The Honorable Nancy Pelosi                                         The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Speaker of the House                                                    Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives                                      U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20514                                                Washington, D.C. 20514


The Honorable Mitch McConnell                                   The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Majority Leader of the United States Senate                 Minority Leader of the United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510                                                Washington, D.C. 20510


Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, and Leader Schumer:


As the United States – and indeed, the world – grapples with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Congress and the President have taken a number of steps to alleviate the pain felt by consumers and businesses alike.

Each of our respective organizations has preferred public policy outcomes that we work to achieve, but in this time of crisis, we all believe it most important to put aside our disagreements and focus on the shared goal of doing what is best for the country.

Millions of Americans are currently out of work or otherwise underemployed and lack the ability to pay their rent and mortgages or for their food and prescriptions. Providing for these immediate needs, not making the same old mistakes of cronyism and waste, is of paramount importance.

Forthcoming federal efforts simply must be crafted responsibly. To that end, we have outlined the following principles to guide your work during the coming months:

  1. Focus on immediate relief, not larger policy goals. Relief that is timely, targeted and temporary is preferable to other types, and we should beware of attempts that aim for stimulus or economic engineering rather than relief.
  2. Aim to provide targeted relief instead of stimulus. In the period immediately following an exogenous shock to our economy, our goal cannot be to stimulate, but to relieve. Our goal should be to forestall a larger economic crash, rather than attempt to stimulate a recovery.
  3. Avoid the temptation of special benefits. The current economic difficulties are impacting businesses large and small, and it’s important that efforts to address the crisis and not play favorites or otherwise pick winners and losers. With everyone sharing in the pain, everyone should share in the solutions.
  4. Enact measures that are temporary. The current economic situation makes fiscal tradeoffs difficult, but they must eventually be considered. All proposals should be substantial, but not permanent, and any further fiscal response should ultimately be tied to the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  5. Emphasize meaningful transparency. Accountability is key, and allowing aid to be tracked will ensure that it is effectively helping to alleviate the health or economic crisis. Assistance should be continuously evaluated to determine whether it continues to be warranted. After all, large-scale legislation that carries an unprecedented price tag necessitates an unprecedented level of independent oversight, not less.
  6. Account for the spending today. Now may not be the time to talk about offsetting new federal spending, but the imperative to act quickly should not prevent us from guarding against unnecessary long-term costs. A website for tracking spending and an “emergency assistance account” for the pandemic would be effective tools for ensuring money is spent as intended and costs are offset over time.

As long as the scale and scope of the health crisis are unknown, the depth and duration of the economic crisis are also unknowable. The health response should be our primary focus, and we will all continue to support you in these efforts. The economic response should likewise be aimed at arresting economic disaster and focused on those who need it.

History will judge us by the actions we take today, but we all believe that together we can move the country past this crisis and get our economy growing again.



Jonathan Bydlak                                                           Jason Pye

Director, Fiscal & Budget Policy Project                     Vice President of Legislative Affairs

R Street Institute                                                          FreedomWorks


Steve Ellis                                                                     Danielle Brian

President                                                                     Executive Director

Taxpayers for Common Sense                                   Project on Government Oversight


David Williams                                                            Pete Sepp

President                                                                     President

Taxpayers Protection Alliance                                   National Taxpayers Union


Bob Barr                                                                       Grover Norquist

Member of Congress, 1995-2003                             President

President, Liberty Guard                                               Americans for Tax Reform


Steve Pociask                                                               Jim Waters

President / CEO                                                           President and CEO

American Consumer Institute                                     Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions


Rea S. Hederman Jr.                                                     Garrett Ballengee

Executive Director, Economic Research Center         Executive Director

The Buckeye Institute                                                   Cardinal Institute for WV Policy


Andrew F. Quinlan                                                      Chuck Muth

President                                                                     President

Center for Freedom and Prosperity                           Citizen Outreach


James S. Turner                                                            Matthew Kandrach

Chair of the Board                                                       President

Citizens for Health                                                       Consumer Action for a Strong Economy


Kyle Wingfield                                                              Louis Clark

President & CEO                                                          Executive Director and CEO

Georgia Public Policy Foundation                               Government Accountability Project


Patrice McDermott                                                    Mario H. Lopez

Director                                                                       President

Government Information Watch                              Hispanic Leadership Fund


Jon Caldara                                                                 Carrie L. Lukas

President                                                                     President

Independence Institute                                             Independent Women’s Forum


Heather R. Higgins                                                      Tom Giovanetti

CEO                                                                              President

Independent Women’s Voice                                     Institute for Policy Innovation


Meredith McGehee                                                      Dr. Bob McClure

Executive Director                                                        President and CEO

Issue One                                                                     James Madison Institute


Seton Motley                                                               Michael Ostrolenk

President                                                                     National Director

Less Government                                                         Liberty Coalition


Joe Lehman                                                                  Matt Gagnon

President                                                                     Chief Executive Officer

Mackinac Center for Public Policy                              Maine Policy Institute


Jameson Taylor, Ph.D.                                                   Adam Andrzejewski

Vice President for Policy                                               CEO & Founder

Mississippi Center for Public Policy                             Open The Books

Image credit:  Lightspring

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