President Trump wants targeted coronavirus relief, not a massive bailout, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told “America’s Newsroom” Thursday.
Although the president tweeted Tuesday he was postponing negotiations until after the Nov. 3 presidential election, he later appeared to reverse course, calling for lawmakers to send out a fresh round of $1,200 stimulus checks and provide additional funding to U.S. airlines and small businesses.
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“The president believes we should shift into stand-alone bills to get the key points through,” Kudlow said. “The big package had way too much spending for state and local bailouts, ended the Hyde amendment, federal funding for abortion, additional health care for illegal immigrants. There’s a whole bunch of things in there that had nothing to do with COVID or economic recovery.”
Kudlow, the director of the U.S. National Economic Council, praised Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on his negotiations, noting that Trump’s coronavirus relief executive orders will not last forever.
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He said they need Congress to pass legislation that extends the Paycheck Protection Program, small business loans and unemployment assistance checks, and helps kids get back to school as safely as possible.
“Those are just vital targeted assistance areas that would strengthen the economy, deal with COVID, and help [unemployed Americans],” Kudlow said.
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Reacting to the new weekly job numbers showing 840,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, Kudlow acknowledged that a lot of Americans are still hurting but said the numbers are trending lower since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Continuing claims, which is the actual payments, not the applications but the payments, fell sharply by over 1 million. That number is usually a pretty good forecaster of the next month’s job. So I think the labor situation is looking much better. We’re moving in the right direction,” he said.
Kudlow predicts a huge number for the GDP in the third economic quarter, saying the U.S. is in a V-shaped recovery: “The economy is in really good footing and recovering everything faster than anybody thought.”
When host Sandra Smith asked about Trump’s next debate against Joe Biden being virtual, Kudlow said he believes it will be renegotiated because the president will have negative COVID tests.
Trump’s top economic adviser said the president needs to get “on message” and show the differences between the two tickets as Vice President Mike Pence did against Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., on issues like taxes, regulations, energy, health care, trade deals, right to life and stacking the Supreme Court.
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“He made this so clear. Differences matter, OK? You’ve got a very extremist left-wing democratic candidate and you’ve got a good mainstream conservative candidate who by the way increased living standards by five times as much in three years as the Obama people did in eight years,” he said.
“By the way, Mike Pence looked like a president to me,” Kudlow added.