By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
February 9, 2021
Over the past 11 months, Republicans and Democrats have worked together to pass nearly $4 trillion in emergency COVID-19 fiscal relief. The crisis is far from over, which is why Republicans stand ready to work with Democrats to provide additional relief, ensure vaccines are distributed and begin the process of rebuilding our economy.
I offer my colleagues some ideas of where we could start.
First, any meaningful, bipartisan package should throw a life preserver to as many Americans as possible—including middle-class families—by increasing Americans' direct economic impact payments from $600 to a full $2,000. Even before President Biden's inauguration, I have repeatedly advocated this as a starting point for cooperation.
Second, the package must include urgent funds necessary for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, as I said last month and the House's Blue Dog Coalition urged just last week.
Third, a bipartisan bill should also support direct assistance to struggling American families. The president's plan offers steps in this direction, but I support an even larger boost than the current proposal by increasing the child tax credit (CTC) to $3,500 per older child and $4,500 per younger child. Republicans doubled the CTC in 2017, and we are ready to do even more now. This expansion must not penalize at-home caregivers or undermine the work, training and child support requirements of parents receiving welfare benefits.
Fourth, a bipartisan relief package should include meaningful incentives to reshore supply chains in areas of the country once home to thriving manufacturing industries, like Puerto Rico. My Medical Manufacturing, Economic Development and Sustainability (MMEDS) Act, introduced with Representative Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR), represents a good starting point.
Fifth, we should make sure that our manufacturers, health care providers and businesses are not subjected to frivolous lawsuits if they follow best practices.
Finally, a serious bipartisan plan will provide a clear way forward for our nation—especially our youngest Americans. Tens of millions of our children have not been in a school classroom for nearly a year now. The consequences for their educational outcomes, socialization and mental health have been nothing short of catastrophic. Opening our schools back up is contingent on being able to do so safely, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made clear that we've already reached that point. A genuine bipartisan package must therefore include accountability for school systems that are not making our children's education their top priority.
The American people have repeatedly made clear that they want a bipartisan response to the ongoing pandemic… President Biden, Leader Schumer: Let's give our nation the relief it desperately needs and get this done right.