April 16, 2020
BRUNSWICK, ME – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) was appointed to serve on a task force focused on charting a safe path to re-opening the American economy by President Donald Trump. The bipartisan, bicameral committee will work to determine the best possible plan to re-open the American economy in a way that supports long-term public health and spurs much-needed economic activity. In his below statement, Senator King emphasizes that he will push the committee to put health outcomes first, and make sure that the federal government is making data-driven decisions rather than relying on “an arbitrary date on the calendar”:
“I appreciate the opportunity to serve on this task force, and I’m ready to get to work with the President, his administration, and my colleagues from both parties to chart a path forward that supports America’s economy and public health.
“Everyone – and I mean everyone – wants the country to reopen; seeing the shuttered businesses in towns throughout Maine and across the country is hard, as lives and livelihoods are being forever changed. But the other option is the danger of opening too soon and risking a rebound of the virus.
“When we talk about the toll of this terrible disease, we aren’t just talking about abstract numbers – we’re talking about our parents and our spouses and our children and our loved ones and our friends and our neighbors. We’re talking about our fellow Americans. They are real people, and we need to make their health and safety our first priority as we discuss options to get our economy back to work.
“The insights I offer on this task force will be based on expert advice and the data that we see coming in, not an arbitrary date on the calendar. We need to be able to answer two questions: do we know everything we need to know about this virus, and do we have the infrastructure, equipment, and leadership needed to keep it controlled? Until we can unequivocally answer ‘Yes’ to both of these questions, I believe we act at our own peril, and risk the unkind judgment of history. If we rush the process and we see a second spike in cases, it will be a catastrophic mistake, and we will all pay the price.
“The challenges we face today are unprecedented in recent memory, but they are not insurmountable. By putting politics aside, following the facts, and working together, America will come out the other side. We cannot lose hope – we will get through this, together.”
Other Senators serving on this newly-formed committee include Senators Susan M. Collins (R-Maine), Tom Carper (D-Del.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).