White House Aide Warns of ‘Precipice’ Without New Virus Aid

U.S. families face a financial “chasm” as coronavirus aid expires, one of President Donald Trump’s senior economic advisers said as he called for Congress to reach a deal on a new stimulus package.

Peter Navarro, director of the White House’s Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, said Wednesday that the U.S. economy needs an extension of its Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses, expanded unemployment payments and direct payment benefits for families.

White House Aide Warns of ‘Precipice’ Without New Virus Aid

“We’re moving towards what could be a precipice unless we get to a Phase 4 deal,” Navarro told Bloomberg Television on Wednesday. Americans are hurting and that’s going to impact consumer spending, he said.

“What we need is a bridge, a fiscal bridge to the point where the vaccines kick in and we’re able to get back to a semblance of a regular economy,” he said. “What I see ahead is a chasm -- as all of these programs expire, we struggle with these structural adjustments.”

Navarro later declined to say how large an aid package he believes is needed.

Despite Navarro’s call for action, the White House has largely abandoned earlier efforts to encourage lawmakers to strike a fresh stimulus deal, following months of stalled negotiations.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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