Kudlow Says $400 Billion Virus Measures Under Way, More to Come By Bloomberg

© Reuters. Kudlow Says $400 Billion Virus Measures Under Way, More to Come

(Bloomberg) — Measures worth about $400 billion are already under way from the White House and Congress to offset the economic shock from the coronavirus — and the administration is ready to double that figure, President Donald Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Monday.

The $400 billion figure includes steps taken by the executive branch — including delay of tax deadlines and relief for interest payments on student loans — and legislation now in Congress that would expand sick leave and offer financial support for virus testing, Kudlow said in an interview with Fox Business Monday. He didn’t break down the numbers.

Speaking after the interview with reporters, Kudlow said the administration is ready to double the fiscal stimulus to $800 billion, with “most” of the remainder coming from a temporary cut in payroll taxes. Trump has backed that idea, but lawmakers from both parties have been unenthusiastic.

The U.S. is shutting down swaths of its economy to prevent the spread of the virus, following the path taken by other countries in Asia and Europe, and that’s set to deliver a sharper economic blow.

The Federal Reserve late Sunday cut its benchmark interest rate back to near zero and announced a massive program of bond-buying to cushion the impact of the epidemic. But economists say what’s really needed is fiscal support for households and businesses that lose income, and the administration has been criticized for being slow to act.

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