Larry Kudlow, director of the U.S. National Economic Council, speaks to members of the media at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, March 24, 2020. Photographer: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Oliver Contreras | Sipa | Bloomberg via Getty Images
President Donald Trump and his top economic aide Larry Kudlow suggested Tuesday that a massive coronavirus stimulus bill could provide the foundation for an economic revival in the United States.
“Our people want to return to work,” Trump tweeted. “They will practice Social Distancing and all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively & lovingly. We can do two things together.”
He added that “THE CURE CANNOT BE WORSE (by far) THAN THE PROBLEM” – a stance he has repeatedly voiced in recent days. “Congress MUST ACT NOW. We will come back strong!”
Meanwhile, Kudlow told reporters at the White House that the economic stimulus bill in Congress could set the country up for a rebound in the U.S. economy in the second half of 2020.
Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, echoed Trump’s remarks from a Monday evening news briefing that some states with low numbers of confirmed cases might be able to ease off their restrictions quickly. That relief could come soon after the White House’s 15-day guidelines on social distancing expire next week, Kudlow said.
Trump has shown a sudden impatience with the extreme efforts in an increasing number of states to slow the spread of the deadly virus by shutting down restaurants and ordering people to stay in their homes.
Those actions have already had devastating impacts on the economy, driving stocks drastically lower and prompting a rapid surge of unemployment.
“At some point we’re going to open up our country, and it will be fairly soon,” Trump said at the Monday evening presser.
He tweeted earlier Tuesday morning that the more time lawmakers take to pass the stimulus bill, “the harder it will be to start up our economy. Our workers will be hurt!”
Congress is racing to buff the final sticking points out of the bill, which is expected to cost at least $1 trillion. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told CNBC on Tuesday morning that there is “real optimism” a deal could be reached within a few hours.
But that bill, if passed, would merely provide economic relief to individuals, companies and health-care institutions that have been hurt by the virus. It would not focus on flattening the growth of coronavirus cases, which have only moved higher as tests become more available.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose state has the highest number of infections in the country, said Tuesday that the recent acceleration in cases has been “troubling and astronomical” and desperately increases the need for more hospital beds.
Even some Trump administration officials have been reluctant to endorse the president’s view that businesses can be reopened in a matter of weeks, not months. Deborah Birx, a member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, on Monday would not directly say if she approved of Trump’s push to “reopen the country.”
“We’re pulling all of the data pieces in now … I will never speculate on data. I will have to see the data to really understand it,” Birx said.
The coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has spread throughout the globe over just a few months. In the U.S., at least 46,450 cases and 593 deaths from the COVID-19 virus have been confirmed so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
As Trump pushes for people to get back to work, other states are moving in the opposite direction. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham late Monday issued a stay-at-home order for all residents. The state’s top health official ordered all nonessential businesses closed.
Few other countries are currently looking to reverse course on the draconian measures being taken to slow the disease’s transmission. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for instance, announced a “total lockdown” for the country of 1.3 billion people during a televised address Tuesday night.