Heritage Coronavirus Commission Unveils Almost 200 Suggestions for Policymakers. Here are the Highlights.

Posted: May 06, 2020 12:00 PM
Heritage Coronavirus Commission Unveils Almost 200 Suggestions for Policymakers. Here are the Highlights.

Source: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

The Heritage Foundation's National Coronavirus Recovery Commission, made up of 17 experts with experience in government, public health, disaster response and relief, academia and education, business, and the faith community, has completed its list of recommendations for national policymakers as they begin the process of reopening the country. 

"The National Coronavirus Recovery Commission will help shape the work of decision-makers at the highest levels of government and inform the public about the policies that should be implemented for navigating toward the recovery and restoration from the COVID-19 pandemic," their mission statement reads.

The commission released a list of 179 specific recommendations this week. Listed below are a few of the more pressing suggestions the commission highlighted in a press release, many of which emphasize deregulation.

  • Governors should promptly allow all medical offices to reopen, augment hospital capacity only where needed, and remove government barriers to a more flexible health care workforce.
  • President Trump should require deregulatory plans from the FDA, CDC, EPA, and other relevant regulatory bodies within 30 days to help with fast-track approval for disinfectants, therapeutics, and vaccines.
  • President Trump should task health agencies with developing plans for innovative ways to rapidly deploy coronavirus therapeutics and vaccines in a highly efficient and effective manner across the country.
  • Lawmakers in Congress should provide legal immunity to private actors that have taken reasonable steps to ensure the safety of health-related products and services connected to the pandemic.
  • The Trump administration should rescind the Section 201, Section 232, and Section 301 tariffs that it has imposed over the past two years to increase trade freedom in our economic recovery.
  • Governors should waive transportation and logistical barriers that hamper the domestic and international distribution of food and agricultural products.
  • The U.S. State Department should counter Chinese incentives and pressures that influence international organizations, including the World Health Organization.
  • The Department of Commerce should evaluate concerns over drug sourcing from China and quality control independently of the COVID-19.
  • America’s thought leaders should investigate and communicate how freedom has shaped America’s response to the coronavirus and its economic effects in contrast to the way that authoritarian regimes like China have responded.
  • Private technology companies should continue their voluntary efforts to work together to develop better digital contact-tracing tools.

In a call with reporters on Wednesday, Paul Winfree and Charmaine Yoest, executive directors of the commission, explained that state and local governments "need to take the lead" and reopening the country can't be a one size fits all approach.

Yoest noted that the bulk of coronavirus cases and deaths are concentrated in ten states, meaning there's "a disparate impact across our very large country." Different localities, she said, need to have different responses. 

National Coronavirus Recovery Commission Chairman Kay C. James, president of The Heritage Foundation, explained that we need to focus on both saving lives and saving the economy. 

“Saving Americans’ lives and livelihoods go hand in hand," James said. "Treating these objectives as an either-or—when they are deeply intertwined—all but ensures failure to protect both,”James said.“It's time to move expeditiously toward reopening America while taking proper precautions. Policymakers must also consider reforms that expand our knowledge of the virus, speed up solutions, enable strategic engagement with the rest of the world in trade and travel, and leverage economic freedom for a stronger recovery.”

You can see the whole list of commissioners here, and the entire list of recommendations here.

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