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As the vaccine distribution plan makes steady gains in fighting COVID-19, Americans must now find innovative solutions to help the country recover stronger from the economic pain wrought by the pandemic.
Americans for Prosperity Deputy Director of Government Affairs Thomas Fletcher met with AFP President Tim Phillips, Stand Together Vice President of Economic Opportunity Akash Chougule, and policy fellow Clint Woods met Jan. 29 to discuss what some of those reforms could look like.
Phillips began this policy series on economic opportunity — part of the Save Lives, Save Livelihoods campaign — by laying out the conditions Congress will face in crafting these solutions. He noted that, while trust in our institutions is low, and polarization is high, Americans are also much more civically engaged than before.
This presents an area of opportunity, Phillips said, because it means people are paying attention.
He added that the new administration will need to rely on compromise and bipartisan input to press the vital reforms needed to recover.
“The biggest question facing the new administration in these first 100 days, it’s simple: Do President Biden and his team want to seek bipartisanship on key issues … or are they going to swing for the fences and go for a partisan blowout?” he asked.
Woods listed some potential challenges to meaningful bipartisan solutions, cautioning that the overuse of executive orders, too little deference to Congress, and top-down rule from agencies could derail efforts to reach across the aisle.
“Congress has delegated virtually all lawmaking authority to the White House,” Woods said. “And in many ways, I think, one of the new trends is a shift from agency-led efforts — under limited delegated authority that Congress has given to agencies to carry out various regulatory statutes — [to the] White House.”
To emerge from this pandemic, Congress must lead the way, Chougule said. He recommended four areas on which lawmakers should focus:
Phillips expressed optimism that Congress can stick to these priorities.
“When you think about recovering faster, trying to get this economy going again, there are some opportunities — again, on practical, common-sense things that the federal government could do — to speed this recovery,” he said.
“We’re hopeful, we’re pushing for it,” he said. “This is not some pie-in-the-sky, feel-good thing we’re talking about.”
Lawmakers will need your input to pursue these important reforms. Contact your elected officials and tell them we need to adopt these reforms to save lives and emerge even stronger than before the pandemic.