Blue Dogs Urge Biden to Prioritize Bipartisan Legislation for Pandemic Response, Recovery

December 30, 2020 by Reece Nations
BACK ROW (LEFT TO RIGHT): Rep. David Scott (GA-13), Rep. Ed Case (HI-01), Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02), Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Rep. Max Rose (NY-11), Rep. Charlie Crist (FL-13), Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16), Rep. Mikie Sherril (NJ-11), Rep. Ben McAdams (UT-04), and Rep. Sanford Bishop (GA-02). FRONT ROW (LEFT TO RIGHT): Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-03), Blue Dog Co-Chair Kurt Schrader (OR-05), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Communications Lou Correa (CA-46), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Administration Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Policy Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Whip Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), Rep. Kendra Horn (OK-05), Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), and Rep. Joe Cunningham (SC-01). NOT PICTURED: Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05), Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Rep. Collin Peterson (MN-07), Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10), and Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05)

WASHINGTON — Members of the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden Tuesday requesting that he “prioritize bipartisan legislation” dealing with novel coronavirus pandemic response and recovery. 

The letter highlighted the coalition’s policy priorities for the 117th Congressional session, including fiscal responsibility, pandemic crisis relief, job creation, government reform and holding “foreign adversaries” accountable, according to the text of the letter. 

“We firmly believe that in order to make lasting progress, Congress must pursue bipartisan policies that can be implemented, while prioritizing those that pertain to the pandemic response and the economic recovery,” the text of the letter read. “The American people have sent a clear message: Democrats and Republicans must govern together responsibly.” 

The letter was signed by all members of Blue Dog Coalition, listed as follows: Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., Lou Correa, D-Calif., Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y., Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., Ed Case, D-Hawaii, Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, Charlie Crist, D-Fla., Jared Golden, D-Maine, Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., Brad Schneider, D-Ill., Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., and Mike Thompson, D-Calif. 

In the letter, the coalition requests that any COVID-19 crisis relief measures signed by Biden contain “stronger oversight measures to ensure taxpayer dollars are going to the right places.” Further, the coalition noted the need for Congress to take measures to reform the redistricting process, strengthen inspectors general, increase federal transparency and incentivize Congress to pass budget and appropriations bills punctually. 

To build upon already-passed coronavirus relief legislation, the coalition requested that any new bills pertaining to pandemic response include “significant investments” in health care, clean energy, education, job training, small businesses, manufacturing and infrastructure in order to sustain middle-class growth in the long-term. 

Additionally, the Blue Dogs’ letter addressed the “unsustainable” fiscal path taken to swiftly address pandemic relief during the 116th Congressional session. The coalition seeks to tackle the ballooning national debt by exclusively pursuing “balanced, bipartisan measures” in any upcoming relief measures. 

“The 117th Congress is going to be narrowly divided, with a slim Democratic majority in the House, and, at best, a narrow Senate majority,” the text of the letter continued. “Our nation faces major challenges as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, and Americans are sick of Congress playing partisan games. Pursuing partisan legislation that cannot make it to your desk for your signature will not only hinder our nation’s recovery, it will further feed into the divides in our country. Now more than ever we must demonstrate to the American people that cooler heads can prevail and that government can indeed work for all Americans.” 

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