FOLLOWING HIS DIRECT ADVOCACY, SCHUMER DELIVERS $7.5 MILLION TO EXPAND ROCHESTER’S STRONG MUSEUM, CREATE OVER 120 NEW JOBS, & ATTRACT TOURISM TO DOWNTOWN ROCHESTER TO ACCELERATE THE RECOVERY OF THE FINGER LAKES’ ECONOMY

Source: United States Senator for New York Charles E Schumer

05.17.22

Schumer Personally Called Commerce Secretary Raimondo To Advocate For The Award To Strengthen Rochester’s Tourism Economy & Boost Their Economic Recovery

Schumer Created EDA Tourism Grant In American Rescue Plan With Projects Like The Strong’s in Mind; New Funding Builds On The $16.5M The Senator Secured In 2013 To Fill Rochester Inner Loop East, Allowing For The Strong Museum’s Massive Expansion

Schumer: EDA Investment In Rochester’s Strong Museum Is A Win-Win-Win, Generating Millions In New Tourism Revenue, Creating Jobs, & Strengthening Local Economy

Following his direct advocacy for Rochester, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced that Rochester’s Strong National Museum of Play has been awarded a $7.5 million grant through the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) American Rescue Plan (ARP) Competitive Tourism program. Schumer said that this grant is the final piece of the puzzle in a massive expansion to create the Neighborhood of Play, a new home for the World Video Game Hall of Fame, a Digital Gaming Hub, and much more. In March, Schumer personally called Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to advocate for Strong’s grant application and said that this new federal funding will now create over 120 new jobs, nearly double attendance at the museum, and is expected to generate over $160 million in annual tourism revenue for the Finger Lakes region.  

“Rochester’s downtown economic revitalization just got a lot stronger thanks to this major boost from the federal government. The Strong National Museum of Play is an economic anchor, and this $7.5 million investment is the final piece of the puzzle to complete its expansion creating hundreds of new good paying jobs, producing over $160 million annually in new tourism revenue, and attracting visitors from across the globe to our downtown shops and businesses,” said Senator Schumer.  “When I included this tourism grant program in the American Rescue Plan, I had in mind innovative projects like Rochester’s Strong Museum, which is why I called Secretary Raimondo personally to secure this funding for a new vibrant community space for all to enjoy. This project is truly transformational, and the future of Rochester’s downtown never looked stronger.” 

“The Strong’s expansion and Neighborhood of Play project will nearly double the museum’s attendance to roughly one million, bringing hundreds of thousands of additional guests from outside the Finger Lakes Region each year. We are proud that despite enduring a global pandemic, we are going to be able to accomplish the project as originally envisioned with the Inner Loop Redevelopment in 2015,” said Steve Dubnik, President & CEO of The Strong National Museum of Play. “Senator Schumer’s successful advocacy with the Economic Development Administration and the Department of Commerce means that we will bring this essential project for Downtown Rochester to fruition. We thank the Senator for his continued push for Rochester and for The Strong National Museum of Play and for securing these essential American Rescue Plan funds for this transformative project.”

Schumer said this $7.5 million EDA grant will unlock the true economic development potential in Rochester’s downtown neighborhoods and provide the critical funding needed for the construction of the Final Phase of the museum’s expansion. Specifically, the EDA grant will help fund Phase 2 of the museum’s expansion, which includes construction of the Digital Worlds Exhibit, Outdoor Plaza & Commons, and Outdoor Play Exhibit.  With this expansion, The Strong’s attendance is expected to nearly double from 600,000 to close to 1,000,000, making it one of the most highly attended museums in the country and attracting visitors to downtown Rochester from all over the world. The grant is necessary for critical components of the project that will serve as conduits between the Museum and the surrounding Rochester neighborhood. The EDA investment would serve as a vital infusion of funds to finish this project and bring people and economic activity back to downtown Rochester, quickly reigniting the city’s downtown and the local economy as we emerge from the pandemic. The Strong’s expansion is the catalyst behind the creation of the new larger Neighborhood of Play, a transformational, urban development that is reinvigorating downtown Rochester while driving broader economic development.

