Washington—Heritage Action released the following statement from Vice President Jessica Anderson in response to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which is currently being considered in the Senate.
As the Senate considers the House-passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Senators have an opportunity to improve the bill to help our nation quickly recover from this crisis. As they move forward, they should fix certain elements of the House bill while refraining from adding massive, fiscally unwise stimulus proposals.
First, the Senate should expand the tax credit to apply to all workers who cannot reasonably work from home in an epidemic area or whose place of employment was shut down or significantly impacted by a government order or recommendation. Businesses with over 500 employees should be eligible for the tax credit and not be exempt as they are in the House passed bill.
Second, businesses need cash flow to compensate for the loss of revenue right now, but Congress should not add hundreds of billions to our long-term debt through direct payments, “bailouts,” or a payroll tax holiday. Instead, any economic relief should be focused on the industries most impacted by the virus, like the airlines and hospitality sector. There are conservative alternatives to an industry bailout that would help businesses have access to money. For instance, the federal government, as one of our nation’s largest consumers, could speed up its timeline for purchases by offering to purchase services now at a discounted rate and use the services later when needed. Additionally, Congress should consider helping businesses by allowing income taxes to be smoothed over the business cycle while delaying payments. Instead of handing out cash, Congress can adopt these measures to help industries and taxpayers at the same time.
Congress should address the economic fallout of the coronavirus epidemic with specific, temporary reforms directed at aiding public health efforts. It should not increase spending permanently, and it should not bail out politically connected industries at the expense of the American taxpayer when there are other alternatives on the table.