Coronavirus relief package is no. 1 priority, not campaigning: Bipartisan group

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It’s been almost six months since Congress approved the first stimulus checks. Since then, there have been only empty talks of giving stimulus payments to Americans. Lately, there are reports that members of Congress could go on break without passing another round of direct payments. To avoid this, a bipartisan group has asked the House leaders to keep the members of Congress in Washington until there is a deal on the coronavirus relief package and stimulus checks.

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Why is it important for lawmakers to stay?

The House is scheduled to go on recess from the first week of October so that the members can return to their districts for the election campaign work. In a letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a bipartisan group of legislators stressed the importance of remaining in Washington until a deal is reached.

“We strongly believe that until the House has successfully sent new, bipartisan COVID-19 relief legislation to the Senate, our place of duty remains here in the People’s House,” the letter says.

In the letter, the group of 34 Democratic and Republican representatives, said it is their responsibility to stay “at the table until we have delivered the relief they so desperately need.”

Further, the group urged the lawmakers to “set aside electoral politics” and give priority to the “needs of the country before any one region, faction or political party." The bipartisan group reminded the members that their constituents would not want them to be campaigning at a time when they are struggling to meet their financial needs.

Coronavirus relief package is ‘number one priority’: bipartisan group

Last week, Pelosi already announced that the House would stay until there is a deal. "We are committed to staying here until we have an agreement, an agreement that meets the needs of the American people,” Pelosi told CNBC.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, however, expects most lawmakers to return to their districts at the scheduled recess, i.e. October 2. But, he believes the members would be called back, in case there is a deal.

"It tells members, 'Look, we know the election's coming up, we know you want to go back and campaign. But understand this is a priority,'" Hoyer said, according to NewsWeek.

The letter from the bipartisan group notes that another round of coronavirus relief package and stimulus checks is not just a priority, rather the "number one priority." Thus, it is important that Pelosi and McCarthy keep the house in session.

This is not the first attempt by a bipartisan group to push the lawmakers to negotiate on the coronavirus relief package. Early last week, another bipartisan group introduced a coronavirus relief package, which included stimulus checks, costing about $1.5 trillion.

Though the White House expressed support for this proposal, Democrats rejected it arguing that it is not enough to meet the needs of Americans.