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Americans for Prosperity Press Release

AFP, CVA, LIBRE to Congress: COVID-19 Response Should be Targeted, Temporary, and Free from Politics

Mar 17, 2020 by AFP

Arlington, VA – Today, Americans for Prosperity, Concerned Veterans for America, and The LIBRE Initiative delivered a letter to Congress expressing a readiness to support efforts to coordinate an effective response to the spread of COVID-19 and the threats to the economy, while warning against any attempts to exploit the current crisis to advance a political agenda.

In the letter AFP Chief Government Affairs Office Brent Gardner, CVA Executive Director Nate Anderson, and The LIBRE Initiative President Daniel Garza write the following:

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, and Leader Schumer,

We appreciate the challenges faced by policymakers in addressing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and stand ready to support efforts by Congress and the administration to coordinate an effective response to the virus, as well as efforts to protect our most vulnerable citizens and assist businesses in working through the disruptions and challenges that containment and mitigation measures continue to present.

As policymakers consider measures to control the spread of the Coronavirus and ameliorate its impacts, it is imperative that the policies put into place do not cause more problems than they solve. We are troubled by recent calls to provide expansive, taxpayer-backed industry bailouts that extend far beyond any concrete and particularized injury resulting from the coronavirus.  We are equally troubled by special interest attempts to exploit the current crisis to make controversial, long-term policy changes for their own gain and with far-reaching negative implications for the American people.

We therefore urge Congress and the White House to ensure that any response to the current crisis be guided by the following criteria, which will help focus the relief on the people who need it now and ensure our nation is able to address our current challenges and be stronger when the crisis passes.

First, any fiscal response or emergency policy changes should be temporary in nature and be closely tied to the impact and duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is a time to deliver swift and targeted relief to those who need it, not to address long term policy goals.

Second, such responses should be limited in scope. That is to say, federal lawmakers should avoid approving measures that inappropriately usurp the roles that can be more effectively played by state and local governments, the private sector, and our communities.

Third, any emergency legislation policymakers consider should include measures to avoid making the already unsustainable fiscal situation in our country even worse, including a commitment to reprioritize current spending to higher impact activities or by responsibly offsetting spending increases over the long term.

Finally, and perhaps paramount, Congress and the administration should reject proposals that include taxpayer-financed bailouts that go beyond the above criteria. Congress should not use this crisis to reward well-connected businesses at the expense of those most in need. Any potential relief to address the disruptions caused by the response to health and safety concerns must be narrowly targeted to the impact of COVID-19, and should conform to the above. The American people require responsible action at this time of crisis, and we stand ready to help.

The millions of voices we represent across the country are united in support of the efforts to stop the spread of this virus and address the threats to our economy. But we join our activists in urging you to avoid actions that will not directly help those who have suffered, hinder our nation’s long-term economic recovery, or enable special interests to leverage the crisis for their own gain as they have in previous crises. Energy and resources must be urgently focused on helping the people who need it. This is not a time for politics or to allow the need for action to be exploited to push partisan or special interest agendas.

We hope you will consider these principles as you continue your important work on behalf of the public health, safety and economic security of the American people.