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White House Taps Sen. Hawley to Join Task Force on Reopening Economy

Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) departs from a briefing on the coronavirus outbreak in China in Washington, D.C., January 24, 2020. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

The White House has invited Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) to join its task force on reopening the U.S. economy, following Hawley’s proposal that the federal government pay 80 percent of workers’ wages until the coronavirus crisis subsides.

“Just finished call w/ [President Trump] as part of his Task Force on Reopening – becoming more and more urgent as unemployment mounts and food banks see record claims,” Hawley wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “Congress needs to act now to protect every American’s job.”

Hawley joined a bipartisan group of senators on the task force; however, the Missouri senator’s inclusion is notable due to his policy proposals to deal with the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on American workers.

“Beginning immediately, the federal government should cover 80 percent of wages for workers at any U.S. business, up to the national median wage, until this emergency is over,” Hawley wrote in an op-ed last week for the Washington Post. “Further, it should offer businesses a bonus for rehiring workers laid off over the past month… This approach will prepare us to surge into recovery.”

Representative Pramila Jayapal (D., Wash.) independently offered her own proposal last week for the federal government to pay 100 percent of workers’ wages. While Jayapal’s proposal is similar to Hawley’s in outline, the Washington representative’s would cover all wages up to $100,000, while Hawley’s plan would cover wages up to the “national median wage,” somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000 depending on how the median is calculated.

President Trump has repeatedly signaled that he would like to see the U.S. businesses reopened as soon as possible. However, health officials have cautioned that the economy will probably be opened slowly, at different rates in different areas, to prevent further outbreaks of coronavirus.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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