Culpeper Star-Exponent: Va. Democrats knock Trump’s halt of COVID-19 relief talks


President Donald Trump’s decision to end bipartisan negotiations on COVID-19 relief until after the November elections brought swift criticism from Virginia Democrats in Congress.

“Our nation’s response to COVID-19 is not a game, and as each day passes without progress on a bipartisan relief package, Americans are facing the increasing effects of hunger, bankruptcy, or the loss of a job,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th, said. “Just today, we heard from the chairman of the Federal Reserve about the pressing need for additional action from Congress, or else risk further economic disaster. I’ve been vocal about the need for a bipartisan path forward on direct payments, unemployment assistance, and additional support for businesses — and the president throwing in the towel is not an acceptable option.

“The American people are tired of the political maneuvering and partisanship that has plagued Capitol Hill throughout the latter portion of the pandemic,” the Central Virginia lawmaker added. “Real livelihoods are on the line, and we can’t stop fighting for the people we serve. Both Democrats and Republicans must recommit to good-faith negotiations.”

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine also signaled their concerns.

“The American public is telling us they need COVID relief now and we should wait until after the election to fill the Supreme Court vacancy,” they said. “Instead, the president and Senate GOP are rushing their (Supreme Court) nominee and ignoring Americans who are suffering in this health and economic crisis. We should be prioritizing COVID relief, and we are discouraged that the president has decided to end the negotiations to do that.”

Last week, Spanberger voted against the Democrat-backed Heroes Act 2.0.

The freshman legislator called for leaders of both parties to reach a deal on COVID-19 relief that could be approved by the U.S. Senate and signed into law by Trump.

Last month, Spanberger joined fellow members of the Problem Solvers Caucus — made up of 25 House Democrats and 25 Republicans — in proposing its bipartisan “March to Common Ground” framework to break the gridlock on COVID-19 aid.

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