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White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that he regrets suggesting this week that unemployment benefits can only be extended by Congress.

Why it matters: President Trump's decision to bypass Congress to sign four executive actions, including one that provides $400 per week in extra unemployment benefits, has prompted outcry from Democrats and even some Republicans who believe he is overstepping his constitutional authority.

  • Trump, who signed the orders after negotiations with Democrats over coronavirus relief broke down, has limited power to unilaterally appropriate federal spending and risks a legal challenge.
  • Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) was among the Republicans who condemned Trump's move, calling it "unconstitutional slop."

What he's saying: Asked to clarify an interview he gave earlier in the week to Fox Business, Kudlow said: "I'm not the lawyer and I probably spoke out of turn there."

  • "I was thinking at that point we might be able to get a deal with congressional Democrats. As you know, we were unable to get that deal. We tried a couple times, we offered compromises, we couldn't get it.
  • "So the president decided to take action on his own. Of course I think he was right to do so, and when the lawyers gave me a green light then, sure, no problem."

The big picture: Kudlow acknowledged that it's not clear whether states have the money to provide 25% of the additional unemployment benefits, as ordered by Trump. "We'll probably find that out today or tomorrow as we make our canvas," he told CNN.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 12, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Top GOP senators say Biden should have access to classified briefings

A growing number of Republican senators, including members of GOP leadership, said Thursday that President-elect Joe Biden should get the intelligence briefings that he is currently unable to receive because of President Trump's refusal to accept the election results.

Why it matters: Only four GOP senators have acknowledged Biden as the next president, with the rest saying the appropriate legal processes should be allowed to play out. But even the ones still supporting President Trump's legal fight are pushing for Biden to begin to receive classified briefings for national security reasons.

18 mins ago - World

Putin foe Navalny to be detained for 30 days after returning to Moscow

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Photo: Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for 30 days, following his arrest upon returning to Russia on Sunday for the first time since a failed assassination attempt last year.

Why it matters: The detention of Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and the most prominent domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has already set off a chorus of condemnations from leaders in Europe and the U.S.

Biden picks Warren allies to lead SEC, CFPB

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has selected FTC commissioner Rohit Chopra to be the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Obama-era Wall Street regulator Gary Gensler to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Why it matters: Both picks are progressive allies of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and viewed as likely to take aggressive steps to regulate big business.