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Gary Cohn, a former White House economic adviser, called on Congress to pass additional relief measures to aid the U.S. economy's recovery from the coronavirus lockdown.
"Washington still needs to do more to help businesses reopen," Cohn told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo during an interview on Thursday. ."We need to make sure we take care of the legal liability issue. I think more businesses would open if they didn't think they had the threat of legal action or a liability action if someone got sick coming to work."
In a Washington Post op-ed published on Monday, Cohn laid out a path for the U.S. economy to recover from the coronavirus lockdown, including a sales tax holiday and incentives for Americans to return to an office-based working space.
Although he called the extra $600-a-week unemployment benefits "the right answer" initially, Cohn said the sweetened aid has created a disincentive to employers trying to get workers back to their jobs.
For the recovery to truly be sustainable, we must be bold," he said, adding: "Just as the Great Depression spurred programs to develop nationwide infrastructure, we, too, should put Americans back to work building next-generation infrastructure — from high-speed rail to upgraded telecommunications networks."
Cohn's comments come as the majority of U.S. states begin to ease stay-at-home guidelines and reopen their economies. He said the state-by-state approach was necessary to avoid a surge in COVID-19 cases.
"We need to have that experiment go on," he said. "We can't have that big bang. Because that would put our overall economy at risk."
Congress has passed four massive economic-relief packages totaling nearly $3 trillion to blunt the virus outbreak's effect on workers and businesses.
House Democrats passed a $3 trillion economic-relief plan two weeks ago that would have extended the additional jobless money through the end of January; however, Senate Republicans have declared the bill dead on arrival.