House Democrats say Lee is putting lives at risk by opening state too soon

House Democrats are blasting Gov. Bill Lee’s plan to allow his statewide stay-at-home order to expire at the end of the month. The caucus announced Tuesday it “fully” supports Tennesseans getting back to work, but not while the number of coronavirus cases is still increasing in the state.

“We have had PPE shortages, insufficient and incomplete testing, and have not had a comprehensive plan for contact tracing laid out to the public. The process for getting Tennesseans unemployment and financially supporting small businesses has been a complete failure,” the Democrats said in a press release. “In light of this, we ask: How can we trust him to handle reopening the state?”

Here’s the full release from House Democrats:

The House Democratic Caucus says Governor Bill Lee is putting the lives of our loved ones and Tennesseans at risk by opening the state too soon.

While the Caucus fully supports getting Tennesseans back to work, it needs to be done in a manner that protects the lives of residents during this unprecedented humanitarian crisis. As of today, the number of positive cases are still increasing in Tennessee.

The Lee administration has proven that it is incapable of managing the state under the stay at home order: We have had PPE shortages, insufficient and incomplete testing and have not had a comprehensive plan for contact tracing laid out to the public. The process for getting Tennesseans unemployment and financially supporting small businesses has been a complete failure. We recognize the hard work of many of the employees of the Department of Labor and, in fact, all Tennesseans across the state, despite how they have been let down by the Governor’s office. In light of this, we ask: How can we trust him to handle reopening the state?

Tennesseans deserve to get the basic services that they pay their tax dollars for: keeping them safe and healthy and financially afloat during hard times. We recognize the economic seriousness that we face, Democrats have always fought for working class Tennesseans regardless of party affiliation. But we need to get the basics right while we are closed before we take the next step and reopen the state.

Health care workers on the front lines like pulmonologist Dr. Aaron Milstone said yesterday: “rolling back health protections like the stay at home order without first having the ability to quickly identify new cases, break chains of transmission, and protect first responders and health care workers from infection only jeopardizes lives and the economy – and it goes against the very recommendations of the Centers for Disease announced today, (yesterday).”

36 Responses to House Democrats say Lee is putting lives at risk by opening state too soon

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    Donna Locke says:

    No, Dems, you have not fought for working class Tennesseans. You have worked directly against their interests.

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    LeeAnn C. says:

    Of course! Nevermind that our regional hospital laid off 400 employees recently. Talk about putting lives at risk! I thought the dems were all about saving rural hospitals? Oh – wait. That’s just a talking point to try to shame the state into participating in Obamacare. Can’t be bothered with little details like it’s likely the number of patients that are on Medicare with slow as molasses payments and massive operational costs. And yes – let’s keep these decisions about politics instead of real facts. Shutting down the economy was stupid and the quicker this gets remedied the better. Poverty kills too and putting over 300,000 Tennesseans out of work in less than a month is intolerable!

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    Phil Lassiter says:

    We are actually doing the federal budget a great favor by reopening, as is GA and FL beaches. I was watching the talk shows last night and they mentioned TN could save as much as 3 billion in federal stimulus we won’t need by reopening and standing alone. GA about 7 billion and FL hundreds of millions. Couple this with what we have saved federal taxpayers from Medicaid expansion and we are national fiscal heroes.

    Oh, Leanne-I know you worship Hagerty, but he also declined to help rural hospitals when he could have really made a difference as ECD commish. Ouch. Sorry didn’t warn you of that truth nugget.

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    Susan says:

    Because the Democrats don’t care about the thousands of Tennesseans with life threatening and life ending diseases and illnesses that aren’t being diagnosed and treated in a timely manner because of the shut down. They are oblivious to the connection between poverty and unemployment, and worsening health outcomes. I guess it’s too much to expect a bit of honesty in understanding that regardless of whether we stay closed or open up people will die. That’s a hard fact that apparently only the adults in the room can grasp.

    Go pound sand Tennessee Democrats. When you grow up maybe you can come back to the adult table.

