WASHINGTON — A COVID-19 relief and stimulus package is a lot closer to being a reality than people realize and negotiators need to step forward and renew negotiations, according to Congressman Tom Reed.
Reed, in a conference call Wednesday, said he spent all night Tuesday working the telephones to implore lawmakers to get back to the table.
“The parties were extremely close to a deal that would have given relief to the people today. I am not giving up hope on the Covid-19 package because I think we were so close and we continue to be close,” Reed said.
Urging continuing negotiations, Reed said “We are within inches of getting this done so let’s not walk away now.”
While President Trump has offered to sign a stand-alone bill to give $1,200 to people, Reed said the government shouldn’t surrender the idea of finishing a package.
“We need to do more in my humble opinion (than a stand alone bill),” Reed said. “The airlines, restaurants, small businesses with PPP, farmers, child care, K-12, they need to be in a position to get relief.”
“If they just took the time to listen to each other and iron out the wrinkles,” a deal can be reached, he stressed.
He said there are some differences regarding aid to local and state governments, but thinks there is room for movement on the issue.
“I do believe there is a compromise position on state and local aid, however there is objection to state and local aid and you just have to recognize that.”
He went on to say citizens will not be happy is they see money being spent on non-COVID related issues.
“It’s clear that the question now has been called and its clear the last and best offers should be out on the table,” Reed said.
As for Trump’s saying that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have not been negotiating in good faith, Reed advised all parties to step back, take a deep breath, and get back to work.
“I encourage the president and others to just take a deep breath, stand down and take a look at the bigger picture,” Reed said.
One key concern among some law makers is whether those receiving unemployment should receive more money than they made while working, he said.
He predicted the Problem Solvers Caucus will be a vital part of any solution.
“We have been critical in showing that this can be done and needs to be done and I think we will be critical in getting this done in the next 24 to 48 hours.”