The outbreak of COVID19 is not unprecedented. Over the last millennia, Spanish Flu ravaged the world in the early 1900’s and the Poliovirus had a horrible impact in the mid 1900’s. However, since that time there have been vast developments in areas of travel, personal communication, news broadcasting, and others that can accelerate transmission of the virus, and how the problem is perceived. And there is one facet of COVID19 which creates a particularly unique circumstance for lawmakers like myself.
For the first time in U.S. history, government is requiring the shut-down of about 30% of the American economy. While the attempt to “flatten the outbreak curve” and prevent overwhelming hospitals are vital reasons for this action, the fact is many hard-working Americans are being required by law to stop earning a living.
I, like most Idahoans, am conservative in philosophy. I grew up relying on God, my family, and our land. As a legislator, promoting government stimulus programs (and the resulting debt) goes against my nature.
However, if government prevents Americans from making a living, it also has an obligation to set an economic landscape so that Americans can recover and prosper. The uniqueness and urgency of this situation calls for action. In fact, at this point, the cost of in-action would certainly be far greater than the cost of the stimulus program supported by the President.
As is currently being demonstrated by Republicans, we are working hard to make sure this legislative package is not a series of “bailouts,” but rather it is targeted where it should be, toward individuals, families, and businesses. And I support components that will help companies bring back their quarantined employees, stop doing layoffs or outsourcing, and require large corporations to repay their loans.
Unfortunately, Democrat leadership has chosen this time to delay aid to Americans in an attempt to advance their liberal policies by demanding provisions that have nothing to do with the COVID19 fight. Things like federalizing elections, undermining states’ “right to work” laws, funding the Paris climate accord, and increasing fuel emission standards. In other words, they’re trying to make it so that the “cure” could be worse than the problem.
COVID19 is our invisible enemy and it is here. The virus can make us sick but the vast majority of us will survive that. What we are trying to prevent is the spreading of fear itself, which can kill us in another way and have an even longer term impact… by dramatically changing the American way of life, society, and the ability to prosper and control our own destiny. Further delays, or inclusion of endless spending on programs not pertinent to the COVID19 battle, only increase the threat to our health, economy, and future generations.
We need to fight this as if we are in a war. Especially right now, there is no place for partisan politics.