Schumer explained that the tourism grant program Strong has received funding through is part of a $750 million set-aside to support the travel, tourism, and the outdoor recreation economy that he secured as part of the American Rescue Plan’s $3 billion for the Economic Development Administration (EDA). This funding also builds on the tremendous pandemic relief Senator Schumer has delivered for live music, museums and culture venues across New York, including over $28 million in the Finger Lakes. The Strong Museum also received over $2.2 million in 2021 from the Small Business Administration’s Shuttered Venues Operator Grant (SVOG), a program that Schumer led the creation of in order to provide critical federal relief to cultural institutions like Strong to help them survive and recover from the pandemic.

The Strong’s expansion is made possible because of Schumer’s long-standing efforts to deliver federal funding to fill in Rochester’s Inner Loop. In 2013, after in-person appeals to both Secretaries of Transportation LaHood and Foxx, Schumer successfully secured a $16.5M TIGER grant to fill in the Inner Loop. Filling in the Inner Loop removed a huge barrier that had stunted investment for decades, and has now allowed the Strong Museum to pursue its current $70 million expansion in downtown Rochester.

A copy of Schumer’s original letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo appears below:

Dear Secretary Raimondo:

I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by The Strong National Museum of Play to the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) American Rescue Plan grant program.

With funding, the Strong National Museum of Play will complete the final phase of a 90,000-SF expansion, the anchor and catalyst of a transformational urban development and tourism destination, the Neighborhood of Play (NoP)—specifically, the investment will fund a suite of dynamic new exhibits and an expansive plaza and commons area. Together, these components will attract and welcome hundreds of thousands of new tourists each year from across the nation and around the globe.

Prior to the expansion, The Strong’s marketing and advertising was limited to the NY Finger Lakes region. Despite that limited radius, the museum attracted 30% of its annual attendance (nearly 600,000 in 2019) from outside the region. Extensive market research conducted in 2015 and reconfirmed in 2021 showed that by expanding marketing efforts to metropolitan areas within a four-hour drive time (such as Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Toronto) The Strong’s expansion will draw an additional 400,000 people from outside the region to Rochester, bringing annual attendance close to one million within three years—driving major, sustainable economic development.

I applaud The Strong National Museum of Play for their foresight and sincerely hope the application meets with your approval.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

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Transcript: Rubio Stumps Fauci On COVID Testing Travel Requirements, Illegal Immigration

Source: United States Senator for Florida Marco Rubio

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) questioned Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, during a Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing on Labor, Health and Human Services. Fauci could not articulate any public health rationale for requiring a negative COVID test for American citizens and law-abiding visitors entering the U.S. while illegal immigrants can enter the country without any proof of testing, telling Rubio, “I don’t have the answer to that.” 

A video of Rubio’s questioning can be found here and a transcript of the exchange is below.
 
RUBIO: Dr. Fauci, I’m running into something that’s pretty interesting. I believe the United States is the only major Western country that now requires its citizens to test negative for COVID before they can get on an airplane and reenter the country. I believe that’s accurate. On the other hand, we’re hearing now that…Title 42, which is a COVID-era policy, should be lifted, because we’ve reached a point now where COVID is manageable or [is] at a level [where] we no longer need Title 42. 
 
We obviously know we have a problem on our southern border, where every day people are entering the country illegally. Many are not even being tested for COVID, and even if they are, they’re being allowed to stay…. How do we tell American citizens: “If you test positive, even if it’s a dead virus that’s been in your system for ten days — you can test positive days after you’re no longer infectious — you can’t enter your own country. But if you arrive illegally, whether you test positive or not, if you say the magic words for asylum, you get to stay in the country.” 
 
This is a real-life scenario. I know people that are abroad, they test positive [but] they’re not sick. Maybe they were sick a week ago. They can’t afford to continue to pay for hotel rooms and staying overseas until they can finally score a negative test. 
 
Has the time come for us to lift this, in your view? Having been so integral in our COVID response, are we at a point now where American citizens should be allowed to return to their country without testing negative?
 
FAUCI: Thank you for the question. It’s an important question. I don’t have the answer to that. I mean, we work with our CDC colleagues to continue to examine the feasibility of that and the desirability of that. I think the idea of having an immigration issue mixed with a public health issue for the general population — I think those probably should be separated.
 
RUBIO: Except they’re interrelated because they both involve groups of people entering the United States. One group is citizens of the country entering legally. The other group, frankly, are people that are not entering legally. The group that’s not entering legally, even if they test positive, if they’re even tested, get to stay. The American citizen can’t re-enter their own country until they produce a negative test. 
 
