Austan Goolsbee, a former top economic advisor under President Barack Obama, said congressional Democrats should pass a relief plan now and seek a larger one later.
“So if they have to accept half a loaf, then they should take half a loaf, and then let’s try to get another half of a loaf,” Goolsbee told CNN’s Manu Raju.
Congress has been gridlocked on another relief plan since the spring, and Democrats have wanted a larger package for months.
Austan Goolsbee, a former top economic advisor to former President Barack Obama, told CNN on Sunday that it was better for Democrats to accept a smaller relief package if it meant getting federal aid out the door faster.
Goolsbee, now a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, said many federal protections such as an eviction moratorium are expiring next month, raising the urgency.
“So if they have to accept half a loaf, then they should take half a loaf, and then let’s try to get another half of a loaf,” Goolsbee told CNN’s Manu Raju. “But right now is really touch and go, and I wish both sides could see that.”
Goolsbee’s comments echo House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s criticism of the White House’s initial $1.6 trillion stimulus offer almost two months ago.
“This isn’t half a loaf,” Pelosi told Bloomberg in early October. “What they’re offering is the heel of the loaf.”
Congress has not passed another coronavirus relief package since the spring and both parties are clashing on the size and scope of another rescue plan. Many economists are urging lawmakers to pass a relief bill because millions of unemployed Americans are set to lose all their jobless aid next month and virus cases continue to rise virtually unchecked nationwide, prompting a new wave of restrictions and business closures.
On Saturday, the US recorded 156,000 new cases, per John Hopkins University. Earlier this week, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the fourth-ranking Democrat, also urged passing an aid plan to support individuals and businesses through the winter even if it’s smaller than they want.
Democrats have long called for an expansive relief plan that includes new federal unemployment benefits, state aid, and a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks for taxpayers and public health funding. Republicans are seeking a smaller package that prioritizes aid for schools and small businesses, as well as health funding.
President-elect Joe Biden’s economic team is worried about the weak recovery turning into another recession, The New York Times recently reported. Biden supports the multitrillion stimulus plan that congressional Democrats favor.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has taken a backseat on the next relief package, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell taking the lead among Republicans.
On Sunday, Trump gave his first interview since the election to Fox News and didn’t bring up passing a coronavirus aid plan. He had repeatedly called for one in the run-up to November 3.
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