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

Rep. Trey HollingsworthJoseph (Trey) Albert HollingsworthThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Hurd says China engaged in global disinformation campaign; US unemployment highest since Great Depression The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Chef José Andrés says most political leaders today are not acting with urgency; Dems crafting 'Rooseveltian' relief package Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says public health threat of loneliness compounded by COVID-19; Trump says task force will 'evolve' 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 TrumpDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election The hollowing out of the CDC Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points 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 CuomoCuomo calls Brooklyn clashes 'disturbing,' asks attorney general to review Overnight Health Care: Trump says US 'terminating' relationship with WHO | Cuomo: NYC on track to start reopening week of June 8 | COVID-19 workplace complaints surge 10 things to know today about coronavirus 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.