As negotiations for another round of coronavirus relief remain at an impasse, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow is urging lawmakers to pass ‘targeted assistance’ now — and iron out the kinks later.
During an October 2 appearance at The White House, the Director of the National Economic Council expressed frustration over the stalled stimulus talks — which include several failed attempts at passing House Democrats’ $2.2 trillion updated HEREOS Act, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s $1.6 trillion counteroffer and Senate Republican’s “Skinny Bill.”
Kudlow doubled down on his claims that “targeted assistance,” such as recent White House efforts to secure aid for schools and the Paycheck Protection Program, needs to be prioritized.
“I do wish my friends on the other side of the aisle would give us small business assistance with the PPP, some unemployment assistance, some airline assistance and some education assistance — targeted areas,” he said to reporters.
“We put them on the table now for three months,” the economic adviser continued. “There’s a lot of agreement, we don’t need everything. Let’s not go to zero now . . . Let’s find the key points and pass them.”
Kudlow added that there is an extra $130 billion leftover from the first round of PPP, which offers loans to small businesses struggling during the pandemic, that can be repurposed — specifically toward averting thousands of airline furloughs.
“I respect their political and ideological points of view — I don’t agree with it, but I respect it,” he said of Democrats’ stimulus efforts. “We can do that stuff another time.”
“We need some help on legislation,” he continued. “Airlines need some help, kids in schools reopening . . . Why can’t we get those legislations through?”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is expected to continue talks with Mnuchin over the weekend, according to As English, while House representatives have returned to their districts to campaign for reelection.
Here’s what you need to know:
Congressional Lawmakers Have Expressed Newly Optimistic Outlooks on Reaching a Middle Ground
Over the past week, both Pelosi and Mnuchin have engaged in stimulus talks — and expressed refreshingly positive outlooks on finding a solution soon, The New York Times reported. Their enthusiasm was then followed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on October 2.
“I’m trying to figure out here whether I should predict another bill quickly or not,” McConnell said at a Kentucky event, according to NYT. “But the talks have speeded up in the last couple of days. I think we’re closer to getting an outcome.”
Like Kudlow, Mnuchin has also been a vocal advocate for targeted assistance for the “hardest hit industries,” highlighting the PPP.
“I think that would be very meaningful for the economy broadly and for those most impacted as a result of COVID,” he testified before the Senate Banking Committee on September 24 .
Trump’s Positive COVID-19 Diagnosis has Sparked Concern Over how Stimulus Talks Could be Affected Moving Forward
OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 3, 2020
News of Trump’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis on October 1 left many wondering how it diagnosis could implicate the stimulus proceedings moving forward. While the president announced via Twitter that he and Melania would be quarantining together, he did not indicate for how long.
The president, who is seeking medical care at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, urged legislators two days to “get it done,” referring to the stimulus bill.
“OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE,” he tweeted on October 3. “Thank you!”
Should a bill be passed, Trump would need to finalize it by signing it into law — unless he becomes incapacitated. The responsibility would then fall on Vice President Mike Pence.
Later that night, Trump said in a video that he is feeling “much better” and should “be back soon,” despite earlier conflicting reports from aides and doctors, according to The Washington Post.