’
- On March 5, Senator Murkowski voted in favor of an emergency supplemental funding package, the Coronavirus Preparedness & Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which includes a total of $8.3 billion to help better prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. The bill aims to strengthen the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak and allow for necessary precautions, prevention, and treatment at the local, state, national, and international levels.
- On March 18, Senator Murkowski voted in favor of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a bill aimed at bolstering the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help mitigate the health and economic impacts of the outbreak by ensuring testing is free for Americans, securing paid sick leave as well as family and medical leave, enhancing unemployment insurance to help workers, and ensuring that students, seniors, and low-income households can continue to access nutrition assistance.
- On March 20, Senator Murkowski and Senate colleagues sent a letter to the President regarding concerns over the US-Canada border closure.
- On March 21, the Alaska Congressional Delegation announced Small Business Administration economic injury disaster loans are now available for Alaska small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.