Cory Gardner faces pressure to deliver on stimulus bill as he touts his coronavirus response in campaign |

Cory Gardner faces pressure to deliver on stimulus bill as he touts his coronavirus response in campaign

Democratic rival John Hickenlooper supports the Democratic-led U.S. House bill and blasts U.S. Senate for taking recess

John Frank and Jesse Paul / Colorado Sun
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner speaks before the groundbreaking on a new research lab at NREL in Golden on Aug. 12, 2020.
Jesse Paul / Colorado Sun

In the first week after the U.S. Senate departed for a weeks-long recess, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner made a series of stops in Aurora to discuss mental health care.

The Yuma Republican highlighted his legislation to create the 988 national suicide hotline and a bill he co-sponsored with U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris — the Democratic nominee for vice president — to address a shortage of mental health workers.

All the while, a stalemate in Washington hung over his head like an anvil: The gridlocked negotiations for another stimulus package to fill gaps in the coronavirus response, address the high unemployment rate, provide money for the U.S. election and start the school year.

Gardner acknowledged the unfinished work but offered few specifics about what he sees as a path forward. “We have to do more,” he said in an interview after the event at the National Mental Health Innovation Center, “and more every minute.”

For Gardner, the political stakes for a stimulus deal are significant and the pressure is mounting. The first-term lawmaker faces reelection challenge in 12 weeks and he’s pinned his campaign in large part on his response to the pandemic and his ability to deliver relief to Colorado in his reelection bid. 

In May, days after the Democratic-led U.S. House approved another aid package, Gardner demanded that the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate take action before recessing for the Memorial Day break. At the time, he called the break “unfathomable,” but three months later, the two parties remain far apart with no agreement in sight.

Democratic rival John Hickenlooper is using the inaction to bludgeon Gardner, saying the delays are “reckless.”

To read the rest of the Colorado Sun article, click here.

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