- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 22, 2020

A coalition of bipartisan lawmakers pressed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Tuesday to keep members in Washington until the chamber passes a new COVID-19 relief bill.

The group of more than 30 House Democrats and Republicans told both party leaders in a letter that members shouldn’t be allowed to go home and campaign while a coronavirus relief bill remains stalled.

The group was led by Democratic Reps. Jared Golden of Maine and Kathleen Rice of New York, as well as Republican Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio.

“Our constituents do not want us home campaigning while businesses continue to shutter, families struggle to pay the bills, food bank lines lengthen, schools struggle to reopen, pressures grow on hospital systems, and state and local budget shortfalls mean communities consider layoffs,” they wrote.

“Staying at the table means keeping members of the House of Representatives in session — and on Capitol Hill — until a bipartisan deal is reached and passed in the House,” they continued.

All efforts to get a fifth coronavirus bill through Congress have been derailed since May when the House passed a $3 trillion package Senate Republicans dismissed outright.

Talks for a bipartisan deal began in July — when Republicans offered a $1 trillion offer — but collapsed in August after White House and Democrat negotiators failed to find a compromise on enhanced unemployment and funding for state and local government.

A slimmed-down $500 billion bill put forth by the Senate Republicans was also blocked by Democrats earlier this month who said it left far too much on the cutting room floor.

A bipartisan proposal was floated in the House last week, with a price tag around $2 trillion, but was shot down by Democratic leaders.

Republicans were cautiously optimistic about the proposal’s foundation for a bipartisan agreement but didn’t endorse the plan either.

Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, said last week that the House would stay in session until a deal with the White House was reached, but that really doesn’t change much from how the House has been operating on standby from their districts for months.

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