My point is, if we’ve reached a point in COVID where we no longer need Title 42 as a COVID restriction for illegal entry, why do we still need travel restrictions for American citizens for legal entry into their own country? That’s the genesis of the question. That’s where I think the link is. This sort of seems to be at odds with it.

Transcript: Rubio Forces NIH to Admit There Is No Conclusive Safety Data on the Impact of Puberty Blockers on Youth

Source: United States Senator for Florida Marco Rubio

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) questioned Dr. Lawrence Tabak, Acting Director of the National Institutes of Health, during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services hearing. Tabak acknowledged there are no long-term studies on the risks associated with the off-label use of puberty blockers by minors. 

A video of Rubio’s questioning can be found here and a transcript of the exchange is below.
 
RUBIO: Dr. Tabak, let me start with this question. We’ve recently seen…that the Biden Administration and others in the policy realm have been actively promoting and supporting the use of things like puberty blockers and hormone therapy for young boys and girls. 
 
I want to limit my question to minors for what they have termed “gender transforming care.” That’s not an FDA-approved use for puberty blockers and hormone therapy, I don’t believe, in any people, but especially in minors. So, as the NIH is America’s medical research agency, what work have we done at NIH… to determine if this non FDA-approved use of these medicines, this off-label use of these medicines, is appropriate for minors seeking gender transforming care?
 
TABAK: So, NIH funds a small number of observational studies to gather the data on the effects of treatments that transgender youth and their parents have chosen. And there are also a small number of studies that describe the health issues and risks, including HIV, that are unique to to these transgender youth. But all of the research in this space is observational. We do no interventional work.
 
RUBIO: I guess my question is…[it’s] one thing i[f] a decision [is] made by an adult, right? And, especially given the irreversible nature of some of these treatments, isn’t there some wisdom in the notion that, before policymakers are out there promoting the off-label use of medications that lead to permanent changes, that there be some more research done on [the] impact [it will have] five, ten, 15, 20 years from now?
 
TABAK: So, as you know, transgender youth are more vulnerable to depression, anxiety, [engagement] in self-harm. And so it is important that we examine and evaluate the potential effects of these treatments. Researchers are observing longer-term psychological impact of these protocols. And so by by looking at individuals, transgender youth with and without histories of puberty suppression, we will be able to better answer the types of questions that you’re posing.
 
RUBIO: Yeah, I guess that’s my point. My point is, we don’t know what its long term implications are when we weigh the cost and the benefits. The FDA hasn’t approved this and yet we have policymakers promoting it, and I think that’s an important point. 
 
We clearly don’t want anybody harming themselves…but…these policy decisions are being made on the basis of observational guidance and, by your own admission, without any sort of long term trajectory on its holistic impact.

Gillibrand Statement On House Intelligence Committee Hearing On Unidentified Aerial Phenomena

Source: United States Senator for New York Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand issued the following statement on today’s House Intelligence Committee hearing on unidentified aerial phenomena:

“We are grateful to the House Intelligence Committee, especially subcommittee Chairman Carson and Ranking Member Crawford, for hosting today’s hearing on unidentified aerial phenomena. Public congressional interest in this issue will contribute toward countering the stigma faced by service members and others in reporting their own encounters with UAP, thereby improving our own data collection to help resolve this national security issue.

The language we secured in the National Defense Authorization Act made it clear that the Department of Defense and other agencies must urgently approach this issue in a broad manner and consider all origins of UAP, known or unknown. The level of bipartisan interest from the national security committees in Congress — as well as from the American people — make it clear that the Department cannot delay in staffing the NDAA-established office, developing a science plan, and integrating already existing data to properly investigate these phenomena. Our national security demands that the Department move on this issue with haste and maintain transparency with Congress.”

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Cortez Masto Joins Colleagues in Urging WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal to Stop Spread of Spanish-Language Mis/Disinformation on Their Group Messaging Apps

Source: United States Senator for Nevada Cortez Masto

May 17, 2022

A study found that 66% of respondents whose primary language is Spanish received mis/disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine through messaging apps like Signal, Telegram, and WhatsApp.

