CNN’s Dana Bash had a grueling interview with National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow as she pressed him on President Donald Trump’s coronavirus relief executive orders.
Trump signed a series of orders over the weekend after economic relief negotiations stalled in Congress, though they are expected to face legal challenges. As such, Bash started things off on Sunday by pressing Kudlow on the unemployment assistance Trump promised to the American people, and whether states have the money to provide the benefits that Trump’s order entails.
“Many states, as you know, are really struggling to make ends meet,” Bash said. “So let’s be clear, no unemployed American is going to get an extra penny unless their governor asks for it and can afford it. Is that right?”
Kudlow responded by insisting that struggling Americans can expect to receive $800 dollars in federal and state assistance, though Bash noted that the executive action says it would only account for $400 and 25 percent that would be paid by the state. As Kudlow elaborated on how the federal government would provide an add-on in response to benefits paid for by the states, Bash asked “what makes you think that states have that $100 a week per person who is unemployed in their state to even put into this potential pot of money?”
“Have you checked with the states, how many of the 50 states and D.C. and other territories say that they are going to be able to pony up $100 a week per unemployed citizen?” Bash followed up.
“We’ll probably find that out today or tomorrow as we make our canvas. We’ve been in touch with them,” Kudlow answered. “We have very good records coming out of the treasury department. But we will be in touch…”
“So you don’t know yet?” Bash asked. “The president didn’t know the answer to that before he made his announcement?
Shortly after that, Bash moved on to the legality of Trump’s orders by confronting him over a Fox Business interview where he said “We got to fix and extend the unemployment issue right now. I don’t think that can be done adnistratively. I think that requires an act of Congress.”
Well, I’m not the lawyer, and I probably spoke out of turn there because I worked all week with our counsel’s office and they proved to me that we could use the Stafford Emergency Act and that we could repurpose funds to do that. So I probably shouldn’t have said that. 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.
The two continued by sparing over the constitutional challenges to Trump’s orders, along with the question of whether Trump’s deferral of the payroll tax will impact Social Security or Medicare.
Watch above, via CNN.