Gardner Walks Away From COVID-19 Negotiations — Again — 160 Days After Calling it “Unfathomable” to Do So
Nearly three months after federal enhanced unemployment benefits and eviction moratoriums expired, five months after the House passed the HEROES Act, and as COVID-19 cases spike again, Senator Cory Gardner has once again chosen to walk away from COVID-19 relief negotiations at the expense of Coloradans. In May, Senator Gardner said it was “unfathomable” to go on recess without passing COVID relief, yet that’s exactly what they’ve done, multiple times. Months later, Senator Gardner has failed to deliver any additional COVID relief while instead finding time to ram through President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee in just 30 days.
“Months ago Senator Cory Gardner said it was ‘unfathomable’ for Congress to head out on recess while millions of Americans struggled in the face of COVID-19, but that’s exactly what he did — yet again,” said John Hickenlooper. “Yesterday’s vote shows that they could’ve very well gotten the job done — in thirty days, Senate Republicans were able to ram through a nominee for the highest court in the land, a nominee who will likely gut protections for 2.4 million Coloradans with pre-existing conditions, yet over five months later we still don’t have a deal in sight for COVID relief. Washington is broken, and every Coloradan needs to get out and vote to change it.”
In a debate earlier this month, Hickenlooper called on Senator Gardner to stand up to McConnell and refuse to vote on a Supreme Court nominee until COVID relief is negotiated and passed. But Senator Gardner stayed silent — even when McConnell deliberately tanked negotiations — and instead supported McConnell’s latest partisan stunt that would slash emergency unemployment benefits, shortchange aid to state and local governments, and fail to include direct relief payments to Coloradans or housing assistance.
Meanwhile, local governments continue to navigate massive budget shortfalls, while trying to provide critical services. In Aurora, Republican Mayor Mike Coffman and Congressman Jason Crow wrote back in April, “This funding is necessary to rebuild our roads and maintain our parks, pay the salaries of our teachers and first responders, and provide critical resources for our students and health departments. Already, our city has been forced to furlough 576 employees who do the essential work of serving our community. Without further funding from Congress, Aurora and cities across the U.S. will be forced to cut even more critical services and employees.”
In September, Hickenlooper released his COVID-19 economic relief plan that called for providing immediate relief for Colorado families suffering from the economic crisis, ending tax giveaways to corporations, addressing systemic racism by investing in education, affordable housing, and minority-owned small businesses, and creating a national apprenticeship program. You can read the plan here.