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), and 20 other colleagues in sending bicameral letters to the heads of WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal to express serious concerns about the rise of Spanish-language mis/disinformation targeted at Latino communities on these group messaging applications. In their letter, the lawmakers urge these companies to outline what steps, if any, they are taking to prevent or address the spread of Spanish-language mis/disinformation.

“The spread of Spanish language disinformation is a threat to our communities, and tech companies must do more to combat it without compromising our privacy,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “I’ll continue working to hold tech companies accountable and ensure that we are protecting the Latino community against misinformation and working to strengthen trust in public health and our democratic institutions.”

The lawmakers made clear that group messaging applications like WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal can address the spread of Spanish-language mis/disinformation without compromising user privacy or the integrity of private encrypted communication “by increasing access to reliable fact-checking across languages, hiring and adequately investing in staff who have the necessary cultural context, and implementing other tools to slow the spread of viral mis/disinformation.” They also emphasized that “the spread of content that promotes mis/disinformation, undermines public health efforts, and instills distrust in our democratic institutions must become a top priority…”

Mis/disinformation disproportionately targets Spanish-speaking communities in the United States, including campaigns during the 2020 presidential election and the COVID-19 vaccination effort.

The lawmakers expressed concerns about how group messaging platforms like Telegram are attractive for bad actors seeking to rapidly spread mis/disinformation to mass audiences because they allow as many as 200,000 individuals in a group with limited oversight. They also pointed out how it is estimated that by 2023, almost 71 percent of the U.S. Latino population will be WhatsApp users and how young Latinos, in particular, are twice as likely to use platforms like WhatsApp compared to the general population. This leaves young Latinos exposed to an even higher rate of mis/disinformation compared to the general population.  

The first and only Latina in the U.S. Senate, Senator Cortez Masto is committed to combating misinformation. Last year, she pushed tech CEOs to act on the rampant spread of Spanish and other non-English language disinformation across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Nextdoor. She also urged the Biden Administration to combat health disinformation and ensure that accurate vaccine information reaches Latino communities nationwide. In addition, the senator called on online platforms like Facebook and Twitter to take further measures to stop the spread of voter-related disinformation and led bipartisan legislation to fund research in detecting “deepfakes,” online videos that realistically mimic a person’s identity.

Full text of the letters can be found as follows: (WhatsApp| Telegram | Signal)

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Merkley, Wyden Announce Federal Investment of over $8 Million to Fuel Economic Revitalization of Oregon Communities

Source: United States Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore)

May 17, 2022

Federal funding part of $254 million nationwide effort to restore polluted brownfield sites

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced that a total of $8.3 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds are headed to eight regions of Oregon to revitalize communities and tackle polluted brownfield sites.  

“Regardless of zip code or income, Oregonians in every corner of the state deserve for their communities to be free from environmental hazards and ready to grow economically,” said Merkley. “These investments will help clean up more than eight brownfield sites across the state and allow communities to invest in new projects, expand developable land, and promote economic development. These federal funds will help foster safer and stronger communities across Oregon, and I’ll continue to do all I can to secure federal resources to ensure all our communities or Oregonians can thrive.”  

“Oregonians working for a clean path to create jobs and new business opportunities in their communities often need cleanup of sites left potentially contaminated by previous owners,” said Wyden. “These federal funds in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law I was proud to support help our state take significant steps on that path to economic reuse and redevelopment. This is good news for Oregon, and I’ll keep battling to make sure our entire state gets our fair share of the resources provided by this groundbreaking infrastructure law.”

Brownfield sites are properties where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be hindered by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. The Brownfields Program advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, ensuring that at least 40% of benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy flow to disadvantaged communities. Redevelopment includes everything from grocery stores and affordable housing to health centers, museums, greenways, and solar farms.?? ? 

A breakdown of grant awards and communities can be found below: 

  • $402,000 to the City of Chiloquin for a Brownfields Cleanup Grant 

Funds will be used to clean up the former Markwardt Brothers Garage Assemblage site that contains a collapsed building and contaminated underground storage tanks. 

  • $500,000 to Clatsop County for a Brownfields Assessment Grant 

Funds will be used for environmental site assessments and development of cleanup and reuse plans. Possible cleanup sites include a former gas station in Surfside and an abandoned collection of buildings in Astoria. 

  • $1,000,000 to Columbia Pacific Economic Development District of Oregon for a Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grant 

The grant will be used to provide loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities. Potential cleanup locations include a 60-acre area dotted with vacant structures, an 81-acre wood veneer processing plant and lumber mill, a dry dock, and a vacant gas station. 

