Blue Dog Coalition Policy Task Forces Release Recommendations for COVID-19 Pandemic Response
WASHINGTON—Today, the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition released its policy recommendations for both Congress and the Trump Administration to consider as they continue to respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The recommendations were developed within the policy parameters of the Blue Dog Coalition’s five policy task forces: 1) Task Force on Economic Growth, 2) Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility and Government Reform, 3) Task Force on Infrastructure and Job Creation, 4) Task Force on National Security, and 5) Task Force on Rural Opportunity.
The recommendations include measures to protect as many jobs as possible while also giving businesses of all sizes the resources they need to stay afloat. Additionally, the Blue Dogs called for increased support for rural and tribal areas that particularly lack the resources to respond to both the public health threat and the changing economic dynamics. This includes measures to ensure rural communities have access to broadband and online learning, as well as critical resources for rural health facilities. With Congress on the verge of spending trillions of dollars, the Blue Dogs recommend including oversight measures to ensure taxpayer dollars are not misused.
Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed clear national security vulnerabilities, including the amount of vacancies within the Trump Administration in key policy positions. As part of their recommendations, the Blue Dogs called on the Trump Administration to immediately fill key positions in federal agencies and departments that are critical to pandemic prevention and response, including the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary or Preparedness and Response, and the disbanded Pandemic Unit within the National Security Council.
Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), the Blue Dog Coalition’s Co-Chair for Policy, issued the following statement:
“The coronavirus pandemic has become a national public health and economic crisis. Partisan proposals will do nothing to contain the spread of this virus or deliver peace of mind to the American people. With the lives and livelihoods of working families on the line, both parties must do all that they can to work together to reach bipartisan, bicameral agreement on policies going forward. The administration must work directly with states and serve as a focal point from which governors and state officials can draw communications plans, educational outreach materials, and recommended logistics, not to mention physical supplies and direct aid. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Blue Dog Coalition’s policy task forces to hold the administration accountable during this time and put forward proposals that will deliver results quickly.”