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Top White House economic adviser attempts to explain Trump's coronavirus executive actions

The White House's top economic adviser on Sunday tried to explain how states and the federal government will be able to work together to provide enhanced une...

Posted: Aug 9, 2020 10:30 AM
Updated: Aug 10, 2020 10:49 AM

The White House's top economic adviser on Sunday tried to explain how states and the federal government will be able to work together to provide enhanced unemployment benefits prescribed by a series of executive actions for coronavirus economic relief that President Donald Trump signed a day earlier.

Larry Kudlow told CNN's Dana Bash on 'State of the Union' in an at times confusing series of answers that the administration expects states to be able to cover the portion of enhanced unemployment benefits that Trump ordered through executive action on Saturday. If states don't agree to participate and meet the financial requirement of paying 25% of the as much as $400 amount, people receiving benefits in those states will not receive any of the extra assistance.

'At a minimum, we will put in 300 bucks and the states will continue with their 400 bucks. But I think all they have to do is put up an extra dollar and we'll be able to throw in the extra $100,' he said. 'But on average, Dana, it'll run to about $800.'

Bash questioned Kudlow's statement, saying, 'But the executive action says $400 and that the state would pay 25% of this. You're talking about some other money that I don't know about.'

'Well, we will stand ready to re-purpose if states put in a little bit more is all it amounts to,' Kudlow said. 'Right now, that number's going to run around $700. I think they'll get to $800. Some states can get above $800 with our federal help.'

In continuing to press Kudlow on the figures, Bash called for a 'reality check.'

'We need a bit of a reality check here,' Bash said. 'You do agree that the only way any of this could possibly happen is if the states actually ask for it and create a whole new system. And is that what your expectation is?'

Kudlow didn't say how whether he agreed that states had the capacity to create a new system for the benefits or if they would ask for the money, instead saying, 'That's like topping it off. State benefits, we're talking about averages here across the country.'

'Our estimates from the Treasury Department in terms of the CARES Act one was that states have not spent all the money that was allocated to them,' Kudlow said, referring to the sweeping stimulus package Congress passed in March.

Kudlow said the White House expects states to use what he described as that 'considerable overflow' of previous stimulus funding to pay for the unemployment benefit. Trump's action requires states to provide $100 of the as much as $400 enhanced benefit, with the federal government providing the remaining $300. Some experts have said states will not be able to use those funds for this unemployment aid since it is a new program not authorized by Congress.

'We will be re-purposing funds from other areas' to pay for the federal portion of the benefit, Kudlow said, adding: 'Based on our estimates, the states will be able to provide the extra $100.'

Kudlow also defended the President's action establishing what the White House had described as an eviction moratorium -- though the action doesn't actually provide one.

'We're setting up a process, a mechanism,' Kudlow said of the action. He said the executive measure establishes a process that will allow the Department of Health and Human Services to flag areas of concerning Covid-19 spread, and within those areas it could apply more broadly.

'If HHS declares emergencies, then evictions will be stopped,' Kudlow said, noting that people living in federally financed single family homes will continue to be protected.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2729595

Reported Deaths: 57534
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings35008110971
Queens32689410411
Suffolk2554533688
Nassau2261353332
Bronx2133646806
New York1767984665
Westchester1481672356
Erie1248032050
Monroe976581253
Richmond928091973
Orange62183944
Onondaga59393818
Rockland55509783
Dutchess37964510
Albany34399413
Oneida33196643
Niagara28724419
Broome28212434
Saratoga24658225
Schenectady19328245
Ulster19063291
Rensselaer17411193
Chautauqua14985195
Oswego14170135
Putnam13145101
Chemung12834175
St. Lawrence12815143
Steuben12484190
Ontario11683119
Jefferson11388106
Wayne10251103
Cattaraugus9983157
Cayuga9729113
Sullivan958890
Genesee8633144
Herkimer8312143
Clinton809948
Fulton7854115
Tompkins741461
Madison7365109
Warren730096
Livingston722176
Montgomery7191162
Washington668580
Tioga634473
Cortland609489
Allegany5988122
Columbia5693113
Chenango554795
Orleans549496
Franklin541526
Otsego537063
Wyoming530266
Greene493189
Delaware439951
Lewis420340
Seneca324567
Essex298438
Schoharie268124
Yates198534
Schuyler193320
Hamilton5133
Unassigned1432
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