  • $500,000 to the City of Hillsboro for a Brownfields Assessment Grant  

Funds will be used to develop a Brownfield site inventory and conduct environmental site assessments to develop cleanup plans. Possible cleanup sites include a former rail depot and silo site, a gas station and carwash site, a dry cleaner, and auto repair site. 

  • $500,000 to the City of Lincoln City for a Brownfields Assessment Grant 

Funding will be used to inventory and prioritize Brownfield sites, and conduct site assessments to be used to develop six cleanup plans, possibly including a former auto shop, a dry cleaner, and a rock quarry. 

  • $500,000 to the City of Portland for a Brownfields Assessment Grant 

Funds will be used to conduct environmental site assessments and cleanup plans for sites that may include a former automotive repair shop and junkyard located within walking distance of public transit and is considered a prime candidate for reuse.

  • $500,000 to the Rogue Valley Council of Governments for a Brownfields Assessment Grant 

Grant funds will be used to perform environmental site assessments, inventory and prioritize sites, and develop cleanup plans. Potential cleanup areas include a former log truck service and repair station, three gas stations, and a fruit orchard.

  • $500,000 to Tillamook County for a Brownfields Assessment Grant 

Funding will be used to conduct environmental site assessments and to develop cleanup plans for sites that could potentially include a former sawmill and an automobile wrecking facility.

  • $3,900,000 to the Oregon Business Development Department as supplemental funding for an existing Revolving Loan Fund grant to pay for additional Brownfield site cleanups 

This funding will help the recipient to continue success in their work to cleanup and redevelop brownfield sites. 

“Clatsop County is excited for this grant opportunity and are pleased to have been selected to accomplish this much needed work,” said Mark Kujala, Clatsop County Commissioner Chair.

“This grant will help us carry forward work to assess brownfield properties countywide and engage with community partners to identify opportunities for redevelopment. Because Tillamook County faces unique buildable land constraints amidst an unprecedented housing crisis, we must think creatively and take big steps to find solutions. This is a big step towards unlocking underutilized sites for potential future housing and community resources,” said Erin Skaar, Tillamook County Commissioner.

Rosen, Boozman Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Address Physician Shortage

Source: United States Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV)

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and John Boozman (R-AR) introduced the bipartisan Physicians for Underserved Areas Act to help address the nationwide physician shortage by updating the Graduate Medical Education (GME) slot process following a hospital closure to prioritize sending federally-funded medical residency slots to areas where doctors are most needed.

“Nevada currently ranks 48th in the nation when it comes to primary care physicians per capita, and this shortage has had a dire impact on Nevadans’ ability to seek health care,” said Senator Rosen. “This bipartisan legislation will help add to the number of medical residency slots available for Nevada hospitals and encourage more doctors to come practice in our state, including in communities which previously have been underserved.”

“In rural states like Arkansas, the shortage of primary care physicians and specialty doctors creates a health care delivery challenge,” said Senator Boozman. “The Physicians for Underserved Areas Act is part of the solution to bridge this gap and encourage more medical school graduates to practice in rural areas. I’m pleased to continue advancing proposals to ensure all Americans, no matter where they live, get the care they need.”

“We are excited about this proposed legislation as it will help to relieve the physician shortage found in Nevada,” said Dr. Marc J. Kahn, Dean of the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Kerkorian School of Medicine. “It is well known that physicians are most likely to practice where they have completed their training, especially if they have attended medical school in the same state. Nevada has significant shortages in nearly every physician specialty and we are woefully underfunded for residency positions compared to most other states. Any effort to decrease this disparity is greatly needed for our community.”

“Nevada continues to struggle with statewide physician workforce shortages,” said Dr. John Packham, Associate Dean of the University of Nevada, Reno’s School of Medicine. “This important bill will support efforts by medical schools and teaching hospitals across the state to expand graduate medical education opportunities to train tomorrow’s doctors.”

The Nevada Primary Care Association, representing the state’s Community Health Centers, is grateful to Senator Rosen for introducing this important legislation,” said Nancy Bowen, CEO of the Nevada Primary Care Association. “Nevada has been blessed with rapid population growth throughout its modern history, but this has come at a cost of persistent and profound health provider shortages. The Physicians for Underserved Areas Act is an important step to increasing the number of providers who are trained in the state and stay to deliver health care to our residents.”

