White House selects Ted Deutch, Stephanie Murphy for congressional panel on reopening economy

USA flag fist fighting off coronavius disease
The birpartisan group includes dozens of House and Senate members.

The White House has named U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch and Stephanie Murphy — both Democrats — to a bipartisan panel of congressional members set to advise the White House on reopening the economy.

The federal government does not have the power to make sure a move on its own. Rather, that decision will be left up to state and local governments.

But the feds can give suggestions to localities on how best to move forward regarding the novel coraonvirus outbreak. President Donald Trump’s social distancing guidelines have largely been adopted in various forms by state and municipal officials.

The White House group will include dozens of congressional members from both the House and Senate. The committee will be bipartisan, with Deutch and Murphy making up a portion of House Democrats appointed to the panel.

Deutch released a statement Thursday, noting he had accepted the appointment.

“Communities across the country are reeling from the devastating impact of this public health emergency,” Deutch said.

“Millions have lost their jobs, small businesses are struggling or shuttering, thousands of cities will face massive budget shortfalls. For my unemployed constituents and the small business owners in my district, the economic toll is disastrous. The lasting impact of this pandemic will be wide and deep and extend for years.”

Widespread social distancing guidelines have been established to help cut down on human interaction and thus stem the spread of the virus.

But those restrictions have also taken an economic toll and left many Americans out of work. New unemployment numbers Thursday showed 181,000 new filings in Florida in the past week. Nationwide, about 22 million have filed for unemployment in the past four weeks.

Though the impact on the economy has been significant, Deutch argued the decision of whether to relax social distancing guidelines should be primarily driven by health concerns.

“Throughout this crisis, I have maintained that science must inform our decisions and public health experts must drive our policies,” Deutch said.

“Social distancing and safer-at-home policies have proven effective to flatten the curve, thereby protecting the most vulnerable among us and slowing the rate of new patients in hospitals. But we aren’t out of the woods yet, and we must not lift current safety guidelines prematurely or be afraid to reimpose them if necessary to keep our country safe.”

But while it’s unclear when exactly Florida and the rest of the nation can safely return to a sense of normalcy, Deutch agreed officials should start planning for that time.

“Now is the time to prepare an economic recovery plan to restart the great engine of the American economy,” Deutch said.

“This timeline for reopening our economy must be tied to benchmarks backed by public health data; the health of our communities must be paramount. We all look forward to the day when businesses can reopen, workers go back to their jobs or find new opportunities, schools and community centers will resume, and our lives can return to some semblance of normalcy.”

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


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