WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Sunday he would not rule out any element in the next potential coronavirus relief bill, including more money for state and local governments and the small business program.
More than 30 million Americans have joined the unemployment benefit rolls over the past six weeks and lawmakers on Capitol Hill are discussing a fourth coronavirus relief bill. Democrats are calling for aid to cities and states and some governors have warned of massive layoffs if they fail to get it.
Some advisers to Republican President Donald Trump have said the need for another stimulus bill is not yet clear. Kudlow said “there may well be additional legislation” as officials study how the billions included in the last bill take effect.
“We know the economy is still in a terrible, contractionary phase, tremendous hardships, everywhere,” Kudlow said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“We’re trying to work through this. I don’t want to rule in or out anything right now. We are in discussions internally and with leading members of Congress.”
He said authorities need to see what the results are before deciding on the next steps.
“Just trying to stabilize things and get folks through this, and then we’ll see, we will see in a couple of weeks, what needs to be done and perhaps how to do it,” Kudlow said.
Kudlow was asked whether aid given to small businesses would be increased again, given how quickly the money is being claimed.
“It may be,” Kudlow said. “We haven’t made a decision yet. This has been an extremely popular and effective program. Keeping folks on the payroll is extremely important.”
While Democrats have supported more money for state, local and tribal governments, Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the Senate, has demanded protection for reopening businesses from COVID-related lawsuits.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Tom Brown)