“Roseman University College of Medicine is dedicated to retaining the medical professionals we train here at home in the Las Vegas valley and GME modernization is an important part of that mission,” said Dr. Pedro “Joe” Greer, Dean of Roseman College of Medicine. “We thank Senator Rosen for engaging with us and the rest of the medical training community in the creation of this bill and look forward to a continued partnership in modernizing the GME program to fit our area’s needs.”

“It has been an honor and a privilege working alongside some of Nevada’s finest leaders in Senate, Undergraduate, and Graduate Medical Education,” said Angelina Rodriguez, MD, Family Medicine Program Director at Southern Hills Hospital and Medical Center. “As we continue to address healthcare access and disparity, including the alarming rate of physician shortage across our great state, we are committed to doing our part to give back to the communities we serve.”

The bipartisan Physicians for Underserved Areas Act would revise the GME process to give medical residency programs in areas with physician shortages a greater chance of gaining available residency slots after hospital closures elsewhere in the country. The legislation also would continue to prioritize keeping medical residency slots local and within the same state when hospitals close and would update the requirement for quickly filling GME slots.

Senator Rosen has been actively working to address the physician shortage in communities across Nevada. She has introduced or co-led bipartisan bills to: 

  • Fund additional Federally Qualified Health Centers, Rural Health Clinics, and mobile clinics
  • Bring specialists to health centers in rural and underserved areas.
  • Expand the Medical Student Education (MSE) Program, ensuring that Nevada is eligible for funding to help reduce its physician shortage.
  • Pause interest accrual and student loan repayments during residency.
  • Allow international physicians to remain in the United States upon completing their residency under the condition that they practice in areas experiencing doctor shortages.

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Democrats’ Far Left Policies Have Made Inflation Families’ New Normal

Source: United States Senator for Kentucky Mitch McConnell

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding inflation:

“By early 2020, before the pandemic, Republican policies had helped create one of the best economic moments for working Americans in our lifetimes.

“Unemployment was low, inflation was low, and real take-home pay was rising steadily. In fact, we had wages rising faster for the bottom 25% of the wage scale than for the top 25%.  

“The incoming all-Democrat government was handed a reopening economy and a million vaccines going in arms per day. The country was packed with optimism and primed for a comeback.

“But through their far left policy choices, Washington Democrats have driven our economy into the ground.

“Inflation is setting 40-year records in consecutive months. Gas and diesel prices have set new all-time highs on consecutive days. And sticker shock continues to cause headaches for Americans buying household essentials.

“One college student in California says that buying groceries has him, ‘taking extra loans to pay for my expenses. I’m maxing out on my credit cards.’

“A woman in Virginia reports she’s taken to visiting three different food stores in one trip to make sure she’s getting the best prices on everything she needs.

“A warehouse worker in New Jersey says she and her husband are spending more time hunting for coupons. ‘It’s not a lot, but I’m trying to buy healthy things that also fill us up.’

“Overall grocery prices have jumped 10% in the past year. Just one part of why many Americans say the Biden economy is not working for them.

“Fewer than one in four American consumers say this current economic conditions are even somewhat good. And fewer than one in five say the Biden Administration’s policies have done anything to help.

“Democrats made runaway reckless spending their new normal here in Washington. And so historic, painful inflation has become the new normal for working families everywhere else.”

McConnell Discusses Kyiv Visit and Overwhelming Bipartisan Support for Assisting Ukraine

Source: United States Senator for Kentucky Mitch McConnell

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Ukraine:

“Yesterday, in a bipartisan landslide, the Senate advanced legislation to get more arms and assistance to the innocent people of Ukraine.

“Senators Collins, Cornyn, Barrasso and I just returned last night from Europe. Our first stop was Kyiv.

“It was moving to feel some of the impacts of Putin’s aggression. To see a free and independent nation made to fight for its life.

“But it was also inspiring to witness the bravery and determination that have united Ukrainians in the face of the onslaught. Ukraine has had more than its share of domestic political differences in recent years.

“Putin must have thought some Ukrainians would welcome invading Russian forces. Instead, both Ukrainian-speaking and Russian-speaking Ukrainians have united in defense of their sovereign nation.

