March 19, 2020

New Democrat Coalition Releases Economic Recommendations in Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Today, the New Democrat Coalition (NDC) released preliminary principles and priorities for the continued economic response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These recommendations look to help address the growing economic challenges being felt nationwide and to help mitigate the long-term economic impacts of the coronavirus. The recommendations are designed to:  

  • Triage and Respond: Take immediate action to support public health efforts and prevent an economic crisis by quickly deploying resources and economic assistance to health care providers and hard-hit individuals and businesses. Managing our national debt is important, but now is not the time to worry about budgetary impacts in the near-term.
  • Streamline and Stabilize: Make efforts to utilize existing mechanisms and reduce unnecessary hurdles that will slow the deployment of assistance. As appropriate, build automatic stabilizers into direct assistance programs to provide certainty and trigger additional assistance and stimulus without the need for additional Congressional action if economic conditions continue or worsen.
  • Return to Normal: Roll out a coordinated economic stimulus to bring businesses back online and workers back into the labor market. In future economic up-cycles, take seriously our responsibility to manage federal debt and deficits so that we are better prepared for future national crises.

“As Americans grapple with the coronavirus public health crisis and communities take significant measures to contain its spread, we are seeing serious disruptions in the lives of Americans and our nation’s economy. Congress must act to end this pandemic and address its economic impacts,” said NDC Chair Derek Kilmer (WA-06). “The New Democrat Coalition is committed to ensuring American families, students, employers, health care providers, and communities have the resources and assistance they need in these difficult times. We look forward to continuing to work with Caucus leadership and Members on both sides of the aisle to protect Americans and our economy.”

The NDC’s recommendations include:

  • Ending the Pandemic: Health care providers are on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. Congress should provide emergency funding and enhanced reimbursements to protect health care workers through funding for protective gear, training, and dependent care assistance, and to provide facilities like Community Health Centers and hospitals with high concentrations of Medicaid patients with financial security.
  • Providing Direct Economic Assistance and Support to Individuals: Congress should provide direct support to individuals through policies that provide economic security and liquidity cushions for individuals, including expanded and enhanced social safety net programs and benefits, direct payments for low and middle income individuals, suspensions of certain federal loan repayments, enhanced tax credits, adjustments to retirement savings and health care benefits, housing assistance, and more. Economic stabilization legislation should include automatic triggers, such as increases in the unemployment rate, to further enhance these programs in the event of continued or worsening economic weakness and to attempt to provide some predictability going forward. 
  • Helping Impacted Businesses Get Through the Crisis: Help for impacted businesses should be focused on getting more liquidity into the market where it is needed most through expanded federal low or no interest loans for small and mid-sized businesses, tax relief to support the retention of employees and paid leave, relief for consumers, workers and businesses from tariffs, and other stabilizing policies to support the health of U.S. businesses and the economy impacted by the coronavirus crisis. 
  • Providing Direct Assistance to State, Local, and Tribal Governments: State and local governments are best positioned to enact targeted and tailored responses for their communities. Congress should support these efforts to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and economic downturn through direct funding, grants, and other assistance. 

Finally, on the issue of providing exceptional support to certain industries most impacted, the documents agree that such support will be critical, but does not provide recommendations at this time. Crafting the appropriate response is important and warrants careful consideration going forward.

Read the NDC’s full economic recommendations to coronavirus