White House economic advisor breaks with Trump and says he’s ‘not so sure we need this massive stimulus bill’

Stephen Moore
Stephen Moore.

  • Economic advisor Stephen Moore said he’s “not so sure we need this massive stimulus bill” with $2,000 checks on the line.
  • After Congress finally passed the second coronavirus stimulus relief package, which included $600 checks, President Donald Trump urged lawmakers to reach a deal on $2,000 checks for Americans.
  • Economic recovery is not dependent on the stimulus, Moore suggested.
  • “We just need to get the vaccine out there,” he said. “And we need to get the businesses open in New York City and Los Angeles and Chicago and San Francisco.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Stephen Moore, an economic advisor to President Donald Trump, is arguing against a “massive stimulus bill,” according to The Hill.

In an interview with businessman John Catsimatidis on his WABC 770 AM radio show, Moore said the economy’s recovery is not dependent on the pandemic legislative relief package. It will recover “without all of this government spending,” he said, according to The Hill.

“I’m not so sure we need this massive stimulus bill,” Moore said. “We just need to get the vaccine out there. And we need to get the businesses open in New York City and Los Angeles and Chicago and San Francisco.”

The vaccine rollout effort began mid-way through December, immediately after Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine received approval from the Food and Drug Administration. 

But only about 3.5 million doses have been given out then. Business Insider’s Susie Neilson previously reported that the vaccine rollout has been slower than anticipated, and at this rate, it will take nine years to reach widespread vaccination. 

Also in December, after monthslong negotiation and delays, lawmakers finally reached a deal on another coronavirus stimulus package. It came with $600 direct checks for taxpayers, in an effort to offset some of the financial devastation brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. This was the second relief package since March, when Trump signed a bill that included $1,200 direct payments to Americans.  

Since the second bill, Trump has urged Congress to come to an agreement that includes $2,000 checks for Americans. House Democrats immediately pounced on the suggestion, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly shut it down. Friday became the fourth day in a row that Senate Republicans, led by McConnell, blocked the House-passed bill that includes $2,000 checks. 

This isn’t the first that time Moore has broken with Trump on stimulus. Earlier this week, Moore said the government, with the $2,000 push, is “spending money like it’s M&Ms.”

“Let me first go on record and say, it’s absurd, the $2,000 checks,” Moore said. “It’s not a way to stimulate the economy,” he argued, warning, “We are passing these costs onto our children and grandchildren.”

Moore’s remarks also contradict warnings from Fed Chair Jay Powell, who said in October that the economy might falter if another stimulus package didn’t make it through Congress. 

“Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses,” Powell said in a speech. Powell has consistently urged Congress to pass a stimulus package to help the economy recover from the devastation brought on by the coronavirus.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider asking about Moore’s comments. 

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House passes bill to increase $600 stimulus checks to $2,000. It now goes to the Senate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
The House passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus to help keep the US economy afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The House passed a bill to increase the $600 stimulus checks to $2,000 in a vote on Monday. The vote passed 275 to 134.
  • President Donald Trump signed the $900 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief package on Sunday, renewing his calls for Congress to raise the amount of the checks to $2,000.
  • GOP leaders in the Senate have signaled their opposition to raising the dollar amount of the checks.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The House of Representatives passed a bill to increase the $600 stimulus checks to $2,000 in a vote on Monday.

The vote passed 275 to 134. Forty-four House Republicans joined the Democrats in approving the bill.

President Donald Trump signed the $900 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief package – which includes the $600 stimulus checks – on Sunday, renewing his calls for Congress to raise the amount of the checks to $2,000.

GOP leaders in the Senate, however, have signaled their opposition to raising the dollar amount of the checks. The addition of $2,000 stimulus checks would likely push the total amount of the stimulus package well over $1 trillion – a price point which has some GOP opposition.

In his statement Sunday, the president said he wants “far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child,” adding that he is demanding “many rescissions” to the bill.

Following Trump’s criticism of the relief bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a Sunday statement that the president to “immediately call on Congressional Republicans to end their obstruction and to join him and Democrats.”

“Every Republican vote against this bill is a vote to deny the financial hardship that families face and to deny the American people the relief they need,” Pelosi continued.

It is not immediately clear if congressional GOP members will answer the president’s call for higher checks as the bill is sent over to the Senate for a final vote in Trump’s waning weeks in the White House.

President-elect Joe Biden has signaled his support for $2,000 direct payments earlier Monday, showing renewed promise that if the current bill is rejected in the Senate, that it could be resurrected under the incoming administration and new Congress.

This story is breaking. Check back for more details.

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