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Trade adviser says the White House wants $2 trillion manufacturing stimulus

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Saturday that the White House is targeting a phase four stimulus package focusing on American manufacturing that...

Posted: Jun 14, 2020 10:47 AM

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Saturday that the White House is targeting a phase four stimulus package focusing on American manufacturing that will be "at least $2 trillion dollars."

"We are facing significant structural headwinds" because certain service-oriented industries like entertainment, hospitality and transportation have especially been hurt because of Covid-19, Navarro told CNN. "The only way to fully rebuild the economy in the face of those headwinds is to significantly expand and strengthen our manufacturing base."

"Put simply, we need to create more manufacturing jobs," Navarro said. "Manufacturing jobs not only provide good wages but also create more jobs both up- and downstream through multiplier effects."

Navarro said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would like a $3 trillion dollar package, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would like a $1 trillion dollar package, but President Donald Trump would like a package of "at least $2 trillion dollars that is strategically focused around the President's two simple rules -- Buy American, Hire American -- along with incentives for American companies to bring offshored jobs back home."

On the timing of any potential deal, Navarro said it must be done before the August recess "for the sake of American workers and small businesses now in pain."

"But it's hard to pass bills when Capitol Hill is a ghost town," he added.

While Congressional Democrats have been pushing for a stage-four stimulus package to be passed very quickly, Republicans and the White House have been more cautious. Several of the administration's key economic advisers had recently said they do not see a need at this time for such an initiative.

Republicans have pointed to the surprising improvement in the jobless rate in May to argue against the need for more economic stimulus right now, which has raised questions about whether Congress will be able to agree to another recovery package after bipartisan deals led to a historic level of spending to prop up the economy earlier this spring.

Congressional Republican leaders and the White House have not come up with a unified position on a new recovery package.

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett told Fox News on Friday that officials were monitoring the latest data regarding the economic impact of Covid-19 and expected plans to be shared at the "end of July" for a plan to deal with the state of the economy at that time. In a separate interview this week with the Wall Street Journal, Hassett said the odds of a fourth package "are very, very high" although the unemployment numbers and other economic data are better than originally outlooked.

"The odds of a Phase Four deal is something we talked with the president about last week. We even had a small group meeting this morning to talk about it. The odds of a Phase Four deal are very, very high," he told the paper.

Administration officials said a team of experts was preparing options for such a package and added the President met with his economic team last week to discuss the issue.

"I can't say exactly what he's going to support," White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters last week. "He's been very clear about looking at a phase four, possibly infrastructure, more relief for distressed industries and individuals, growing the economy."

Washington injected a staggering $3 trillion in recovery programs during this spring alone.

House Democrats last month passed a sweeping new Covid-19 stimulus bill with a price tag that was expected to be more than $3 trillion -- an amount that would stand as the largest relief package in history if it becomes law.

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