“I share the concerns that I’m hearing from my constituents: I’m pissed. I’m angry,” said Rep. Max Rose, a freshman Democrat from a New York district Trump carried in 2016. “At this point, it’s a middle finger to the American people.”
“As it stands now, we’ve already failed,” Rep. Ben McAdams, a freshman Democrat from Utah, told CNN this week. “I am frustrated we don’t have an agreement we can vote on already.”
Another freshman, Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota said: “To me, no bill is not an option, and that’s not unique to this voice. I would argue that most members feel the same. The need is too great, the time too short and the risk of not doing so too severe.”
There is a growing sense that something — even if it falls far short of the House’s $3.4 trillion HEROES Act — would go a long way to boost the economy and help them in their reelections in the process. Some Democrats privately raised concerns last week after reports surfaced that the White House had offered $400 a week in unemployment insurance and the Democratic leaders had turned it down.
“I think the HEROES act went too far. It got loaded up with a bunch of political wish list things,” said McAdams, who voted against the Democratic plan, which would have amounted to the largest rescue package in US history. “We have to meet in the middle. We owe it to the American people to meet in the middle.”
Michigan Rep. Haley Stevens, said “Schools and municipalities in my district still need support from their federal government, so I am hoping that a bipartisan deal can come together soon,” said Stevens, whose district Trump carried by just over 17,000 votes four years ago.
“We all have a responsibility to get this done,” said Rep. Tom Malinowski, a freshman Democrat from New Jersey whose district Republicans are targeting in November. “This is not one of those issues that if we don’t get it done … we can argue about it during the election. A lot of people aren’t going to be alive if we don’t get this right now.”
“I expect to be held accountable to what Congress does and doesn’t do. That comes with the territory,” Malinowski said.
“I am not in a position to know (right now) whether a particular negotiating position is the right one. People who are not in the room get nervous because it is taking a while, and that is always the case in a negotiation,” Malinowski said.
“I don’t think the speaker is taking too hard a line,” Phillips said, calling for leaders to see if they could rely on bipartisan groups like the so-called Problem Solvers Caucus to find a way out of the impasse. “We’re terribly disappointed in the breakdown and yet not surprised.”
Rose, the New York Democrat who backed the House Democrats’ relief bill in May, faulted both sides in their handling of the talks so far.
“Nobody has handled this well. “My suggestion is kick out the advisers … lock yourselves in a room and don’t leave the room until there’s a deal suitable to the American people,” Rose said. “And if people didn’t vote for you, get the f— out of the room.”
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