Speaking to reporters after his interview on Fox News, Hassett said that a potential phase four deal might be geared toward “growth and taking off and recovering, rather than just building a bridge to recovery.”
President Donald Trump said earlier in the week that he would consider funding for states in a potential “phase four” stimulus package, but that “we want to take a little bit of a pause” before passing such a package.
He argued that Republicans are in a much better negotiating position on funding for states, and if they agree to it, Republicans “have to get something for it.”
But this sort of logic and common sense is lost on Democrats who are fearful that the end of the crisis means that the House and Senate can’t be panicked into passing legislation unrelated to virus relief.
And now the shoe is on the other foot and Republicans want to use any funding bill for states to pass immigration measures, including the elimination of sanctuary cities.
But Hassett is thinking longer term.
On prospects of the US economy reopening, Hassett predicted that “almost every state will be mostly open economically” likely by the end of May.
He said that economic numbers over the next few months will be “as bad as you’ve ever seen” and repeated some of his dire predictions about the economic impact of Covid-19 that he has made in the past week.
Hassett said that unemployment might reach 19% and GDP loss for the second quarter could be as high as 40%.
Those gloomy numbers could mean that another taxpayer stimulus bill would be considered necessary by both parties.
One unknown factor is how committed governors are to reopening their economies if there is going to be a spike in positive tests and an increase in deaths. Everyone in the media, as well as Democrats, are going to be telling them they jumped the gun and opened their states too soon. There will be a lot of political pressure to shut down again.
But waiting until there are zero infections and deaths is ludicrous. Anything short of that will bring a political attack on Republicans “not caring” about people’s lives so GOP governors may as well open now. They have little to lose.