In a letter to Congressional Leadership, Republican Study Committee (RSC) Chairman Mike Johnson (R-La.) and RSC American Worker Task Force Chairman Andy Barr (R-Ky.) outlined a series of free market proposals that should be enacted to help American workers as the nation recovers from the Coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic has taken a sledgehammer to the American economy, forcing millions of businesses to close and putting more than 22 million Americans out of work. As the focus turns towards reopening the economy and safely getting Americans back to work, the RSC plan offers several solutions that reduce barriers to employment that will restart the American economy.
In contrast to Democrats who are pushing hundreds of billions of dollars in spending unrelated to the COVID-19 crisis, the RSC plan helps workers by getting government out of the way through targeted tax and regulatory relief.
In order to make it easier for Americans to safely return to work, the RSC plan calls for several tax cuts for workers. Specifically, the plan levels the playing field for workers by expanding the ability of businesses to deduct education services for their workers. This would benefit employees and move the tax code in a pro-growth direction by incentivizing hiring and job training.
The plan provides much-needed flexibility to workers by enacting Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-Utah) Working Families Flexibility Act, which would give employers the option to offer comp time or overtime pay to their employees. This would empower employees to select the option that best fits their individual needs, as well as allow them significant paid time off if needed to address issues at home due to COVID-19.
The RSC framework also builds on the Trump Administration’s deregulatory response to Coronavirus. The RSC plan continues this effort by suspending occupational licensing requirements for healthcare workers across state lines, which hinders providers from easily shifting between outbreak epicenters. Many states have already waived these requirements for the crisis, and the plan encourages all states to do so.
Finally, in order to help Americans better prepare for their futures in a post-Coronavirus world, the RSC plan expands 529 education savings accounts to cover homeschool expenses. 529 savings accounts allow parents to save and invest after-tax income for education costs, and are broadly popular for the middle class.
As Americans all across the country are self-isolating, students have been forced to learn from home, a situation that has led to additional costs stemming from the need to implement online and distance learning. Expanding 529s to include homeschooling would provide much needed assistance to parents and students across the country.
Taken together, the RSC plan empowers American workers through targeted tax cuts, regulatory relief, and expanded flexibility.