‘Let’s get this done’ — GOP congressman urges action on coronavirus relief bill

Republican Rep. Tom Reed on Thursday urged leaders in Washington to find a compromise on coronavirus relief legislation, saying the “need is significant” for additional economic assistance across the U.S. 

“I think there is need across all spectrums, not just particular industries like restaurants and live venues, movies, what have you, airlines and others,”  Reed, who represents a large swath of western and central New York State that includes Ithaca, said on CNBC’s “The Exchange.” 

“But you also look at small business. You look at individuals who have lost their jobs,” added Reed, who co-chairs the Problem Solvers Caucus along with Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey. 

The bipartisan group released a roughly $1.5 trillion relief proposal in mid-September that was rejected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who favors a larger stimulus package. 

Pelosi has been holding negotiations this week with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, attempting to find agreement on a piece of legislation that would be able to pass both the Democratic-led House and GOP-led Senate. 

Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke Thursday afternoon and plan to talk again later, seeking compromise on the cost of a potential package and other outstanding issues, according to Pelosi’s spokesman Drew Hammill. However, Hammill said “distance on key areas remain.” 

The House also may vote Thursday on the Democrat’s $2.2 trillion stimulus package. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY., opposes the bill. 

It has been about two months since many of the key provisions of earlier coronavirus relief deals lapsed, although President Donald Trump took some executive actions in August aimed at offering some assistance, particularly for those who are receiving unemployment benefits. 

The coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S. and despite some signs of economic improvement, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has contended that additional fiscal aid is needed to support the recovery. 

Reed, who was first elected to the House in 2010, said there needs to be a greater sense of urgency on reaching an agreement, especially as the Nov. 3 presidential election now sits just over 30 days away. He said he was not confident that an agreement could be struck after the election. The president signed a bill to keep the government funded through Dec. 11 on Thursday. 

“We need to get through this cliff because we are not going to get a deal, in my humble opinion, on Dec. 11 because the chaos after the election is still going to be there and the animosity between the two sides is going to be greater then than it is now,” Reed said. 

“Now is the time to do the deal, and we just encourage our leadership as well as the folks in the Senate, let’s get this done,” he added. “We don’t know what’s going to happen and don’t bank on the fact that after the election you’re going to be able to get relief to the American people because I don’t see it.” 

CNBC’s Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report. 

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