Mar 30 2020

Montgomery Advertiser: Richard Shelby: We're Stronger Together, but Safer Apart

During this unprecedented time, I recognize that it is my duty as your senator to do everything in my power to help this great country and her people — whether that’s by providing resources and assistance or finding ways to ensure our safety. No one asked for this crisis — and certainly no one could have predicted it. Our country was in the midst of record economic growth and historic unemployment lows before the coronavirus pandemic. The hardworking citizens of Alabama and others throughout our county did nothing to deserve the public health and economic chaos we are currently experiencing. As this virus continues to spread, we must remember the strength and resilience of our nation, especially when we work together.

After days of debate and unnecessary partisan politics, on March 25, the Senate came to a unanimous agreement on a monumental coronavirus relief bill. This historic package will rush assistance to American workers, families, businesses, and health care providers, delivering over $2 trillion in relief in an effort to save lives, relieve financial burdens, and stabilize our economy. This is what my colleagues and I were elected to do. Congress needed to act urgently and boldly. After an unsettling and partisan start to 2020, Congress was able to cast aside our differences and come together in short order for the good of our country.

This emergency package will deliver direct relief to those who need it most, providing historic levels of support. We can offer hope for those innocent Americans who are suffering from illness, and we can give back to workers who are struggling to make ends meet.

Congress’ efforts will help pave the way back to a normal life for all Americans. Aid will be provided for Alabama’s small businesses, loans will be given to companies in distressed industries, unemployment benefits will be expanded, hospitals will be supported, and medical research will be funded.

Our law enforcement and first responders will receive the support and protection they need to continue doing their jobs. And last but not least, our health care professionals on the front lines — those who knowingly put their lives at risk each and every day to combat this virus — will receive the assistance needed to continue their lifesaving, heroic work.

Amidst this public health and economic crisis, we must remember and salute those who continue to serve our nation. Health care professionals, researchers, policeman, firefighters, truck drivers, grocery store clerks, and other members of society are still out there working hard, facing this catastrophe head-on and prioritizing our collective health and safety over their own. These are the unspoken heroes of the coronavirus pandemic.

If we want to end this crisis, we must also do everything in our power to stop the spread of the virus. We must control the one thing we can: our own actions. We must all do our part to flatten the curve by following the guidelines from our nation’s leading health officials. Every American has a critical role to play in saving our country from this pandemic. Please stay home, and please stay safe.

During these trying times, remember that, together, we are one nation; one that will overcome this hurdle and soon return to our ordinary, everyday lives. We have to continue looking ahead, focusing on our promising future yet to come. I am confident that we will overcome this unprecedented trial, as we have countless others throughout history, emerging stronger on the other side.