FILE PHOTO: White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow (CT) speaks by video feed during the largely virtual 2020 Republican National Convention broadcast from Washington, U.S. August 25, 2020. 2020 Republican National Convention/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Friday said negotiations on another coronavirus relief bill are continuing, but said the United States can survive the end of the year without another round of aid meant to alleviate economic pain caused by the pandemic.
“Look, we can live with it. We can absolutely live with it,” Kudlow told Bloomberg TV when asked how comfortable he would be if the Republican White House and Democrats in Congress do not reach a deal by the end of the year.
Kudlow added that a “smart, well-targeted” package that includes employment assistance, funding to reopen schools and an extension of small-business loans “would be helpful.”
“Do we absolutely need it? No. I’m not going to precondition anything here,” he said, pointing to a Friday report that showed the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.4% last month while the country added 1.37 million jobs. “Right now the economy is on a self-sustaining recovery path in my judgment and will continue along those lines, and will continue to surprise on the upside.”
Negotiations for a fourth large stimulus package have been stalled for weeks, and Kudlow said the disagreements on its size and scope are “wide.” The Republican-led Senate left town last month without taking up another $3 trillion aid package the House of Representatives, controlled by Democrats, passed in May or an alternative.
Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Timothy Ahmann; editing by Jonathan Oatis