WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today called on Congress to pass a bipartisan COVID-19 emergency relief package before leaving for the holidays. Congressional leadership is currently negotiating a package based off the $748 billion, bipartisan COVID-19 emergency relief legislation that Durbin helped negotiate. The package includes funding for unemployment insurance, small businesses, vaccine distribution and COVID-19 testing, health care providers, housing and education assistance, and more.

“I was happy to join a group of 10 Senators—five Democrats and five Republicans—three weeks ago… this mixed group of Senators of both political parties had a bold idea: let’s try to do it ourselves,” Durbin said. “We came up with a bill that we presented to the leadership of both the House and the Senate, both parties. The good news is they didn’t ignore it—they embraced it and started their own negotiations at the very highest levels of leadership in the Congress… I am hopeful that we finalize a deal today and vote on it as early as today or tomorrow at the latest.”

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Durbin also discussed his disappointment that funding for state and local governments was not included in the $748 billion package.

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“The disappointment is the fact that we didn’t reach an agreement on state and local government assistance. I favor that strongly,” Durbin said.

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.

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