White House trade adviser Peter Navarro signaled that President Donald Trump is looking for at least $2 trillion in the next relief package being considered to help buoy an economy devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The president is very interested in something on the order of at least $2 trillion,” Navarro said about a possible fourth round of stimulus during an interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo broadcast Friday evening.
Navarro said the White House would also like to see a “critical” payroll tax cut and a focus on bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. in any further relief bill.
Trump’s position is likely to be at odds with congressional leaders, including members of his own party.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stressed to Trump that he would prefer a smaller package to the tune of $1 trillion, while Speaker Nancy Pelosi shepherded a $3 trillion package through the House last month with a major focus on providing direct relief to American families and state, local and tribal governments.
Since early March, Trump has signed into law three relief bills passed by Congress totaling nearly $3 trillion in federal funds to address the ongoing pandemic.
White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said in a Wall Street Journal interview last week that the odds of a phase four package passing Congress before August “are very, very high.”
Navarro specifically mentioned pharmaceutical companies and medical supplies as parts of the manufacturing base the White House would like a bill to target.
“We need to make our medicines here, we need to make our masks here, our ventilators and all of that,” he said.
“For me and for this president, one of the key thrusts of any phase four — and any economic plan — going forward has to be manufacturing jobs, a focus on buy American, hire American, make it in the U.S.A.,” Navarro said. “What we need to do as a country is to make more stuff here.”
The coronavirus has “hit the twin pillars of our major cities, which are the … high-rise density and mass transit,” Navarro said. “If you don’t have those working, you don’t have a city.”
Navarro did not say whether the bill should include additional relief for American cities.