Katko, Republican Governance Group Members Call on President Biden to Reject Partisan Efforts and Advance Bipartisan COVID Relief
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) and members of the Republican Governance Group, a caucus comprised of Congressional Republicans committed to effective governing, today urged the Biden Administration to work with lawmakers from both parties to negotiate and advance the next round of COVID-19 relief. This effort comes after the House of Representatives moved tonight to initiate a process to pass stimulus legislation on a strictly partisan basis. Rep. Katko was joined by U.S. Reps.Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-3), Fred Upton (MI-6), Rodney Davis (IL-13), Michael McCaul (TX-10), Troy Balderson (OH-12), Jeff Van Drew (NJ-2), Mario Diaz Balart (FL-25), Tom Rice (SC-7), Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1).
Since March, Congress has enacted five bipartisan COVID-19 relief packages developed with bipartisan, bicameral cooperation. Despite strong support now on both sides of the aisle for an additional pandemic relief package that includes funds to strengthen national vaccination and testing programs, immediate assistance to individuals and families, and expanded support for struggling businesses, Democratic Leaders in Congress have signaled they intend to forgo meaningful bipartisan negotiations, resorting instead to the partisan budget reconciliation process. This tool allows spending legislation, such as COVID-19 relief, to be enacted without bipartisan support.
To ensure the needs of all American communities are reflected in future pandemic relief legislation, Rep. Katko and Members in the Republican Governance Group today urged President Biden to include input from lawmakers in both parties in negotiations. Rep. Katko and the lawmakers wrote, “Bipartisanship is not only essential to delivering an effective response to the pandemic, but to demonstrating our shared commitment to unifying the American people and forging the pathway forward together. With this in mind, we urge your Administration to work with leaders and Members of both parties to advance a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package comprised of consensus-driven policies.”
The full text of the lawmakers letter can be found below:
Dear President Biden,
As the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to rage across our country, it remains critically important that lawmakers of both parties work together in response to this crisis. Bipartisanship is not only essential to delivering an effective response to the pandemic, but to demonstrating our shared commitment to unifying the American people and forging the pathway forward together. With this in mind, we urge your Administration to work with leaders and Members of both parties to advance a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package comprised of consensus-driven policies.
Since March, Congress has enacted five bipartisan packages in response to the public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. These bills were the result of good faith negotiations and have provided unprecedented resources to help American families, hospitals, and businesses navigate this crisis. Critically, these packages demonstrated that congressional lawmakers were capable of overcoming partisan gridlock and taking decisive action in response to the most significant public health emergency of our lifetime.
With consideration of the next COVID-19 relief package already underway, we are concerned by the partisan approach being taken to use budget reconciliation to advance this policy. Since the beginning of this pandemic, it has been clear that there is a pathway forward for bipartisan relief legislation. Strong support can be found on both sides of the aisle for a wide range of consensus-driven policies, including bolstering our national vaccination and testing programs, providing immediate assistance to individuals and families, and building upon existing supports for struggling businesses. Bipartisan negotiations will help accomplish these goals and ensure that the needs of all American communities are reflected in the Federal Government’s pandemic response.
Recognizing that common ground exists, as well as the importance of continuing to put forward a bipartisan response to this pandemic, we respectfully request that your Administration work with lawmakers from both parties to negotiate and advance the next round of COVID-19 relief. It is our strong belief that these efforts will provide a much-needed signal to all Americans that bipartisanship in the face of crisis is not only possible, but essential.
Thank you for your time and consideration of this request. We look forward to your response.