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White House economic adviser says it's 'premature' to decide on giving states federal aid

White House economic adviser says it's 'premature' to decide on giving states federal aid
© Greg Nash

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said Sunday it is “premature” for the Trump administration to decide whether to support including additional aid for states and local governments in the next coronavirus relief package. 

CNN’s “State of the Union” host Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperProgressive groups press Biden to pick Black woman solicitor general Hillicon Valley: Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security | Biden says China must play by 'international norms' | House Democrats use Markup app for leadership contest voting Biden aide seeks to ease concerns about Cabinet diversity MORE asked Hassett if governors can “count on” the Trump administration to approve the aid state leaders of both parties are asking for to fund educators and frontline first responders as the coronavirus pandemic decimates their budgets. 

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“We've got a bunch of economies around the country and around the world starting to turn the lights back on. [We’re] watching to see what happens to economic activity and the path of the disease,” Hassett responded. 

Hassett said the White House expected “very quickly” to have a picture on whether it needs to “slow recovery back down,” as some states start gradual reopenings.

But he said it is “premature” to decide on whether or not to give states federal aid, noting there’s still some aid from previous stimulus bills that will get delivered over the next month. 

“If we go to [a] Phase 4 deal, [President] Trump has signaled while he doesn't want to bail out the states, he’s willing to cover some of the unexpected,” Hassett said. 

Trump had previously signaled support for state and local aid, but in an interview with The New York Post in late-April he shifted away from support characterizing it as bailouts for states run by Democrats. 

Both Democratic and Republican governors have issued calls for federal funding to help fund frontline responders, including health care workers and police, as states face budget constraints due to the coronavirus pandemic.