Overnight Finance

On The Money: Trump makes a late pitch on the economy | US economy records record GDP gains after historic COVID-19 drop | Pelosi eyes big COVID-19 deal in lame duck

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THE BIG DEAL—Trump makes a late pitch on the economy: President Trump’s campaign is seizing on record-breaking U.S. economic growth in the third quarter to make a last-ditch effort at convincing voters that he is the best candidate to handle the recovery from the coronavirus recession.

  • The economy had long been seen as Trump’s ticket to a second term, and polls show he retains generally favorable ratings on the issue. 
  • Yet this strength has been weakened by the coronavirus pandemic, and polls show Trump trailing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden nationally and in key swing states.

The president has sought to assure voters that he is best equipped to bring the U.S. economy back to its pre-pandemic strength. But while new figures represent good news, economists warn that they do not reflect all of the deepening damage wrought by the pandemic. The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant and I explain here.

The numbers: The U.S. economy grew at a record 33.1 percent annualized rate in the third quarter, swiftly recovering some of the deep losses driven by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released Thursday by the Commerce Department.

  • The seasonally-adjusted rate of growth, an advance estimate from the department, means that if the pace of economic growth between July and September spanned 12 months, the U.S. economy would have increased in size by roughly a third.
  • On a non-annualized basis, the economy grew by 7.4 percent in the third quarter.
  • GDP would have needed to rise at a 45.7 percent annualized rate in the third quarter to recover the total loss in the first and second quarters.

Read more: US economy records record GDP gains after historic COVID-19 drop

The politics: 

  • Trump repeatedly cited the 33.1 percent figure during a campaign rally in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, as he promised future tax cuts and record job growth. 
  • But the president muddled his own message as he oscillated back and forth to other topics.

“I got a call from all the experts, right, guys that ran for president six, seven, eight times, never got past the first round, but they’re calling up, ‘Sir, you shouldn’t be speaking about Hunter [Biden],’ ” Trump told the crowd. “They say, talk about your economic success. Talk about 33.1 percent, the greatest in history. Look, if I do, how many times can I say it?” 



Pelosi, eyeing big COVID-19 deal in lame duck, wants ‘clean slate’ for Biden: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Democrats want to pass coronavirus aid this year, empowering a potential President Joe Biden to quickly move on to other party priorities in 2021.

  • Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress have outlined ambitious legislative plans for next year, including efforts to bolster the nation’s infrastructure, lower prescription drug costs, tackle climate change and reform the campaign finance system. 
  • Confident in a Biden victory, Pelosi said she wants to help jumpstart that agenda by moving another massive coronavirus package before year’s end.

“We have plenty of work to do in the Joe Biden administration,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. “We’ll be working between the White House and the Congress to get those jobs done, so we want to have as clean a slate as possible going into January.” The Hill’s Mike Lillis has more here.

New tensions between Pelosi and White House: That might be easier said than done.

  • Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have hit a wall in their talks over another round of emergency coronavirus relief, all but abandoning the negotiations before Election Day.
  • In a letter to Mnuchin, she pressed the White House for a response to the Democrats’ latest offer on emergency coronavirus relief.

“Your responses are critical for our negotiations to continue,” Pelosi wrote. “The President’s words … only have meaning if he can get [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to take his hand off the pause button.”

But Mnuchin and Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow did not appreciate the pressure — nor that fact the the media saw the letter before they did.

  • “Our team now believes that the Speaker has no intention of compromising on key issues,” Kudlow said. “She is stringing us along.”
  • “I woke up this morning and read @SpeakerPelosi’s letter to me in the press. Enclosed is my response. Her ALL OR NONE approach is hurting hard-working Americans who need help NOW!” Mnuchin tweeted with a letter of his own attached.


Weekly jobless claims fall to 751,000 in last report before election: Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell to 751,000 on a seasonally-adjusted basis in the week ending Oct. 24, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

  • Initial claims decreased by 40,000 from the previous week’s revised amount of 791,000. 
  • The Labor Department initially reported last week that there had been 787,000 new claims for unemployment insurance in the week ending Oct. 17.
  • The amount of new jobless claims in the week ending Oct. 24 was lower than economists’ expectation of 775,000.
  • The number of unadjusted claims was 732,223, a decrease of 28,354 from the previous week.

The report is the last batch of weekly jobless claims data that the Labor Department is releasing before Tuesday’s presidential election. The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda breaks it down here.



  • America’s biggest tech companies on Thursday reported massive earnings for the third quarter of 2020, strengthening their positions at a time when the coronavirus recession is ravaging other industries.
  • Foreign Policy: “Wilbur Ross Remained on Chinese Joint Venture Board While Running U.S.-China Trade War”
  • Bloomberg News: “An Avalanche of Fraud Buried a Small-Business Relief Program”
  • The New York Times: “Iowa Never Locked Down. Its Economy Is Struggling Anyway.”



  • Walmart announced Thursday that it has removed ammunition and firearms from sales floors at its U.S. locations in anticipation of “civil unrest” in parts of the country.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) declined to reveal Thursday whether he would sign off on the sale of the New York Mets to a hedge fund billionaire who was punished by federal regulators for conduct related to an insider trading scheme.
Tags Bill de Blasio Donald Trump Joe Biden Larry Kudlow Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Steven Mnuchin Wilbur Ross

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