“The key is to keep moving forward and try to get back to normalcy as much as possible.”

By on April 24, 2020 in Featured News, News

Reed Lays out Plan to Reopen the Country in a Way that will Keep Americans Safe & Secure

WASHINGTON, DC — As the United States continues its battle against COVID-19, The Ripon Society and Franklin Center hosted a virtual discussion this past Wednesday with one of the leaders in the effort to defeat the virus and get Americans back to work — U.S. Rep. Tom Reed of New York.

Reed — pictured above with U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) in July of 2017 — has represented the 23rd District of the Empire State since 2013. Along with Gottheimer, he serves as Co-Chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of about 50 Republican and Democratic members of the House who are working to bridge the partisan divide and find common ground on some of the most pressing challenges facing America.

Today, there is no more pressing challenge than fighting the coronavirus, and Reed kicked off his remarks on Wednesday by outlining the efforts of the Problem Solvers in this regard.

“We’re having regular meetings with our 50 House members,” he revealed, adding that “10 to 14 Senators are participating with us on a regular basis, as well.” Reed stated that one of the byproducts of these discussions has been a Back to Work Checklist,” a plan that was released by the Problem Solvers earlier this week and outlines what needs to be done to reopen the country.

“A regional approach to get America back up and running again is at the heart of our proposal,” Reed said. “This approach is based on social distancing, respecting the virus, and making sure that we’re on point with regard to capacity and testing — whether it is the surge capacity of our health care system or the diagnostic and serological testing that will have to rapidly be deployed so we have a good gauge not only on where the hotspots may be, but where herd immunity may have taken hold in our communities.

“The key is to keep moving forward and try to get back to normalcy as much as possible. That’s what this Back to Work Checklist is intended to do.”

Reed is shown here on April 22 visiting the Food Bank of the Southern Tier in Elmira, where he helped distribute assistance to area residents.

Following his opening remarks, Reed took a number of questions, including one about the pandemic and whether — given the politics of the moment — the crisis will be used to bring people together or drive people apart.

“I’m an eternal optimist,” he declared. “I hope it brings the country together. If you look at what we did in Phase 1, 2, 3, and now 3.5, there were large bipartisan votes. Moving $2.7 trillion by unanimous consent is just mind boggling to me. But I think we’re coming to the end of that pathway for purposes of political partisanship.

“You have got to remember we have a presidential election in November, and we have got the Senate and House that are in play, as well. I think there’s going to be a tremendous amount of partisanship going into Phase 4, and I’m already seeing both sides starting to engage in it. At the end of the day, I don’t think that’s a wise political path to take in my opinion.

“It harms more Americans than it helps, and it will get people to be further disenfranchised and cynical of Congress. I think the American people are going to say it’s a pox on everyone’s house. The American people are going to just completely reject that and we’ll all be held accountable – both sides of the aisle.”

Reed was also asked his thoughts about how the crisis is being handled by Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill and whether rank and file members believe they have a say in how the crisis is being addressed.

“There is no communication,” Reed stated. “And that’s on both sides. Everything is being presented as fait accompli and there is no discussion – at a time when trillions of dollars worth of decisions are being made.

“Obviously, they’re doing conference calls, they’re giving briefings, and things like that — which is good. They’ve done a pretty good job about sharing information one-way. But remember — information sharing requires both talking and listening. Right now, there really is only one-way delivery going on. That’s very problematic, and it’s going to cause consternation.

“Things that you think are going to be done deals are going to blow up very quickly. Members are getting very anxious, let’s put it that way, and also very angry that their voice is not being heard in this conversation.”

As a follow-up, Reed was also asked for his thoughts on the prospect of remote voting and the possibility that members of Congress may be permitted to debate and consider legislation without being in town.

“I think the committees are going to lead the way,” he stated. “The committees will set the stage because they will show members that this isn’t something to be afraid of. Technology is not a bad thing. You can actually do these things, and the committees will force them to go through the educational curve before you go prime time on the floor of the House of Representatives.”

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.

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