Sen. Cruz Tapped for President Trump’s Task Force to Re-Open Economy

Yesterday I was asked to join President Trump's task force to re-open the economy as the nation continues to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Following a phone call with the president and a bipartisan group of lawmakers yesterday morning, I said:

"The consequences of the economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic are serious and dire. In just the last four weeks, 22 million Americans have lost their jobs. Congress took unprecedented action to provide emergency relief from this economic devastation, but as we have seen, that relief can only go so far. There are reasonable steps we can and must take now - based on the science and public health guidance - to begin safely re-opening the economy and helping the American people return to work, from increasing the production of personal protective equipment to making testing more widely available. As a part of President Trump's bipartisan task force, I'll be working to do just that."

In an interview yesterday with Sydney Hernandez on CBS 4 in the Rio Grande Valley during his statewide tele-tour, I discussed the public health consequences of a continued economic shutdown:

"If we continue to keep the economy shutdown for weeks and months, there are going to be enormous public health harms from that. We are going to see mental illness issues and depression. We're going to see increased rates of suicide. We're going to see substance abuse, alcohol abuse."

"You have millions of small businesses on the verge, potentially, of bankruptcy. People have poured their lives into building a small business. We can't let that happen."

In response to the Democrats' continued efforts to block the expansion of emergency relief for small businesses and their employees, I said in an interview with KURV Radio's Sergio Sanchez:

"The Paycheck Protection [Program] has been immensely popular. The number one recipient of it in the country has been the state of Texas. We've had $22 billion worth of emergency loans going to small businesses to go to paychecks and salaries and keep people employed [...]. The money is expected to run out [...] and right now Senate Democrats are blocking it. They are trying to hold it hostage for a series of partisan demands. I don't think they are going to be able to hold that line. They tried that with the CARES Act three weeks ago. Remember Nancy Pelosi did the same thing? And ultimately there is too much support for the Paycheck Protection Program that I think the Democrats' cynical effort to hold it hostage, they are going to end up giving in on that."

I added:

"We have got to get Texans back to work and I think that is a critical priority. [...] For young, healthy people, we need to get them back in their jobs, back driving, back working, back going out. And there may be changes, at least for the short term, things like masks and gloves and PPE. Things like restaurants reconfiguring their dining rooms to spread them out to allow social distancing, to mitigate the spread. But the harms and the lives that will be lost if we continue to freeze the economy is unacceptable. I am very glad both the President and the Governor are laying out this week plans to get us back to work, because that's what we need to be doing."

"The answer is not to just keep shoveling money at this. The answer is to get through the crisis. We need testing, we need widespread testing to defeat the virus and protect people's lives and then [we've] got to stop freezing the economy. Our country can't sustain weeks and weeks and months and months on end of everyone stopping working and just printing money. We got to stop that because that would do immeasurable damage to the country."

WATCH: Senator Ted Cruz on KCBD: ‘It is time for Texans to get back to work'

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