White House economic adviser Peter Navarro criticized the $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus package passed by the House of Representatives on Friday night. Navarro's chief criticism of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act was its plan for a second stimulus check, which would go to any American with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). These numbers are given to immigrants to pay taxes, and Republicans have argued this means illegal immigrants could receive a payment.
"So, Nancy Pelosi basically lost me with that package when she has $1,200 checks for illegal immigrants. And it just goes downhill from there," Navarro said, without specifically mentioning other parts of the bill, during an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on This Week Sunday. "What we have to do, George, is basically go with the fiscal and monetary stimulus that we’ve been going through. We’ve got a lot coursing through the system now. We may need more. I’m going to let others above my pay grade negotiate that."
Stephanopoulos pointed out that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has said more help will be needed. Navarro said he was "focused on" the "structural adjustments we’re going to have to make." Navarro went on to explain, "So, what I'm focused on with President Trump is a buy American, deregulate, innovate agenda, which will start with bringing our pharma supply chains home, bringing our medical supplies and equipment supply chains home. So, we build it here. That will be both good economics, but also good national security."
Just before the HEROES Act went to the House floor for a vote, Republicans proposed cutting out a part that would retroactively sand stimulus checks to illegal immigrants, reports The Hill. The measure failed, even with 13 Democrats voting in support. Republicans believe the stimulus payments should only go to workers with Social Security numbers. Supporters of sending payments to anyone with an ITIN number noted that the coronavirus economic crisis has affected everyone, no matter their immigration status.
The HEROES Act only narrowly passed the House, as 14 Democrats voted against it. The bill is not expected to pass the Senate, as Republicans have not been in a rush to pass new coronavirus relief packages, even though about 36 million Americans have become unemployed since March. "Additional fiscal support could be costly but worth it if it helps avoid long-term economic damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery," Powell said last week during a video conference with the Peterson Institute for International Economics, reports the Washington Post.