Texas congressman: Defer to local leaders for pandemic response

Rep. Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, discusses the rise in COVID-19 cases in Texas and the economic impact as states feel the pinch of renewed closures.
8:36 | 07/14/20

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Transcript for Texas congressman: Defer to local leaders for pandemic response
Who wanna continue the discussion of our country's response incumbent nineteen pandemic we're joined now by congressman Jodi Arrington who represents the nineteenth district in the Texas handled and so much for joining us. Great to be what Dylan's it. Still you heard in Jonathan Karl's report right there. Concern from you about doctor found she being sidelined by the White House is cases surge in in much of the south including your state of Texas in your opinion is it pertinent for the president to still be briefed by the most senior infectious disease doctor in the country. I don't think I went does certainly sideline vowed she'd that I wouldn't give him the megaphone that he's had he's a singularly focused. Government infectious disease doctor then use this metric is people don't get sick and don't die. There are lots of risks that people have to manage every day in and leaders have to manage. The fact that we could have far greater. Implications adverse implications for being in in a shutdown mode and not. Opening our economy getting folks back to making a living. Their individual liberties or economic implications in long term public health. So out he's one voice but we need a whole lot more than just algae in terms of people in the president's ear. And an end in any ear leaders that are making these multitude. Also decisions. So let's go on the ground to the citizens your state of Texas. Is seeing cases on the rise the so far. Your district is not a hot spot are there lessons that you say that you would draw from places with huge spikes in are you telling your constituents to Wear masks and also social distance. I think that conditions on the ground should dictate. How to respond I think every business for example. Is incentivized to take all the necessary precautions if there's an aim rations. Code red outbreaks it at various businesses. That that's gonna hurt them. Long term so again everybody I think has the right incentives his government will give them information. Empower local leaders to manage including health care providers. They can manage the capacity there's 2000 bands in Houston Texas right now. I know that their single bit of a spike. But again I think Houston's capacities different than lot of taxes and Abilene Texas places I represented. I'm I think again deferring to the local leaders to make those decisions. He is and giving them the best information. It is the best way to handle this so that again we managed not only in the near term public health implications for the long term. Economic and public health implications for horses. So we just to be clear are you telling your constituents that they should Wear masks. I'm telling my citizens to Wear masks and west masks. Are are the right thing to do the moral the most responsible thing to do it again every situation but dictates different protocols in some cases social distancing. And other cases it's masking agents more densely populated but I don't need to make that decision were then they're planning Smart. And responsible if we give them information and with what's happening on the ground which is different in different communities. They ought to be able to manage that responsibly and so are. I think Texas is dominant if you look at taxes Arizona Florida and their death outraged it is how the city has other New York. And they got seven times the population so I think we can expect you're gonna see an opportunity. And numbers of cases for states and reopening. On the heels July 4 celebrations all around the country and then he got you know a situation like Houston. Where the mayor has left tens of thousands of people. Again and now in protest and march and march is. I think all of those are contributing factors I expect it'll be managed. Back down to a more you know reasonable who level. So many of your Republican colleagues including Texas governor avid they have come around to advocating for Americans to Wear masks in public when they can't socially distanced. Would you say that the president should be more forceful in supporting that message. I think the president it really Lindsay has taken the right approach and that's saying hey states' governors and local leaders. You are more responsive to your people you are more sensitive to the conditions on the ground. And we all know that there are some basics in this. Prevention of the spread like good hygiene like social distancing and in some case cases masks and I get I think. Local leaders I think citizens and every community business owners. Are all in San advised to do the right thing the responsible thing not just for them for their entire community I haven't seen. I haven't seen that play out in a way it's that surprising or unmanageable of this can at this point. Congressman just for academic debate here I'm just curious having the CDC has said definitively masks make people safer masks help eliminate the spread why some. The people especially in politics so reluctant to say hey guys let's be safe let's Wear masks. Well we we have had government officials and public health experts. Including the surgeon general. Say one day that mask work and others did but other days it did masks are the best a way to manage it. I'm suggesting then we should let local. Leaders and our citizens make those decisions unless. There is systemic inundation of the health system I think it does state we're completely. Inundated. And overwhelm that would be a different scenario and and and here's your local community. It is inundated and overwhelmed. Then I think you can ratchet up restrictions in you can engaged. You know more definitively with various protocols but. Unless and until you have that kind of systemic adverse. Impact. I think you defer to the needs of the citizens. And and I think because most folks would say this isn't just about. The near term public health and back. There are intermediate and long term economic impacts and we should always in the makes the decisions you consider people's personal liberties. I think he can do all the bottom end and managed as responsibly. At the state and local level in and I think so far Texas has done a pretty good job of that. OK and then one assailant economic point you were just making you made a comment businesses should be compensated by the government for shut down losses what specific measures is do you have in mind. And it what's your bigger concern exploding deficits for state and local governments and businesses going under because of this crisis. Well I have a tremendous concern about the fact that we have the highest debt load up her GDP than we've ever had as a nation. And if we ever have a sovereign debt crisis we won't be able to you. To borrow money and print money fast enough to bail out that crisis I think we've got to keep our eyes on I had and we got to manage responsibly. Armed and so while I'm in terms of I'm shutting down businesses. Not just saying let's Wear masks let's do various things that I think union can be extreme at there's not a systemic. Problem or they're gonna overwhelmingly inundate the health system. But but I do think if you're going to say hey these businesses are gonna shut down you've that's taking. You've got to compensate these folks this is that are likely that this is this is how they care for their families and I I think that there should be shared risk. And responsibility. At the local and state level he cannot have a situation. Where the federal government's gonna come in and bail everyone out. Everybody's got to manage all of these objectives they all have to manage the risks. And it can't be put on one. Into G especially the federal government which is notorious for spending trillions of dollars. And not having much concern about the debt and the now almost four trillion dollars. In deficit spending in one year so you've got to have a shared risk and responsibility model. If you're going to have people made the right decisions and not create moral hazard where we're bailing people out left and right that's the wrong approach. Congressman Arrington a west Texas thank you so much for coming on the show are really appreciate your time. Great to be would you Lindsey thanks.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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