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GOP lawmaker: We must choose 'loss of American lives' over 'loss of our way of life as Americans'

Rep. Trey HollingsworthJoseph (Trey) Albert HollingsworthHillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump campaign tweet of Biden clip as manipulated media | Democrats demand in-person election security briefings resume | Proposed rules to protect power grid raise concerns Lawmakers call for bipartisan push to support scientific research The Hill's 12:30 Report: Presidential race tightens in key states MORE (R-Ind.) said Tuesday, as the U.S. grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, that the country will always have to choose a “loss of American lives” over a “loss of our way of life as Americans.”

Hollingsworth told Indianapolis's WIBC radio station that there is no “zero-harm” option when it comes to deciding when and how to reopen the American economy.

“Both of these decisions will lead to harm for individuals, whether that's dramatic economic harm or whether that's the loss of life,” he said. “But it is always the American government's position to say, in the choice between the loss of our way of life as Americans and the loss of life of American lives, we have to always choose the latter.”

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Hollingsworth said that the decision that would do the most good for the most people would be to “get Americans back to work.” The Indiana lawmaker added that no “amount of legislation out of D.C.” is going to fix the crisis.

“It is policymakers' decision to put on our big-boy and big-girl pants and say, ‘This is the lesser of these two evils,’” he said.

“That is our responsibility, and to abdicate that is to insult the Americans that voted us into office,” he added.

Political leaders in the U.S. are involved in an intense debate over whether the country should reopen its economy as outbreaks of the coronavirus persist in multiple states.

Experts worry that keeping the economy shut down could be even more damaging in the long term than the virus, while health officials say COVID-19 could resurge if the U.S. reopens now.

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Reached for further comment by The Hill, Hollingsworth said, “It’s hyperbolic to say that the only choices before us are the two corner solutions: no economy or widespread casualties. We can use the best of biology and economics to enable as much of the economy to operate as possible while we work to minimize disease transmission.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE said Monday that he has the authority to decide whether to reopen businesses and schools in states where the governments shut them down. Several lawmakers and state leaders, including New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoDreaming of space exploration? You're better off riding bikes Cuomo likens COVID-19 to the Grinch: 'The season of viral transmission' For Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court upholds religious liberty MORE (D), contradicted this, saying it goes against the Constitution. 

Indiana has counted 8,527 positive cases and 387 deaths from the coronavirus, according to the state health department.

Updated at 6:31 p.m.