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ICYMI: It’s Time for Congress to Get Its Act Together on COVID-19

Sep 15, 2020 by AFP

Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips | RealClearPolicy

As part of my job, I’ve been traveling the country — responsibly — for months, talking with Americans. And the thing I’m hearing most is: How do we get things back to normal?

Six months into this unprecedented crisis, communities across our nation continue to weather extremely high unemployment claims and an economy that’s in recession. The pain of businesses and those who can’t find work is real and lasting. Though states have begun to reopen, businesses are getting back on their feet, and people are getting their jobs back, it’s not happening as quickly as they’d like. Elected officials at every level must recognize the importance of working with businesses and experts to responsibly and safely reopen our economy. Truck drivers, grocery store workers, and the people who have helped keep essential services open throughout this crisis are heroes. The ingenuity and resilience of Americans has brought us through tough challenges before, and we should embrace our ability to adapt and innovate to overcome this one.

People are looking for leadership from Washington. Instead, with a few notable exceptions, they are getting finger pointing, partisan gamesmanship, and a legislative debate dominated by arguments over the price tag of competing bills, as if money alone can solve the problem, instead of actual solutions.

Even the Senate’s “skinny” relief bill, which was more “targeted” than any of its predecessors, continues to focus on the wrong things.

Now that the Senate measure has failed to move forward, Congress should shift its focus to solutions that actually help us emerge from — not merely endure — this crisis.

That means getting people back to work and finding ways to help our economy reopen more quickly and safely.

Congress can start by clearing the way for individuals, communities, and businesses to adapt, innovate, and meet the needs of the new environment they will be returning to.

Congress can do all this through targeted legislation that can be evaluated on whether it accomplishes what it sets out to accomplish and is less prone to being packed with special interest projects.

Congress is right to work with urgency, but it must listen to the concerns of its constituents. They want their lives back. Rather than throwing money at the problem indiscriminately, lawmakers should double-down on the steps that have already proven successful, get people back to work, and lay the groundwork for us to emerge from this pandemic stronger and with more confidence than before.

Click here to read the full op-ed.