Trump 'felt he had to take action' on coronavirus relief: Kudlow

George Stephanopoulos interviews White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow on "This Week."
10:27 | 08/09/20

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Transcript for Trump 'felt he had to take action' on coronavirus relief: Kudlow
Let's get a white house response from the president's top economic adviser, Larry kudlow. Thank you for joining us. This morning, let me give you a chance to respond senator Schumer. You saw him right there saying that the president's proposal are weak, narrow and unworkable. Well, look, I think that providing significant economic assistance, even though the numbers are coming in very strong, good jobs number on Friday, declining unemployment, we've created over 9 million jobs in three months, that's record. There's still a lot of hardship out there and heartbreak out there. The point that president trump made yesterday is that on a several occasions we tried to get, for example, a compromised deal on the unemployment assistance, which ran out, the federal unemployment assistance, that's a key point. And another key point is the eviction moratorium because the Democrats rejected various compromises, at least twice to my knowledge. The president felt he had to take action, and it will be timely action. It will be temporary action to be sure mostly out until the end of this year. But let's help those -- Larry, the president doesn't extend the federal eviction moratorium. I looked at the executive order, it simply directs hud to find a way to help people and it doesn't include extending the eviction moratorium. Look, that's not entirely true. It is true. I just read it. The secretary of health, if any determination is made that there's a health threat of community spread due to evictions or forbearance that they would take action, so that's clear, and that's exactly what the health secretary is going to do. We also are going to be working through other agencies to spend some money for example for rental assistance and federally backed housing, whether it's single family or multifamily, if there's any forbearance, so it's just says there's going to be a review, I can tell you, George, the intent of that is that the review will prevent any evictions. We've been fortunate so far. But this is a guardrail and it will work out beautifully. Okay, I understand that. You say that's the intent. Clarify, I'm reading page 3, such action may include encouraging and providing assistance to public housing authorities, minimizing evictions and foreclosures, it doesn't talk about extending the moratorium. Some other issues as well, especially on this proposal to extend unemployment insurance benefits, $300 federal contribution, $100 from the states under a new program, you heard senator Schumer said states won't be able to get this up and running in time and a huge delay in getting the money to people. Well, look, I don't think there will be a huge delay. The labor department has been working with the states, the states are the ones that process the federal benefits before. So I don't see any reason why it would be all that difficult. Most of their systems have been upgraded. The labor department will be deeply involved in helping them out. I mean, in terms of delays what good is delay of the legislation if you can't -- if you don't think you can process anything? We should have gotten this done weeks ago, now we will take 75% of the cost share so that if states put up another $100 from $350 or $400, which is their average across the country, then you'll have essentially $300 to $400-plus, really if the states are generous, $800 unemployment assistance per week out to the end of the year, I think that's a compromised view, we tried to get that through a couple times. We weren't able to compromise. So the president's gone ahead and done it himself. I think it's going to help a lot of people. That plus the payroll tax and some other things. On the payroll tax, it's not a tax cut, it's a tax defrlg. Deferral. Senator Schumer has talked to employers will continue to withhold the money they don't want to be on the hook for it later on. It will only help those who actually have jobs. Finally, even some Republicans are weighing. Senator Ben sasse said it's unconstitutional slop. President doesn't have the power to unilaterally re-write the payroll tax law. Well, okay, I appreciate those things, maybe we'll go to court on them. We're going to go ahead with our actions anyway. Our counsel's office, the treasury department believes it has the authority to temporarily suspend tax collections so we're banking on that. We've had also the repurposing of funds, George, that was decided in our favor in the supreme court case involving the Mexican wall a while back. So we think we can do it. I do think the president and it's in executive order would like very much to make the deferral a permanent deferral. In other words, he'll essentially let it go in future months rather than a payback. So it will be, you know, loan forgiveness in effect, and I think businesses will welcome it. You're right, there are many people working than not working, that's a good thing. But there are roughly 140 million people who are working. There are roughly 15 million, 16 million who are unemployed. The unemployed is too high. But the 140 million they're going to get a gigantic wage increase, probably $1200 between September 1st and December 31st and, again, we'll do everything we can to forgive those loans. I think that's an incentive to work for those who are heroes during the pandemic and also for the unemployed it gives them the incentive to come back to work to offset some of the excesses of unemployment assistance. You just said this could face legal challenge, that seems pretty clear that's going to happen. You said right now the Democrats are also saying you're not doing enough on testing, to help schools, state and local governments, why not go back to the negotiating table and get this done, isn't the quickest and easiest route to guarantee relief? Well, I don't think -- the president has said we can go back to the negotiating table, we've not said no to that. Except his team walked away. Secretary mnuchin. Well, look, secretary mnuchin and chief meadows have been up there every single day for long periods of time. We provide as much staff and policy support as we can behind the scenes to back it up. We have proposed a large school assistance for covid. We want kids to go back to school. We put $105 billion on the board and the Democrats rejected it. We actually exceeded their original. It was $100 billion. Across the board we've done all these things, I listened to what senator Schumer was doing. -- Saying. We have massive testing program. We're testing 1 million people per day. I think something like 60 million, 65 million, by far the largest in the world. Thankfully by the way, with the distancing and with the masking and with the hygiene and with the testing where applicable, we've seen now the mitigation is working and the curves are flattening out in Texas and California and Florida. That's a real good thing. We put these things -- look, can I just -- I don't want to get overly political. For heaven's sake, the president said yesterday, one-third of the democratic proposals had absolutely nothing to do with covid. They're talking about harvesting mail-in votes, mail-in votes themselves, no signatures, no sending assistance to illegal aliens. Letting felons out of jail. It's a very liberal left democratic wish list that had nothing to do with covid. Well -- Remove that stuff we would probably have better grounds to negotiate. Larry, we could go back and forth on that. Democrats complain that the president wanted to put funds for building an FBI building in downtown Washington in way some critics said would help his hotel. You made that point about covid and mitigation, the Washington post is reporting this morning, that an internal model of the president's counsel and economic advisers predicts quote a looming disasters with the number of infections expected to rise later in August, September and October in the midwest and elsewhere, have you seen this analysis, how worried are you? I have not, George. I have not seen that analysis. All my discussions with my colleagues I haven't heard anything about that. As I've said, having gone through a very tough period as the virus spreads to the south and west. It looks like we're making pretty good progress. Am I worried in general? I'm always worried in general. Things happened here that no one expected. We're constantly concerned. We sent our CDC people, ambassador Dr. Deborah birx she's gone down to look at the hot spots and emphasizing, again, our guidelines, Fauci has done the same thing, Stephen Hahn has done the same thing, vice president pence has been all over it. The president has been monitoring it and is now reporting to the nation each evening. On a daily basis. Sure we're always worried. But I haven't seen that kind of apocalypse scenario. I case in the game, you can't rule anything in or anything out. I understand that. No, I'm not aware of any such scenario coming from the CDC. Larry, thank you for your time this morning. Thank you, George.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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