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      Timothy says:

      Sorry our governor is pure stupid how can he do such things as opening up pigeon forge tn and Gatlinburg up just inviting people to die that are local most stupidest thing he has ever done the owners of these business just stay home where they are safe put the poor working people bmm out their to die and get sick hes just favoring the rick the hell with poor working people I want vote for him ever again give tourist masks ran out wow let’s just spread it every where so a heard of tn people will get it hes not the man to make decisions about this kind of thing

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    John Stewart says:

    Bullseye! Right on target. There is nothing more wrongheaded than to think you can start reopening beauty salons and massage parlors, etc. before the virus is under control. The virus is real. It kills people. Look at the numbers. More Tennesseans are going to die if comprehensive testing, contact tracing, and quarantine are lacking which they clearly are. Everyone wants the economy back but to start acting like all is well when all clearly is not well only jeopardizes the health and well-being of thousands. The answer is to get serious about controlling the virus, get it under control, and open up for business. Screw around thinking you can short-cut these essential? The price in human life and the economy will be enormous. Somebody in Tennessee has to speak the truth and three cheers for the Dems for doing just that.

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    MARLE says:

    We would all be safer if the Speed limit was 40, cigarettes and alcohol were banned, and we only allowed responsible people to reproduce and raise children. But we don’t do that in the interest of safety so just let everyone out of the house knowing that there, indeed, will be a safety-price to be paid.

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      In the age old conflict between freedom and security you come out on the side of freedom because you are a conservative. Those on the left much prefer government furnished security because (1) temperamentally they are control freaks so the more government controls the better, (2) economically they lean toward the socialist model of maximum government interference in determining the distribution of goods and services, and (3) the longer the economy stays closed the worse conditions will be for the average American the better the Democratic chances this November. As usual, where you sit on the political spectrum determines where you stand on the issues.

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        Jonathan Swift says:

        What about the conservative propensity for government interference with, for example, the right of citizens to use naturally occuring drugs such as cannabis? Conservatives are always eager to tell everyone how to live, which is the ultimate in control. Glass houses, Stuart.

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          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          I agree that conservatives are generally more skeptical about the legalization of recreational drugs than liberals but there no firm “conservative” position on the matter. I remember Bill Buckley taking a more permissive attitude toward the matter and numerous articles in The National Review over the years addressing legalization of recreational drugs from various perspectives..

          As a conservative with distinct libertarian tendencies I am opposed to government requiring people to behave in any way in which their behavior has no direct effect on anyone but themselves. I was in a conversation this past Sunday, for example, which saw me lament these idiotic helmets that we legally require people to wear when riding bicycles or motorcycles. As to drugs I believe the standard has long been set by alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages are unnecessary and harmful in a number of ways yet we tolerate them as a social “lubricant” so that is the societal standard that should be applied to the toleration of any particular recreational drug. There is a debate, however, as to whether cannabis or other recreational drugs are more harmful than alcohol and admittedly I haven’t followed the debate closely enough to draw a conclusion on way or another.

          If we had a referendum here in Tennessee about legalization of recreational drugs I would be inclined to vote in “yes” and place the burden of proof on those who want to keep them illegal. I guess one’s position on legalization of recreational drugs all depends how libertarian you are rather than on how conservative you are.

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            Kosh III says:

            Don’t forget all you avowed conservatives have labored mightily to keep gay people as abused and hated third class citizens, since 2015 the despite has only grown worse: read the Trump Party platform for 2016. Told women what to do or not do with their bodies, and the list can go on and on and on……

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    Jonathan Swift says:

    I expect all the “conservatives” who post here constantly to return their stimulus payments to the federal government. After all, what is more socialist than free money handouts completely controlled by the government?

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      John says:

      And stop voting for “conservatives” like abortion doctor DesJarlais, million dollar farm subsidy “welfare” Fincher, or sex perverts Casada/Durham. Damn Republican hypocrites.

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        Donna Locke says:

        Since you brought him up, John, I will take the opportunity to mention that U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee has an A+ grade on his congressional actions relating to immigration enforcement, control, and reduction. Be sure to look up your favorite Democrats’ actions and grades, if you give a flip. The working class the Democrats lie about already knows.

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          Donna Locke says:

          Graded by NumbersUSA, headed by the first or one of the first newspaper environmental reporters in this country.

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          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          The great Scott DesJarlais (Heritage-87%) and the even greater Mark Green (Heritage-100%) are members of the House Freedom Caucus and in the wee small hours of this morning it was announced that the House Freedom Fund has endorsed Timothy Hill (ACU-88%) in his race for the First District U.S. House seat to replace Phil Roe (Heritage-70%). Timothy’s candidacy should be top priority for conservatives in the August primary.

