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McConnell addresses Bell County

Senator Mitch McConnell provided an update on issues of importance in Washington, D.C. during a luncheon in Pineville on Tuesday.

McConnell appeared via video conference, addressing a room of officials including Bell County officials as well as officials from other areas in southeastern Kentucky.

Bell County Judge-Executive Albey Brock introduced McConnell.

McConnell addressed the state of the economy during the previous administration before the pandemic hit.

“A lot of businesses were hiring employees and investing in their own future,” McConnell said. “Then, the pandemic happened, and top medical professionals had to recommend we…send everybody home. We all remember all too well that’s where we were a year ago.”

McConnell pointed out that last year Congress passed a bipartisan response to the pandemic known as the CARES Act.

“It started in my office as the majority leader of the Senate,” McConnell said.

According to McConnell, there was only one way to beat the pandemic.

“We knew from the very beginning that the only way to beat the pandemic was to get a vaccine,” McConnell said. “I was a polio victim when I was a young kid years ago, so I studied the history of the disease. It took 70 years to develop a vaccine for polio. What happened within the last year was a modern medical miracle. Operation Warp Speed, which was part of the CARES act, provided $48 billion to jump-start rapid development of an effective vaccine, and we ended up with three of them in less than a year.”

McConnell pointed out that to end the pandemic, people must be vaccinated.

“Whether we’ll ever get 75 percent of Americans taking the shot, I don’t know, but the closer we can get to that the better because that will help us develop what the professionals call herd immunity,” McConnell said. “That’s exactly where we need to get to once and for all put this pandemic in the rear-view mirror.”

McConnell also talked about the state of the nation’s economy.

“What we need to do is return to the pro-opportunity policies that built our red-hot economy,” McConnell said. “Instead…Washington Democrats are in the midst of a $6 trillion partisan spree.”

McConnell pointed out that due to the pandemic, the United States now has a debt the size of its economy for the first time since World War II.

“That is a stunning amount of debt,” McConnell said. “The new administration inherited that, and they have only added to it They’ve already passed the American Rescue Plan – which didn’t enjoy a single Republican vote in the House or Senate – because it was wildly out of proportion to what we need to finish the job to end the pandemic.”

According to McConnell, only nine percent of the funding provided by the ARP is related to healthcare.

McConnell pointed out that Kentucky will be receiving about $4 billion of funding from the American Rescue Plan.

“You’re going to get an enormous amount of money to spend in Kentucky,” McConnell said. “You should spend it wisely. Even though I didn’t vote for it, I know you’re going to get it and I hope you make good use of it.”

Following McConnell’s presentation, Brock mentioned those in attendance included bankers, car dealership owners, elected officials, representatives from three separate hospitals, and economic development groups.

“We’ve got a very wide swath of the folks that are here to see you. We appreciate you being here today,” Brock said.