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Americans for Prosperity Calls for Swift, Targeted Relief in Face of COVID-19 Pandemic

Mar 19, 2020 by AFP

Arlington, VA – CEO of Americans for Prosperity Emily Seidel issued the following statement in response to the Phase III relief proposal circulated by the Administration:

“Americans are living in the midst of an unprecedented health and economic crisis. Government’s appropriate action to protect the public health and stem the spread of COVID-19 is resulting in economic hardship that now requires government action to relieve those hit hardest.”

It is imperative that this action be timely, temporary, and targeted to those who have been harmed.

Some elements of the administration’s current proposal meet this standard. They show promise for swift, targeted assistance to those who have suffered from the response to COVID-19. These include:

  • Direct cash assistance is the fastest stopgap to ensure citizens trying to make ends meet have immediate certainty for their families.
  • Government-secured loans to businesses of any size that use those funds to protect employees’ pay, granted to businesses impacted through no fault of their own, can serve as an appropriate and responsible bridge until the economy starts moving again and repayment occurs.

However, Americans for Prosperity encourages President Trump and Congress to simplify the proposed approach. 

The greater the complexity, the longer it will take for the funds to reach those who have been harmed and the greater the risk of abuse by special interests.

  • Instead of multiple loan programs for different types of businesses and bailouts for individual industries (e.g., airlines), lawmakers should pursue one limited secured loan fund with eligibility standards that ensure that applicant businesses demonstrate essential need, proof of economic injury causally tied to the COVID-19 crisis, and commitment to use resources to maintain their workforce as a condition of receipt.

These funds should not be used to bailout shareholders or to reward favored industries. Their purpose is to remedy the injury caused to the people of the United States who have endured harm in the name of preserving the public health.

  • Any policy proposal not explicitly in response to the harm endured by the response to COVID-19 should be excluded from this legislation.

    Lawmakers should not exploit this crisis to push their own special interests’ policy agendas.  Americans for Prosperity stands ready to hold accountable politicians who put their pet projects above the interest of the people in need.  The middle of a health crisis is no time for legislative poison pills.

While government action is now required, our nation would be in a far better position to respond to this crisis now if we had not been so fiscally reckless for the past two decades. We will undoubtedly face future crises that require extraordinary action. The way we structure these and any other relief programs should take the fiscal implications into account. It has direct implications for our ability to effectively respond throughout this crisis and in the future.”