The Trump administration is working on the next steps in coronavirus pandemic relief, but the White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that the discussions remain "informal." Kudlow and other White House officials appeared on various news outlets on Sunday, confirming that the executive branch wants another relief bill to help combat the effects of COVID-19. However, Kudlow and his associates did not comment on any of the bills currently formulating in congress, saying that it is too soon to talk specifics.
The White House halted all formal negotiations with Congress until at least the end of May, according to a report by CNBC, and that includes weighing in on stimulus checks coronavirus relief options. However, on Sunday, Kudlow assured reporters on ABC News' This Week that that did not mean that they were ignoring the urgent matter of coronavirus relief. He said: "it's not that we're not talking. We are. It's just informal at this stage."
Kudlow has a conference call scheduled for Monday with Senate Democrats and Republicans, as well as his fellow White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett. This follows another call where 50 members of the U.S. congress spoke with Kudlow on Friday about the next steps in the pandemic response.
The U.S. government has passed four coronavirus relief packages, with the last one being the CARES Act, which guaranteed a stimulus check to millions of Americans. House Democrats reportedly want another proposal ready next week, which could include aid for state and local governments, funding for coronavirus testing and another round of stimulus checks for the American people. Various plans for these payments have been discusses, but so far both the Republican-led Senate and the White House have been hesitant to discuss more aid, according to CNBC.
"We think we have a little moment, a luxury of the moment, to learn about what's going on so that the next step that we take can be prudent," Hassett said on CNN on Sunday. "President Trump has signaled that while he doesn't want to bail out the states, he's willing to help cover some of the unexpected Covid expenses that have come their way."
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin took a similar tone on Sunday during his interview on Fox News. He said: "We just want to make sure that before we jump back in and spend another few trillion of taxpayers' money that we want to do it carefully. We're willing to spend whatever it takes. But whatever it takes needs to be done carefully."
These statements come as the unemployment rate in the U.S. reaches new heights, and millions of Americans are caught between returning to a potentially dangerous workplace and losing their benefits in states that are trying to reopen. For the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the websites of the CDC and the World Health Organization.