White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Sunday that he doesn't think the prospect on another round of coronavirus relief is dead "at all" and that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin "may" offer a proposal priced higher than Speaker Nancy Pelosi's most recent offer of $2.2 trillion.
"Secretary Mnuchin is up to 1.8 trillion. So the bid and the offer is narrowing somewhat between the two sides. President Trump actually has always said — I mean, I've heard him say it in the oval — as far as the key elements are concerned, the checks, the unemployment assistance, the small business assistance, we've got to help airlines out, he would go further. He's always said that," Kudlow said.
Kudlow said he spoke with Mnuchin last night on the matter. He noted that the Republican asked for targeted relief measures, including more federal unemployment assistance and another round of PPP loans and direct stimulus checks to individuals.
"They have bipartisan support. We could do it as standalone bills or an omnibus bill or whatever. But I do not understand the intransigence from my Democratic friends," Kudlow said, casting the blame on Democrats, even though many Senate Republicans have been resistant to a deal with a high price tag.
More context: On Saturday, Senate Republicans blasted a $1.8 trillion offer from the White House on a call with Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. While the sentiment was that talks with Pelosi should continue, it was clear that the White House plan had virtually no chance of passing the Senate, per multiple sources.
Asked about the Republican pushback, Kudlow demurred, saying "I don't know who we have lost" and noting the previous Republican efforts on a pared-down bill.
"Let's see what happens. I'm not negotiating today," Kudlow said.
This also comes after President Trump did an about-face on the negotiations this week, first, unilaterally putting a stop to the talks ahead of the election and then signing off on a $1.8 trillion proposal by Friday.
Kudlow reiterated his belief that economic recovery is not dependent on the passage of another stimulus bill.