Five Democratic senators intend to create a commission that will determine how to begin normalizing daily life, setting standards for opening schools, places of worship, and businesses that have been shut due to the pandemic.
The senators on Monday introduced a bill that lays out their plans for establishing a task force called “the America Forward Commission.” Its main purpose would be to develop strategies for reopening the various sectors of the economy while mitigating the spread of the CCP virus.
“Reopening communities, schools, and businesses following a pandemic is a serious public health matter, and we should treat it that way. Independent experts should be the ones helping us determine how we can reopen the country when it is safe to do so,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), said in a statement.
Schatz is joined by Senators Kamala Harris (Calif.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Michael Bennet (Colo.) and Chris Murphy (Conn.) in creating the national commission.
President Trump has been eager to reopen businesses and get the economy back on track. He has been heeding the advice of experts that have said to be cautious about normalizing social interactions so as to avoid a second wave of infections.
Last week President Trump announced a second task force, the “Opening Our Country” council, the details of which he said would be introduced soon. Trump’s council will include a group of experts tasked with advising the President on the best course to opening the economy in phases.
“We’re also setting up a council of very, very great doctors and business people. We’re going to be announcing it on Tuesday—of some great people,” the President said, “I would love to open it. I’m not determined anything. The facts are going to determine what I do. But we do want to get the country open. So important.”
According to Johns Hopkins University, there were over 570,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Tuesday afternoon, with over 23,000 deaths.
“Protecting public health is a core function of government, and it’s a responsibility all elected officials must take seriously. The eventual decision to ease social distancing orders and return to the pre-coronavirus ‘normal’ must be driven by science, not politics,” Harris said on Monday.
The Democratic senators’ legislation would necessitate that the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine appoint 10 to 15 members to the panel. Included in that 10 to 15 would be at least one expert in public health, economics, transportation, medicine, national security, and state and local government.
The American Forward Commission would be in charge of developing standards to guarantee federal, state, and local officials “can diagnose, isolate, and mitigate the coronavirus, including seasonal reoccurrences, and address other public health and economic impacts.”
The legislation to establish the commission would also require that the White House’s coronavirus task force respond in writing to any of the commission’s ideas within one week of receiving them.
They would be tasked with the job of ensuring that communication is being shared between “federal, state, and local stakeholders, as well as business and non-profit entities.”
Their work would also include protecting American workers from future viral pandemics.