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        Kosh III says:

        Don’t forget Sen. Hensley who is on wife #4 and was banging an employee and relative. So Moral Majority of him. (sarcasm)

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      Eddie White says:

      Jonathan, I understand your sentiment. A great majority of conservative Republicans supported President Trump’s stimulus package and recognized it was needed to prevent an economic depression. Only a few on the extreme right opposed the president’s stimulus package. Most of those were libertarians. We need the federal government in times of national crisis.

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        Jonathan Swift says:

        Anybody who accepts financial help from the government has no basis for condemning socialism. Conservative Republicans typically have no problem at all with corporate socialism (bailouts, forgivable loans, tax breaks, tolerating anti-competitive practices, whatever the category). For them to use the term socialist as an all-purpose smear against more liberal people just demonstrates how hypocritical and intellectually empty their beliefs are.

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          Donna Locke says:

          I think the federal stimulus money should go only to people who pay federal income taxes.

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          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          Wrong again, Jonathan. You are making far too broad generalizations as follows:

          1. As a rule conservatives hate crony capitalism best represented by bailouts of all kinds when companies or people get into financial problems due to their own poor decision making. The exception occurred in the case of the large commercial and investment banks in 2008 that were deemed by everyone as simply too big to fail and the current pandemic which necessitated the government mandating the closing of commerce without anyone being to blame. On the other hand, conservatives vehemently opposed the bailout of General Motors which the liberals insisted upon as a sop to the United Auto Workers.

          2. Conservatives oppose the double taxation of corporate income, once at the corporate level then again when the owner receives a dividend. Further, for years the U. S. had the highest corporate income tax rates in the world. Thus, the tax system in the U.S. was unfair and discouraged economic growth. Insofar as conservatives do not have the power to eliminate the corporate income tax, they do what they can to eliminate the harmful effects of this and other taxes such as “death taxes.”

          3. You conflate conservative Republicans with Republican who are simply shills for the Chamber of Commerce. Conservatives are free market capitalists who are thus not in favor of “. . .anti-competitive practices, whatever the category.’

          The more thoughtful conservatives and liberals do not call people names like “socialist” or “racist” just because they are frustrated and angry but have nothing else to say. On the other hand, we have an obligation to read commentary carefully and not imagine things that aren’t there. For example, to say liberals “lean toward the socialist model” is not calling them “socialist”, and for conservatives to call the current pandemic the “Wuhan virus” does not make them “racist” or “xenophobic.” It would be best for democracy if people would just calm down.

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            James White says:

            True conservatives did not support the 2008 bailouts and do not support the 2020 trillions in debt.
            As far as Buckley, he had connections to the Council on Foreign Relations, the CIA, and Yale’s Skull & Bones, his selection of ex-Communists, Trotskyites, and CIA veterans to staff National Review, and his promotion of liberal causes, including abortion, drugs, homosexuality, and pornography, hardly makes him a conservative.

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            MARLE says:

            Can’t agree, Stuart, with your characterization of how conservatives feel about Cronyism.

            I despise crony capitalism and it is probably my biggest gripe against Trump. His Tax Plan is full of it. His “exemptions” to tariffs for those Exec’s who would grovel (see Tim Cook, exhibit A) happens routinely. Allowing Amazon, Target and Walmart and Costco to be able to sell All categories of merchandise while other companies, selling the exact same items, were forced to shutter is absurd. What? I can’t get Covid at Costco but I can get it at TJ Maxx?

            These are but a few examples out of thousands that demonstrate that Republicans politicians (Governors and Presidents), loved by Conservatives, can’t get enough of Cronyism.

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Now you know that’s silly Jonathan. Whatever ones views of governmental actions, we all are expected to obey the law and when the law places a burden on all citizens conservatives are expected to carry their share of the burden. By the same token, when the law affords all citizens a benefit there is no reason, other than your disagreeing with them and they annoy you, why conservatives should not share in that benefit.

      • Avatar
        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        This was supposed to be in reply to Jonathan’s novel suggestion that conservatives not receive the benefits of citizenship because they oppose the programs under which the benefits are granted but I unfortunately neglected to hit “Reply.”

    • Avatar
      MARLE says:

      What’s amusing is that you think ALL the conservatives who post here are Actually Getting stimulus money.

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        Phil Lassiter says:

        I think it’s time for another round of stimulus

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          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          Right you are Phil. After running deficits of a trillion dollars a year at a time of unprecedented prosperity this pandemic is only going to add another $5 trillion before we’re done. BTW, if you have any kids or grandkids be sure to tell them “I’m sorry” for me.

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