Navarro floats $2T price tag for next coronavirus relief bill

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White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said the next coronavirus relief package could provide funding up to $2 trillion as Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill debate what should be included in the next round of legislation.

Navarro said the next package should focus on the manufacturing sector with the motto of “buy American, hire American.” 

“It’ll simultaneously create more manufacturing jobs, which tend to pay much higher wages, and it’ll also help the ripple effect to create a lot of those service sector jobs, which we are going to lose to dislocation as we adjust. So the phase four, when you talk about a $3 trillion program by [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.], you hear from [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell [R-Ky.] only $1 trillion, the president is very interested in something on the order of at least $2 trillion,” Navarro said Friday on Fox Business. 

Navarro said the “bulk” of a future package should be focused on the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies and equipment. 

The remarks come as Congress grapples with further action on the coronavirus while cases spike in more than a dozen states across the country. 

House Democrats last month unveiled a $3 trillion coronavirus relief package that includes funding for food assistance and state and local governments, which members of the lower chamber say will address the dwindling state budgets that have been used to fight the pandemic.

It also includes another round of direct stimulus payments to individuals, hazard pay for essential workers on the front lines of the pandemic and money to help voters mail in ballots for the November elections. 

Republicans have dismissed the legislation as a grab bag of liberal priorities and have instead adopted a wait-and-see approach, particularly after the economy added jobs in May. The Senate GOP has said it does not expect to be able to pass another coronavirus relief bill until mid-July or later.

Still, Navarro expressed confidence that the White House would be able to helm a successful economy regardless of what kind of legislation is ultimately passed.

“The economic crisis we’re facing, we can deal with. We have a president who in three years built the most beautiful economy in modern history. We can do it again, but it’s going to be a different strategy than the last time,” he said.

“First-time tax cuts, deregulation, cheap energy and above all fair trade deals. We’re going to do all of that, but we’ve got to do more. We’ve got to focus on this buy American, hire American, make it here so that all around this great country we’re going to have Americans making stuff with high technology.”

Tags Buy American Coronavirus coronavirus relief legislation Manufacturing Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Pandemic Peter Navarro Stimulus Package

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