A bipartisan effort to break the gridlock on a COVID-19 relief package demonstrates that Congress can find common ground despite partisan disagreements, Rep. Tom Reed said during a media call Thursday.

Reed, who represents the 23rd congressional district, which includes the Greater Olean area, was referring to the March to Common Ground, which was developed by the Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans in Congress. Reed, a Republican, and Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat from New Jersey, chair the group.

“You can be a proud Republican or a proud Democrat, but when you work together good things can happen,” Reed said.

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The March to Common Ground calls for new stimulus money and the reallocation of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds. The proposal includes funds for unemployment compensation, stimulus checks, state and local aid, childcare and education.

Reed said the bipartisan effort serves as an example to congressional leadership that reaching an agreement is possible.

“Most importantly to send a message to our leadership in the House, the Senate and the White House that we need them to get back in the room and finish up negotiations to deliver real relief,” he said.

According to Reed, the proposal has received positive feedback from the Senate and the White House.

“We were able to deliver a game changing product that jump started the conversation here in D.C.,” he said. “We are very optimistic that this is working,” Reed said.

During the call, Reed said his campaign plans to schedule a debate with Tracy Mitrano, his Democratic opponent for the 23rd District Congressional seat. Mitrano has been critical of Reed since he has not yet committed to a debate.

“We are going to be doing a debate; that is not a question,” Reed said. “It’s just the when and where those debates will occur.”

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