Political talks can open with a flurry of optimism, then enter a period of stolid routine and finally creep into a petrified forest of indecision or outright stonewalling.
That’s the cycle faced by U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-19, who once again urged federal leaders Wednesday to reach a compromise on a COVID-19 relief package before the holiday in his first town hall since his re-election.
Things have changed considerably since March. Bipartisan lawmakers in the House and Senate have proposed a $908 billion COVID aid bill last week, but they have remained at an impasse for months even while negotiating a supplemental coronavirus relief package.
In May, House Democrats passed a $3 trillion federal HEROES Act coronavirus relief package, and then passed a modified $2.2 trillion version in October.
Delgado’s colleagues need to hear that Congress’ inability to do anything to account for in months is a disgrace, it’s sad and Americans are reaching a boiling point. They need to hear that if Congress can’t step up and get an agreement worked out, now, when it should have been done weeks or months ago, then what will Americans who are hurting and struggling think?
Meanwhile, negotiations continue as the Senate, House and White House have each proposed a stimulus plan. But even that might be bad news.
It’s encouraging that Congress and the White House have something to discuss even if they are not necessarily on the same page.
“Everyone is working on trying to marry the different proposals together, so I’m encouraged by the fact that everybody’s engaged,” Delgado said Wednesday in an interview. “I think everybody’s engaged because they know it would be incredibly shameful for us to go the rest of this year without getting a deal done.”
The House, Senate and White House are typically reluctant to openly embrace each other’s political ideologies. But the effort has to be made as more Americans become sick, more Americans die and more Americans lose their jobs and businesses. All parties must at least recognize that this is an urgent task that needs to be done.