Politics Vulnerable Democrats tell Pelosi COVID-19 compromise 'essential'
Congress starts its weekend no closer to a coronavirus deal
Democrats and Republicans remain far apart on an agreement, with little time left before lawmakers hit the campaign trail.With no mood for dealmaking in either party, the House and Senate are leaving for the weekend without any progress on an agreement, casting further doubt that Congress can muster the political will to adopt another massive economic stimulus measure before the November election.
A group of vulnerable House Democrats on Thursday began circulating a new letter calling on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to hold a vote on a bipartisan coronavirus relief package before Election Day.
The moderates, led Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chairman Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and freshman Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), said they did not support a GOP resolution to force a vote on emergency aid for small businesses - a tactic that hadin recent days from centrist Democrats anxious about heading home without money for constituents struggling with the pandemic.
Voting By Mail? Here Are the Deadlines in Every U.S. State
Voting By Mail? Here Are the Deadlines in Every U.S. StateBefore the pandemic, five states—Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah—already held all-mail elections, meaning every active registered voter automatically received a ballot in the mail that would allow them to bypass a physical polling place. Due to COVID-19, several more states, including California and New Jersey, are adopting this model for the 2020 election. Twenty-nine states and Washington D.C. already allowed for “no excuse” mail-in absentee ballots, meaning voters can request a mail-in ballot without having to meet certain qualifications.
"We write to urge you to continue bipartisan negotiations with our Republican colleagues and the Administration, so that we may deliver meaningful relief for the American people," the letter to Pelosi and Hoyer says, according to a copy provided to The Hill. "Currently, a discharge petition is the only potential option for COVID-19 related action on the House Floor; we do not believe that is the best path forward."
"However, it is essential that we send the Senate a compromise bill before the election that is reasonable and that can be signed into law by the President of the United States," the moderates wrote.
The effort comes on the same day top Democrats confirmed that Pelosi had instructed committee chairmen this week to beginin the neighborhood of $2.2 trillion. That was the last offer that Pelosi had made to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the top White House negotiator.
Pelosi says Democrats 'have our options' when asked about impeaching Trump if he replaces Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death less than two months before the election has fueled a fierce debate over the timing of her replacement. Democrats are demanding Republicans wait until at least the results of the Nov. 3 election. They say pushing through a nominee before then would be hypocritical after denying then-President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland a vote in 2016, citing the proximity of the election, which was nearly eight months away. Republicans argue this situation is different because the same party controls the White House and the Senate.
Democrats said it appeared there would be a vote on the new relief package sometime next week, though it was unclear if a deal with Mnuchin could be struck before then.
"Given the massive impact on this pandemic on our communities, we cannot leave until we pass much-needed relief in the areas of: COVID-19 testing, state and local aid, unemployment insurance, direct stimulus payments, support for small businesses and non-profits, food security, broadband, funding for schools and child care, housing, and agriculture support," the letter from moderates stated.
"Passing a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package should be our number one priority in the coming days. It is our request that you continue to negotiate towards a bipartisan deal, and we stand ready to work with you to ensure that Americans can receive the urgent relief they need as quickly as possible," the letter continues.
AOC and Schumer say 'all options are on the table' to stall nomination
AOC and Schumer joined forces for a press conference Sunday night outside James Madison High School in Brooklyn, to warn that Americans' rights are at risk if Trump appoints a justice.AOC and Schumer joined forces for a press conference Sunday night outside James Madison High School in Brooklyn, that both Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Schumer attended.
Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) has been circulating a separate letter among fellow freshman Democrats that will be sent to Pelosi on Friday. He letter calls on Pelosi to bring to the floor a "revised and streamlined" COVID-19 package next week.
"While we have all expressed our willingness to remain in Washington in order to push for an agreement, we write to you now to implore you to bring a revised and streamlined COVID-19 relief package to the floor next week. Americans are counting on us; they cannot wait any longer," the Axne letter states.
"The political stalemate has gone too long. We demand a vote on a clean relief package that has direct assistance for those in need. Regardless if the White House or Senate agree, we must show the American people that the House of Representatives is open to negotiations and clear in our resolve to deliver aid for millions in need," her letter adds.
Pelosi and Mnuchin make one final attempt at Covid talks before elections .
Top Democrats spent much of the weekend and Monday finalizing a roughly $2.2 trillion relief package.Pelosi and Mnuchin were scheduled to speak Monday evening, according to multiple Democratic sources. If no agreement seems likely — and it hasn’t been despite months of on-and-off negotiations — Pelosi and House Democratic leaders will hold a vote on their own bill as soon as Thursday and then go home to campaign, guaranteeing that Congress won’t send more help until after Election Day, said the sources.