SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Sen. Mike Lee joined 27 other Republican senators in a letter Thursday urging the Senate to provide businesses with regulatory relief in the wake of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said lawmakers must include measures that reduce red tape in any future rescue bills. Congress has approved four packages in response to the ongoing health and economic disaster.

“Regulatory reform, whether through paperwork reduction or removing outmoded compliance requirements, is the most efficient means of promoting economic recovery,” the letter says. “This approach avoids the pitfalls of waste, fraud and abuse that always accompany increased government spending.”

In contrast to unsustainable increases in federal spending, the easing of business regulations — estimated to cost companies as much as $1.9 trillion — will have broader economic effects by promoting competition and private investment, according to the letter.

State and local governments have struggled to protect at-risk populations through social distancing, mandatory business closures and various shelter-in-place strategies. 

“These measures do appear to help “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 infections, but they are taking a devastating toll on the economy, jobs and people’s lives, the letter says.