Top Trump adviser Larry Kudlow says there's not enough time to pass a 'gigantic' stimulus bill with just 4 weeks until the election

  • White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow suggested the White House was focusing on a Supreme Court nomination instead of pushing another stimulus package.
  • "We've only got four weeks to the election, and we have a justice of the Supreme Court to get passed. It's too close to the election," Kudlow said on CNBC.
  • White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the Trump administration was open to a piecemeal approach to economic aid, though Democrats rejected those attempts in the past.
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White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow suggested on Wednesday morning the window for another "gigantic" relief package was rapidly closing, suggested the White House was focusing attention on a looming Supreme Court nomination battle instead.

During a CNBC interview, Kudlow said there was only a brief window for legislative action until Election Day and brought attention onto the White House's nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the high court. 

"We've only got four weeks to the election, and we have a justice of the Supreme Court to get passed. It's too close to the election — not enough time to get stuff done at this stage in the game," Kudlow said. "What the president was saying is, 'We're too far apart for a gigantic bill.'"

Kudlow reiterated that the Trump administration supported a piecemeal approach to stimulus. That was echoed by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who said stimulus negotiations are off.

Read more: Trump's policy chief explains in an exclusive interview why the White House just punted on a coronavirus stimulus deal

"We're looking at the potential for standalone bills, there's about 10 things we agree on," Meadows told reporters at the White House. "If the speaker is willing to look at those things on a piece-by-piece basis, we are willing to look at it."

He did not elaborate on those measures, though both the Trump administration and Democrats support additional small business aid, public health funding, and a second round of $1,200 direct payments, among others. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kudlow and Meadows' remarks come a day after President Donald Trump abruptly ordered Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to terminate negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on another coronavirus relief bill, saying in a surprising announcement a package would come after the election.

He also urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to focus on nominating Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Then hours later, Trump appeared to backtrack and called on Congress to pass a series of standalone bills to provide $1,200 direct payments for Americans and aid to small businesses and airlines.

"I am ready to sign right now," he wrote on Twitter and referred to Pelosi. "Are you listening Nancy?"

Democrats previously rebuffed GOP attempts to address in a piecemeal fashion the twin economic and health crises from the pandemic, saying a broad aid package is needed instead. It's still unclear why Trump scrapped the talks in the first place. But Pelosi has suggested Congress could provide emergency aid to airlines.

Major US airlines are moving to lay off 32,000 workers over the next few weeks barring extra government help. The six-month Payroll Support Program approved under another economic aid package in March recently expired.

On Wednesday morning, Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill wrote on Twitter that Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke over the phone about an airline assistance bill. Such a standalone deal would omit a range of other measures such as federal unemployment benefits, small business aid, and direct payments with bipartisan support.

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