National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told Newsmax TV on Wednesday that “considerable policy differences” are keeping the White House and congressional Democrats from reaching any agreement on a second package of economic stimulus/recovery measures related to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Without identifying or characterizing the Democratic positions by name, Kudlow indicated the gulf was deep.
"The president has always favored the direct assistance check, always favored an extension of the payroll protection plan," Kudlow said from the White House lawn on Newsmax TV’s “American Agenda.” "There’s $135 billion that went unspent (from the first COVID-19 bill). Now that should be repurposed in legislation."
"That should be an easy one. I think both sides agree. The same is true for unemployment assistance. The same is true for airlines. The same is true for K-12 schooling, with respect to COVID enhancement. This should have been done months ago. They’re easy. There’s bipartisan support. The problem is you’ve got a very sizable policy difference: one side has got a lot of political and ideological election- year things that the other side doesn't want. This is not the time for that, you know giving out better healthcare or welfare checks to illegal immigrants, for example."
Kudlow discussed the different amounts of the packages offered by Democrats, whose latest proposal reportedly has been worth $2.2 trillion, and the White House, whose most recent offer was $1.8 trillion. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a $500 billion package that received a 51-44 vote support of it moving forward, but failed to get the necessary 60 – with nearly all Democrats against it.
“(Negotiators) are taking a good long look at some pretty big numbers, and among the PPP business loan program,” Kudlow said. “There are discussions going on, but there are also some considerable policy differences that have not yet been resolved.”
Kudlow outlined President Donald Trump’s priorities, leaving the viewer to glean the demands of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has been negotiating for months with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
“(Trump) would like direct mail assistance. He would like the PPP business extension. That’s very important,” Kudlow said. “He would like some legislative redeployment of funds so that we can have unemployment assistance…
“We’d like to help airlines. I think that’s very important. We’d like to help schools, and COVID-related expenses. On the other hand, he’s always been opposed to what he regards as massive assistance plan to poorly managed states and local governments, and I think that is a sticking point.”
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