“Some predicted Ukraine would fold in a few days and Russia would stroll right to Kyiv. That was wrong, too. Ukraine is tough, and Kyiv remains in Ukrainian hands, with life moving back towards normalcy despite the continued threat.

“Our delegation was honored to meet with President Zelenskyy. He expressed his gratitude to the United States for our leadership and support on a bipartisan basis, as well as for other countries that have stood by his people in their time of need.

“America is not the only free country that has Ukraine’s back. President Zelenskyy was moved by certain European countries who have given Ukraine – in his words – ‘everything they had.’

“Of course, other European countries can and should do more to help Ukraine. And the Administration should lead an effort to ensure broad, sustained international support for Ukraine.

“America’s support to Ukraine has highlighted the limits to our stockpiles of certain munitions and shortcomings in our defense production capacity. A number of European countries have dipped even deeper into their weapons inventories. They will need to refill also.

“As our European friends wake up from their ‘holiday from history’ and increase defense spending, I hope the U.S. will be a reliable supplier of advanced weaponry to our NATO allies. A textbook win-win.

“Our delegation reiterated to President Zelenskyy the bipartisan consensus which the Senate demonstrated with last night’s vote: The United States of America has Ukraine’s back and will stand with our friends until they win.

“Ukraine is not asking anybody else to fight their fight. They’re only asking for help getting the resources and tools they need to defend themselves.

“And we and our friends and partners across the free world will stand behind Ukraine until they achieve victory as they define it. The outcome of this fight has major ramifications for the West and the Ukrainians should not be left to stand alone.

“As an overwhelming bipartisan majority of the Senate reaffirmed yesterday, America’s decision to support Ukraine is not some frivolous act of charity. It serves our own national security and strategic interests for international borders to continue to mean something.

“It serves our own security and interest to impose massive costs on Putin’s long-running campaign of violent imperialism. And it directly and powerfully serves our national interest to deter potential future wars of aggression before they start.

“I assure you that Xi Jinping and the CCP are watching Ukraine carefully. There is a concrete reason why democratic Asian countries like Japan and Taiwan are rooting hard for Ukraine to prevail. Moreover, if we are stuck in a long-term strategic competition with China, we will want a stable, secure, and strong Europe by our side.

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McConnell Supports Strengthening NATO and Honors Forces Deploying from Kentucky

Source: United States Senator for Kentucky Mitch McConnell

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding NATO and forces deploying from Kentucky:

“Speaking of America’s national interest, our delegation also visited what we hope and expect will soon be the two newest members of the NATO alliance.

“We arrived in Stockholm and Helsinki just as the leaders of Sweden and Finland announced their nations will seek to join the alliance that has secured peace in Europe for more than 73 years.

“It was an honor to have robust discussions with Prime Minister Andersson, Defense Minister Hultqvist, and key Parliamentary leaders in Stockholm; and President Niinisto, Prime Minister Marin, Defense Minister Kaikkonen, and Parliamentary leaders in Helsinki.

“I gave them my assurance as Senate Republican Leader that I fully support both Finland’s and Sweden’s accession. I will do all I can to speed treaty ratification through the Senate.

“Finland and Sweden are impressive and capable countries, with military capabilities that surpass many existing NATO allies. As new members, they would more than pull their weight.

“These two nations’ geographical locations are strategic. They have well-equipped and professional armed forces. Their military and high-tech industrial bases are robust. There is already significant interoperability that connects their defenses and NATO’s.

“I will have much more to say on this subject in the days and weeks ahead. Finland and Sweden would make NATO even stronger than it stands today.

***

“Finally, it must be noted that our delegation was not the most important group of Americans shipping out to stand with our friends in Europe. Not by a long shot.

“There are 100,000 American soldiers currently stationed in Europe to bolster the peace and shore up NATO. This includes the Kentucky-based V Corps.

“And we received word just last week that 4,700 members of the 101st Airborne from Kentucky’s Ft. Campbell will also travel to Europe in the coming months. The ‘Screaming Eagles’ have a long history of defending America’s national security interests in Europe.

“I’m proud of these brave men and women for being ready to deploy at a moment’s notice. I am proud America can make this peaceful contribution to our allies’ sovereignty and strength in Europe.

“And I am proud of the entire the Fort Campbell community for keeping these men and women well prepared for this mission.”

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