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Reed skirts justice issue, pushes for stimulus

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed is steering clear of the debate involving the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice before the November election following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week.

In a conference call with regional media on Wednesday morning, Reed said he would “defer” to both President Donald Trump and the U.S. Senate regarding the decision.

“What I would encourage is that we look at the qualifications of any of the nominees and it should be the qualifications that drive this decision-making process in my humble opinion,” said the Republican from Corning.

Earlier in the call, Reed praised the historic justice for “her legacy and for what she has done for the country.

“Having talked to her over the years and seen that spark in her eye, even though I disagreed with her on many of her opinions on her interpretation of the Constitution, I respected her just like we all should respect her tenure on the bench.”

Reed also discussed the latest update on the COVID-19 stimulus relief package.

“We want to stay here in Washington, D.C., until we get a COVID package done just like the speaker (Nancy Pelosi) indicated publicly last week,” he said.

Part of the relief package, the congressman said, includes funds for the Paycheck Protection Program, assistance to local governments, child care, agriculture and school aid. But Ginsberg’s death — and the controversial quick push for a successor — could potentially bog down any future deal on a stimulus package.

“We have not lost focus,” he said. “What we’re working on in this office as well as our colleagues who changed the national conversation last week where it was dead on arrival, the COVID-19 package, and we revived it … and we’ll continue to see if we can push that energy and do what’s right for the American people.”

Also on Wednesday, Reed spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives to urge Congress to not turn its back on the American people and the stimulus program. “You have my word that what we would bring up is a bill that will provide immediate relief under the paycheck protection program of $138 billion to our small businesses, our families, and individuals that are suffering in America today.

“We need to start trusting each other again.

“We don’t trust each other in this institution and that is what’s causing the American people to suffer.”

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