U.S. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine’s 2nd District and a bipartisan group of representatives — some of whom are in targeted 2020 races — signed a Tuesday letter urging Democratic leaders to send a new coronavirus relief package to the Senate.
The first-term Democrat from Maine joined two Republicans and another Democrat led a letter signed by 34 other members, including several Democrats and some Republicans, saying they “strongly believe” they should remain in session until a package is passed.”
Golden voted against House Democrats’ $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill in May, saying it was too large and partisan to succeed. It has not been addressed in the Senate, where Republicans there floated a much narrower bill blocked by Democrats. The pending fight over a Supreme Court nomination in the Senate makes a pre-election deal less likely.
Moderate Democrats have been pushing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California to broker a deal before a scheduled adjournment on Oct. 2. Under the current schedule, representatives will not have to be in Washington from then through Nov. 16, nearly two weeks after Election Day.
The Golden-led letter insists that campaigning is the last thing members should be focusing on, citing school reopening challenges and steep shortfalls in local and state budgets.
“Our constituents’ expectations in the midst of this crisis are that we not only rise to the occasion and stay at the table until we have delivered the relief they so desperately need, but also that we set aside electoral politics and place the needs of the country before any one region, faction, or political party,” the letter reads.
Several of the members who signed the letter are centrists in some of the most competitive races of the 2020 cycle, according to Cook Political Report. Golden’s race with former state Rep. Dale Crafts, a Republican, was expected to be close in a district won by President Donald Trump by 10 points in 2016, but the Democrat has held a strong polling lead so far.