President Trump’s chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow vowed Wednesday that the White House will bring the “full force of the federal government” to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic and protect the U.S. economy as American life comes to a screeching halt.
“As the president has said many times, we are bringing the full power and scope of the federal government to try to ease the economic pain coming from the coronavirus,” Kudlow told “Bill Hemmer Reports.”
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“We are bringing the full power and scope of the federal government to try to ease the economic pain coming from the coronavirus.”
— Larry Kudlow, ‘Bill Hemmer Reports’
Kudlow’s remarks came shortly before the Senate passed a multibillion-dollar emergency aid package that includes 14 paid sick days to workers, boosts unemployment insurance, offers free coronavirus testing and increases food assistance during the crisis. At the same time, The White House is moving forward with a proposed $1 trillion coronavirus package that would infuse Americans’ bank accounts with two rounds of direct cash payments.
The Trump administration is seeking $250 billion in payments to Americans starting April 6, followed by another $250 billion cash payment round beginning May 18, according to the working draft of the plan obtained by Fox Business Network.
“We are moving rapidly into what we call ‘phase three,’ which will …bring roughly $1.3 trillion of fiscal assistance,” Kudlow said. “That’s the best we can do.”
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“Like the rest of America…we are hoping and we are praying that our mitigation efforts brought by our superb health care team will work.”
Kudlow said the outbreak will only cause short term economic damage, calling it a “matter of weeks or months, not years.”
“We are putting in place a number of economic measures which will help the economy, individuals, small businesses,” he reiterated. “That’s the best we can do.”
Asked to comment on Trump’s overall response to the outbreak and the administration’s strategy to combat the spread of the virus, Kudlow said the “policy machinery” is doing very well, and expressed confidence in the country’s “indefatigable” leader.
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“I think the policy machinery is doing very well in the White House,” Kudlow said,” but I will tell you, the guy who leads us, the boss, President Trump, he is indefatigable and he is on it…so we have developed a good program.”
Kudlow highlighted the administration’s $300 billion request to assist small businesses, which have suffered under social isolation restrictions imposed by various cities including bans on dine-in services at bars and restaurants.
“We have enormous resources to deal with distressed industries…no question about that.”
— Larry Kudlow
“We have enormous resources to deal with distressed industries, no question about that,” he said. “We are particularly concerned and we are aiming our assistance plans not only at individual men and women but also at small businesses which are essential to large business supply chains.”
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He continued, “We have a very forceful plan … which could be leveraged even higher to help out small business people, self-employed people and again the individual hourly workers who have to stay home for a bit. “
When host Bill Hemmer asked Kudlow exactly how much the crisis would cost the country, Kudlow said he didn’t know, but suggested the economic hit could exceed $1 trillion.
“Look, I don’t know. We priced out a package, $1.3 trillion. If it takes more than that we will do more than that. By the way, I don’t want to belittle it, we have to deal with debt and deficits some point down the road, but during crises and wars you have to sort of not worry about borrowing.” he said.
Kudlow continued, “This country is so strong and our credit is so good and our currency is so reliable that we can afford to borrow money. Right now the average cost would be 30 or 40 basis points, that’s all. That’s a tiny price to pay to invest in the men and women and small businesses and so forth to keep the economy going.”
Kudlow said the country will face a “challenging second quarter.”
“No question about that. On the other hand, it’s possible that you will have a v-shaped recovery after that in the third and/or fourth quarter.”
Commenting on The Dow Jones Industrial Average’ latest plunge, Kudlow maintained confidence in the market’s recovery, urging American’s to adopt a “long term” investment strategy.
“You got to be an investor of the long term,” he explained.
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“I lived through the 1987 crash … I lived through the 2001 problem, I lived through the 2008 and 2009 problem … It was very difficult at the time, but we have come way back.”
Kudlow added that the market is “really very attractive if you have a long-term perspective. I’m not belittling the short-run problem, but … if you believe in this country and its free enterprise system and knowing that the federal government will do what it needs to do, then you should take some confidence in that.”
Fox News’ Marisa Schultz and Hillary Vaughn contributed to this report.