Georgia’s two U.S. senators are among more than 50 members of Congress named by President Donald Trump Thursday to a bipartisan task force that will advise him on when and how to reopen the U.S. economy.
Trump already has two advisory groups working to help shape America’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic: the original COVID-19 task force headed by Vice President Mike Pence and a large group of business leaders the president assembled earlier this week.
Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler and 18 other GOP senators will join the new congressional task force, which also will include 12 Senate Democrats and Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.
Both Perdue, a former CEO of Dollar General, and Loeffler, who headed a Bitcoin-focused subsidiary of InterContinental Exchange Inc. before joining the Senate in January, said their business expertise should help in their new roles.
“The COVID-19 crisis and the resulting shutdown of much of our country has taken a serious toll on our economy,” Perdue said. “Even while we are fighting this virus, we need to begin thinking about how to reopen our economy. … Our objective should be to find a balance between keeping people healthy while protecting jobs and the economy long term.”
“With over 22 million Americans already filing for unemployment, it’s critical that we turn to the work we need to do to safely restore the American economy to its full strength,” Loeffler added. “I’m confident that under the leadership of President Trump, and with counsel from this task force, we will be able to safety reengage in a vibrant society that supports our lives and livelihoods.”
The original coronavirus task force Trump appointed in late January has been dominated by public health officials who have at times clashed with the president over whether it’s safe to reopen the U.S. to schools and businesses while the number of Americans contracting COVID-19 and dying from the virus continues to rise, especially when testing still is not widely available.
The new advisory group of business leaders is expected to be more sympathetic toward ending the economic shutdown as soon as possible, at least in parts of the country where the virus has been less widespread.
The congressional task force, featuring both Republicans and Democrats, can be expected to deliver a mixed message to the president.