Jul 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump allies weigh in on phase four coronavirus relief funding

Illustration of hands holding a sack full of money
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Conservative allies of the president are weighing in on the next tranche of coronavirus relief funding, warning that Trump's reelection could hinge on the economic impact of the new bill — and urging him not to extend unemployment benefits from the CARES Act.

Details: Publishing magnate Steve Forbes and economist Stephen Moore have been warning Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the administration's lead negotiator on stimulus talks, and members of the White House economic council that the stakes for the new package "couldn't be higher."

  • Moore tells me, "We're very worried about Trump doing a deal with [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi that would have very negative effects on the economy."
  • Moore predicted that if unemployment benefits from the CARES Act are extended, "You're not gonna have a jobs recovery in the fall. Not only is that bad for millions of Americans, but Trump can't win an election if we don't have a good economy."
  • Instead, they suggested Trump move ahead with a payroll tax cut (something Trump said is a must-have, but other Republicans aren't as keen on).

What's next: Moore and Forbes plan to send President Trump a letter outlining these concerns.

  • The letter will also state that that cutting a bad deal could be "reminiscent" of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 under President George H.W. Bush that raised taxes and "cost him the election."
  • They'll also be releasing an ad this week through the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, which was founded by Forbes, Moore and economist Art Laffer, detailing why an extension of the $600 weekly unemployment benefits would be "disastrous" for the president.
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