Congressman Tom McClintock released the following statement concerning the midnight passage of H.R. 6201:
Benjamin Franklin warned that “Passion governs, and she never governs wisely.” Exhibit A is HR 6201, the so-called “Families First Recovery Act.” The House passed this bill literally minutes after it was introduced, with no analysis, no cost estimates, virtually no debate and in a general state of political panic.
For the next few weeks, new cases of Covid-19 are expected to increase. But at some point, the infection rate will peak and decline. As it does, factories will reopen, employees will get back to work and life will return to normal.
Once the public health crisis is passed, the House bill threatens to postpone the economic recovery by guaranteeing employees up to three months of paid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. In theory, the purpose is to self-quarantine, recuperate or care for family members who are idled or afflicted, but in reality, it opens the door for anyone who wants to game the system.
The costs – which could run into hundreds of billions of dollars – are to be fronted by businesses and ultimately borne by taxpayers, leaving a massive debt to repay. The more employees who claim extended leaves, the more productivity losses the business will suffer, potentially leaving some employees no jobs to return to.
This is anything but compassionate. Remember, government cannot give a dollar to one person that it hasn’t taken from another. When the health crisis passes, our economic crisis will depend on a rapid return to normalcy – not three months of mass unemployment. The strong jobs report in February tells us the American economy is fundamentally sound and should bounce back quickly as the infection abates. This bill makes the same mistakes that needlessly prolonged the recession of 2008 and cost our country a decade of economic growth.
Idled businesses face a liquidity crisis that demands a full-out monetary response from the Federal Reserve and emergency loans for small businesses. Idled employees face a liquidity crisis that demands payroll tax relief without adding to the national debt. That can be accomplished by allowing individuals to forego payroll taxes this year in exchange for a slightly delayed retirement. Instead, H.R. 6201 actively encourages unemployment that will further damage an economy already ravaged by the coronavirus.
If America’s post-coronavirus economic recovery lags behind other countries, look no farther than the House’s panicked midnight passage of H.R. 6201.
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