WASHINGTON — A better-than-expected jobs report Friday prompted some top Republicans and advisers of President Donald Trump to argue that additional coronavirus aid may not be necessary.
Stephen Moore, a conservative economist and Trump adviser, said the May numbers were "maybe the best monthly jobs report in American history" and he emphasized that additional federal spending to individuals, businesses or states is unnecessary.
"We certainly don’t need any new spending. We’ve already spent over $2 trillion. So we don’t need another spending bill for sure," Moore told NBC News. "We are in the recovery stage and we're no longer in the contraction stage."
"I don't think you're going to see any support among Republicans for a bailout of states and cities," he said. "The most important thing now is to get rid of the extra unemployment benefits that are so discouraging to work and unfair to people who are working."
The office of Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, a key author of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, also said the report provided evidence that further aid might not be needed.
"The jobs report underscores why Congress should take a thoughtful approach and not rush to pass expensive legislation paid for with more debt before gaining a better understanding of the economic condition of the country," Grassley spokesman Michael Zona said.
"Chairman Grassley will work with his colleagues on any potential further coronavirus response legislation if it becomes necessary," he said. "It’s too early to say what that legislation might encompass. It would need to address any ongoing problems in an effective manner and encourage further job growth."
The remarks cast fresh uncertainty on prospects of Congress passing another round of federal coronavirus aid. The U.S. added 2.5 million jobs in May, according to the new government report, with the unemployment rate falling to 13.3 percent (from 14.7 percent the previous month).
The report said 2.7 million people who were on "temporary layoff" went back to work in May while the number of "permanent job losers" rose by 295,000.
The Democratic-led House has passed the $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act, to provide aid to state and local governments, essential workers, employers and individuals. It extends the $600-per-week boost in coronavirus jobless benefits that are set to expire at the end of July.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who has endorsed the legislation, said Friday that with about 20 million people still jobless, "now is not the time to be complacent or take a victory lap."
He said "without additional government action, the gains seen today could evaporate and slide the economy right back into a ditch."
“In order to avoid the risk of another great depression, Senate Republicans ought to stop sitting on their hands and work with Democrats to immediately pass legislation to make sure that everyone in America has the income and job security they need to feed their families and put a roof over their heads."
Trump delivered celebratory remarks Friday in the White House Rose Garden declaring that the U.S. will be "biggest, stronger, better than we ever were."
The president said his next economic initiatives will focus on tax incentives and a payroll tax break, as advisers like Moore have called for, which put him further apart from the Democrats.
"We'll be going for a payroll tax cut," Trump said. "We're going to be doing things for restaurants and various pieces of the entertainment industry, which will be an incentive, whether it's deductions or whatever."