Freedom Caucus calls on Trump to reopen economy: 'We are a free people'

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A group of conservative House members Friday urged President Trump to reopen the economy, arguing the social distancing restrictions have wreaked too much havoc on the economy.

The House Freedom Caucus sent Trump a letter Friday saying some measures taken to stop the spread of coronavirus have caused tremendous suffering.

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“The American people are resilient, but they have suffered tremendously under the weight of this closed economy. Measures enacted by Congress have provided limited relief," the House Freedom Caucus wrote in the letter. "More government is not the answer to these economic woes—reopening the economy is the answer. We are a free people with a free and fair market. The sooner we return to it, the sooner our economy will again thrive.”

The Trump administration outlined Thursday a three-phased plan for states to reopen once they pass certain benchmarks on the decline of the virus. Though Trump previously asserted he had "total" authority to reopen the economy, Trump on Thursday said the decision on reopening would be decided by governors, who have varying levels of infection in their states.

The stay-at-home orders that have shut down the economy and forced more than 22 million out of work have sparked protests in different parts of the country, including Michigan and Minnesota.

“All levels of government have imposed measures designed to slow the spread of the outbreak,” the Freedom Caucus letter says. “The American people have responded to the guidelines and the effects are apparent…Unfortunately, some of the measures enacted to combat the virus have wreaked havoc on the American economy. Tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs and many businesses have had to close.”

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The letter was signed by Republican House members Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona; Scott Perry of Pennsylvania; Jody Hice of Georgia; Dan Bishop of North Carolina; Ron Wright of Texas; Jeff Duncan of South Carolina; Andy Harris of Maryland; Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee; Ken Buck of Colorado; Paul Gosar of Arizona; Ted Yoho of Florida and Randy Weber of Texas.

The lawmakers said it's time to move forward and expressed thanks the pandemic didn't reach higher death levels that some modeling was predicting.

"The loss of any life is grievous, and we mourn with those who have lost loved ones," the letter said. "We are thankful the more dire predictions were not realized.”