GLEN ROCK, NJ – Last week, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) joined a bipartisan group of Members of Congress in two letters to urge House leadership to immediately return to the negotiating table to work on a fifth COVID-19 relief package.
“We are writing to urge you to immediately resume negotiations for a relief package to confront the dual public health and economic crises Americans are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the members of Congress wrote. “During times of national emergencies, the American people look to elected officials to set aside their differences and take action through a sense of shared purpose and direction. The time for excuses has passed: Congress must work together and find a compromise to jumpstart the process.”
The bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote to Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy to express their concerns about a lack of bipartisan negotiation as discussions have stalled. The letter was led by Jared Golden (ME-01) and joined by Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Mike Kelly (PA-16), Ben McAdams (UT-04), John Katko (NY-24), Joe Cunningham (SC-01), David Joyce (OH-14), Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16), Susie Lee (NV-03), Mark Amodei (NV-02), Tim Ryan (OH-13), Jaime Hererra Beutler (WA-03), Fred Upton (MI-06), Max Rose (NY-11), and Kendra Horn (OK-05).
Last week, Gottheimer also joined Members of the Blue Dog Coalition in writing to House and Senate Leadership urging them to adopt bipartisan policy priorities including: 1) an extension of unemployment insurance benefits; 2) measures to keep workers tethered to their jobs; 3) support for state, local, and tribal governments, K-12 schools, and institutions of higher educations; 4) a second round of economic impact payments; and 5) stronger oversight of pandemic response spending.
“Our constituents sent us to Congress to find bipartisan solutions that move this country forward,” the Member of Congress wrote. “The current stalemate is punishing families and destabilizing our economy. Congress must do all that it can to keep workers tethered to their jobs, assist the unemployed, support our health care workers and our health care system, and ensure that businesses who do right by their workers are given the necessary resources and protections to survive. We must keep negotiating, no matter how difficult. Inaction is not an option.”
In addition to Gottheimer, the letter was signed by Reps. Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Lou Correa (CA-46), Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), Kurt Schrader (OR-05), Sanford Bishop (GA-02), Rep. Ed Case (HI-01), Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16), Rep. Charlie Crist (FL-13), Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Rep. Joe Cunningham (SC-01), Rep. Jared Golden (ME-02), Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Rep. Kendra Horn (OK-05), Rep. Daniel Lipinski (IL-03), Rep. Ben McAdams (UT-04), Rep. Max Rose (NY-11), Rep. David Scott (GA-13), Rep. Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), and Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02).
The full text of the letter is Below:
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy:
We are writing to urge you to immediately resume negotiations for a relief package to confront the dual public health and economic crises Americans are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are facing significant challenges related to COVID-19: over 170,000 Americans have died from the virus, hospitals in parts of the country are once again seeing a spike in cases, millions of businesses remain shuttered or restricted in their operations, state and local governments are facing significant revenue shortfalls, and the future of the weekly pandemic unemployment assistance is uncertain for the more than 30 million Americans without a job. Such unprecedented circumstances demand that political leaders work together to meet the challenges of this moment.
We recognize that negotiating such a significant legislative proposal is difficult, but failing to reach a deal is unacceptable and is a failure of duty to the American people. During times of national emergencies, the American people look to elected officials to set aside their differences and take action through a sense of shared purpose and direction. The time for excuses has passed: Congress must work together and find compromise to jumpstart this process. We urge you to continue negotiations as soon as possible.
We stand ready to work with you in the days and weeks ahead to ensure that no American is left behind. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.