Covid-19 Is Bad. But It May Not Be the ‘Big One’

Health experts want a 9/11 Commission-style report on the US pandemic response. They say we must forecast and prepare for outbreaks as we do for wars or weather.

An analysis by the Congressional Research Service has said that there are at least five proposals circulating in the House of Representatives to launch an inquiry.

Throughout U.S. history, Congress has created advisory commissions to assist in the development of public policy. Among other contexts, commissions have been used following crisis situations, including the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the 2008 financial crisis.

In such situations, advisory commissions may potentially provide Congress with a high-visibility forum to assemble expertise that might not exist within the legislative environment; allow for the in depth examination of complex, cross-cutting policy issues; and lend bipartisan credibility to a set of findings and recommendations. As Congress considers its range of responses to the coronavirus pandemic, the creation of one or more congressional advisory commissions is an option that could provide a platform for evaluating various pandemic-related policy issues over time.

Proposals for a COVID-19 Congressional Advisory Commission: A Comparative Analysis

In addition to the COVID-19 crisis, a Congressional advisory committee could also recommend plans for increased capabilities to prevent and handle future infectious disease epidemics.