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Former national economic council director: I agree with 50 percent of House Democrats' HEROES Act

Former national economic council director: I agree with 50 percent of House Democrats' HEROES Act
© Greg Nash

Gary CohnGary David CohnThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience On The Money: Markets soar on Pfizer vaccine news | EU imposes tariffs on B of US goods over Boeing | Business groups applaud Biden's push for masks Former Trump economic aide Gary Cohn congratulates Biden MORE, the former director of the National Economic Council under President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE, said Sunday he agrees with half of the coronavirus relief package approved Friday by House Democrats. 

“I agree with 50 percent of what Speaker [Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSpending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation Rep. Rick Allen tests positive for COVID-19 MORE] was saying,” Cohn said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” referring to a separate interview the California Democrat had earlier on the same show discussing the HEROES Act that Democrats passed. 

“So part of the HEROES Act was to get money or is to get money to the states, to the state and local government. And I do think that is very important,” Cohn said.

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One-third of the $3 trillion bill includes funding for state and local governments. It’s a portion of the bill Senate Republicans have pushed back on. 

Governors of both parties have pushed for funding due to budgetary concerns amid the pandemic. 

“The state and local governments have been hard hit. The last thing we want to see is state and local governments in our time of need, having to lay off firemen, policemen, teachers, first responders, frontline people that we're reliant upon for our everyday life,” Cohn said. “That would be the complete wrong outcome here.”

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He echoed sentiments of state leaders, saying the federal government has to step in and help states the same way “they’ve helped small and big businesses.” 

“On the other half of the bill, and you didn't ask me about that, there are some things in there that are much more aimed at a recovery than the current position we're in,” Cohn said. 

He said “we need to reopen the economy” to get people back to work. 

“Those people earning less than $40,000 a year are very important and we rely on them. But think about the health-care system. The health-care system is 20 percent of our GDP. If we get our health-care system back up and running, a lot of people in the lower wage bracket end up working in the health-care system. We need that to happen,” Cohn said. 

Pelosi stressed the urgency for passing the next coronavirus relief bill in an interview Sunday on “Face the Nation.” 

She said hunger and joblessness, two issues facing American across the country amid the pandemic, do not “take a pause.”