Kilmer, Murphy Among Those Named to White House Task Force on Rebuilding American Economy

April 16, 2020 by Dan McCue
Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., at a recent meeting of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – Reps Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., and Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., are among the bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers named to a White House panel tasked with counseling the White House on when and how to get the economy moving again in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The White House is expected to announce an outline of a plan to lift restrictions and restart the economy Thursday afternoon.

However the details of how the restart will work are far from worked out.

President Donald Trump and many of his conservative allies have been pushing for a faster lifting of stay-at-home orders and reopening of so-called “non-essential businesses,” maintaining that the economic ramifications of those moves may have been worse than the threat posed by the virus.

Public health officials and many governors, however, are advocating for a more gradual approach to getting businesses open and people back to work, fearing that moving too quickly will only cause the coronavirus to spread with renewed fury.

“While I disagree with the President on a vast array of issues, my job is to put politics aside and advocate for my constituents,” Murphy said of her inclusion on the panel. 

“So when the president of the United States asked me to help guide our nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, I wanted to make sure Central Florida had a seat at the table,” she said. “I’ll use this opportunity to inform the president about the unique economic conditions facing Central Florida and then work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to ensure our response prioritizes working families and struggling businesses, especially small businesses. 

“I’ll also keep holding this administration accountable for any mismanagement or delay in getting aid to Central Florida families, and I’ll work tirelessly with both parties to ensure our country emerges from this pandemic with an economy that is stronger and more resilient,” Murphy added.

“Folks in our neck of the woods are really hurting,” Rep. Kilmer said. 

“While I am deeply concerned about many of the decisions made by the President during the coronavirus pandemic — and there are certainly no guarantees this task force will be adequately empowered to right the ship — I came to Congress to create economic opportunity for the folks I represent,” he said. “In the face of the most significant economic disruption since the Great Depression, I will work with anyone to try and get things moving in the right direction to save lives and restart our economy.” 

In addition to Kilmer and Murphy, chairs, respectively, of the New Democrat and Blue Dog Coalitions, the other House Democrats on the task force are Reps. Henry Cuellar of Texas, Ted Deutch of Florida, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, Ro Khanna of California, John Larson of Connecticut, Jimmy Panetta of California, and Tom Suozzi of New York.

The House Republicans who received invitations to join the task force include Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, and Greg Walden of Oregon.

Senate Democrats invited to join the task force include Minority Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Thomas Carper of Delaware, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Dianne Feinstein of California, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Jacky Rosen of Nevada, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, has also been asked to join them on the panel.

Republican Senators asked to be on the task force include Health, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, along with Joni Ernst of Iowa, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Mike Braun of Indiana, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, John Cornyn of Texas, John Barrasso of Wyoming and Rob Portman of Ohio.

The lawmakers named to the task force are expected to speak with President Donald Trump by phone on Thursday.

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