- The Washington Times - Monday, May 18, 2020

White House senior adviser Kevin Hassett on Monday said a substantial economic recovery should happen before the end of 2021 — a potential timeline recently floated by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome “Jay” Powell.

Mr. Hassett also said recent economic indicators are already showing positive signs to the point where another federal coronavirus rescue package might not be necessary.

“It looks to me like the activity is picking up,” Mr. Hassett said on CNBC. “Definitely you’re looking at a very strong third quarter [and] a very strong fourth quarter and probably a great next year.”

“I guess I disagree that it’s going to take all the way through the end of 2021 with Jay,” he said.

Mr. Hassett also told reporters Monday morning that officials are in a “wait and see” mode after Congress has approved close to $3 trillion in new spending to try to deal with and combat the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ve been really positively impressed at how quickly things are turning around,” he said. “If they continue to do that, we probably don’t need anything else. But maybe we will.”

In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Mr. Powell said the U.S. will weather the economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis but that the recovery process could take the country through the end of next year.

“We hope that it will be shorter than that, but no one really knows,” Mr. Powell said.

Mr. Hassett said on CNBC that he did agree with Mr. Powell’s statement that it will be critical to try to keep businesses from being forced to declare bankruptcy.

The Democratic-led House passed another $3 trillion package on Friday, but it’s unlikely that the GOP-controlled Senate will take it up.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has cited Mr. Powell recently to argue that more fiscal stimulus will be needed for the recovery.

Mr. Hassett also touted early positive results from a vaccine trial that Moderna Inc. reported on Monday.

“Imagine if, God willing, the vaccine were to come out relatively quickly — then I think all of you guys would be really confident that the economy could get going again and start roaring again right away,” he said in the TV appearance.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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