Vice President Mike Pence, in an exclusive interview with Charles Payne’s Making Money, denied that a second wave of COVID-19 is on the horizon, and said that the White House is committed to ushering through another stimulus package, as well as a separate $400 billion infrastructure bill to pull America out of this coronavirus-induced recession.
The vice president criticized the media for propping up the threat of a second wave and accused them of trying to scare the American people.
“Despite the fact that some networks like to put maps up with lots of red states, the reality is, as of this morning, there are only eleven counties in America that are seeing accelerating new cases, and only about two percent of the counties in this country are seeing any significant increases in cases at all,” Pence said.
A Reuters analysis found that six U.S. states – Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon, Nevada and Texas – reported record spikes in new coronavirus cases on Tuesday. Some health officials attribute the increase to the gradual reopening of the economy in those states, but Pence claimed Wednesday that the increase in cases is due to America’s massive increase in testing capacity.
“The truth is, now that all 50 states and our territories are reopening, we’re proving we can do that in a safe and responsible way,” Pence said. “Areas where we're seeing increases in cases, places like Texas and Florida, the reality is that those states are also focusing on vulnerable populations, whether it be nursing homes, or prisons, or meat packing plants, and that combined with the massive increase in testing all across the country, I think is creating the impression for some Americans that we’re in a different place.”
Reuters found that testing increased 30 percent last week. A press secretary for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis told FOX Business that the Governor stands by his comments on Tuesday that the spike in cases is due to the state's increased testing capacity. Texas Governor Greg Abott has also attributed his state's spike in cases to more testing. Abbott's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Pence also said Wednesday that the White House is committed to backing a $400 billion infrastructure bill, which is less than half of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that Bloomberg reported the White House was weighing on Tuesday.
“I think our expectation now, Charles, is that infrastructure will be part of a separate piece of legislation. There is roughly a $400 billion dollar infrastructure bill that, with the president and our team have had conversations with about Capitol Hill,” Pence said.
In addition to the infrastructure bill, the White House is also working out another round of stimulus with Congress, which could be in the range of $2 trillion.
“It’s going to be focused on the American people, on making sure that families are able to get through this coronavirus pandemic. We’re going to help small businesses,” Pence said. “One of the things the president’s made very clear with leaders in Congress is we’ve got to have pro-growth policies in this next round. The president wants to see a payroll tax cut, that’s going to put, that’s going to put money in the pockets of working Americans.”
In addition to a payroll tax cut, Republicans want liability protection for businesses that are reopening and incentives for people to return to work instead of staying on unemployment insurance. Meanwhile, Democrats want an extension of those unemployment benefits, as well as direct aid to states. White House officials reportedly believe they can get this fourth round of stimulus on the President's desk before Congress breaks for its August recess.