President Trump has begun taking steps to re-open the country and the economy. While the Coronavirus pandemic is far from over, the administration should be applauded for using a light-touch regulatory approach to mitigate the damage caused to the economy.
The same deregulatory approach should be taken as we recover from the pandemic. All told, dozens of federal rules and regulations have been waived, and over 300 have been waived when state and local rules are included (A full list can be found at www.atr.org/rules)
As the country recovers from the pandemic, the Trump Administration should examine all of the regulations that have been waived to see if they are still needed and how they can be relaxed. In addition, lawmakers should work to provide more permanent middle-class tax relief as part of the Coronavirus response.
Trump Has Waived Regulations for Healthcare and Other Essential Industries
In the healthcare space, President Trump and administration officials have taken steps to give patients and providers much-needed flexibility during the Coronavirus pandemic. For instance:
– In recognition of the fact that millions of Americans have been forced to self-isolate, the administration has expanded telehealth services. Telehealth services are now covered for Medicare beneficiaries, meaning that at-risk seniors can receive care from their doctor through video conferencing and telephone at no additional cost.
– The administration has taken steps to allow physicians and other medical personnel to operate across state lines in order to ensure that those who need care are able to receive it, no matter where they live.
– The FDA has taken several steps to ease rules around testing and distribution. Rules around ventilator production have been eased to allow healthcare professionals to use ventilators intended for other environments. Similarly, rules have been relaxed around getting an existing product approved after adding an existing innovation, such as the addition of wireless and/or Bluetooth capability for remote monitoring.
– The FDA has given states leeway to take responsibility for tests developed within their own borders, and has given manufacturers flexibility to distribute newly developed tests before the FDA grants emergency clearance.
Regulatory relief has not been limited to the healthcare space during the virus. In this time of pandemic, the administration has also offered relief from heavy handed regulations all across the government.
For instance, the EPA has announced it will exercise enforcement discretion for businesses that are unable to follow federal environmental permits, regulations, and statutes due to the pandemic. Similarly, the Department of Transportation has provided greater flexibility over “hours of service” rules to allow relief to truck drivers transporting goods such as necessary medical supplies, testing equipment, hand sanitizer, disinfectants and food required for emergency restocking of stores.
Tax Day Delay Delivers Much-Needed Taxpayer Relief and Flexibility
The administration has even given Americans relief from Tax Day. While Americans typically file their taxes each week on April 15, the administration has delayed hundreds of deadlines to July 15 including deadlines for individuals, tax-exempt organizations, businesses, as well as payment deadlines for death tax payments.
This is welcome news that will give Americans businesses and taxpayers much needed flexibility and cash-flow.
Even so, the typical taxpayer should still file as soon as possible so that they receive their refund, which is just their money the government has held as an interest free loan.
According to IRS data, almost three in four Americans receive a tax refund averaging $3,000. Despite this, an estimated 35 million Americans – or 25 percent of total filers – wait until the last two weeks of tax season (April 1-15) to file based on prior year returns. Given these numbers, the decision of a taxpayer to procrastinate or file and receive their refund could result in billions of dollars being re-injected to the economy or sitting on the sidelines.
Of course, the Trump administration cannot give Americans relief from Tax Day forever. However, they have already done the next best thing by dramatically reducing taxes across the board, including providing a $2,000 tax cut for the typical family of four earning $74,000 a year.
The administration’s decision to waive and roll back regulations in the face of the pandemic has offered relief Americans families, workers, and the healthcare system.
In focusing on post-Coronavirus economic recovery, policymakers should focus on examining the regulations that have been waived and permanently repealing rules that are no longer needed. In addition to regulatory reform, further middle-class tax cuts should be passed.