Biden asked for help as talks began on a major aid plan


Baltimore President Joe Biden plans executive action Friday to provide a temporary measure of financial relief to millions of Americans as Congress begins to regard it as much larger. $ 1.9 trillion package To help those affected Coronavirus pandemic.

The two executive orders Biden will sign will increase food aid, protect jobseekers from unemployment, and pave the way for federal workers and contractors to obtain a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour.

“The American people cannot wait. A lot of them are hanging by a thread. They need help, and we are committed to doing everything we can to provide that assistance as quickly as possible,” said Brian Deiss, director of the White House National Economic Council.

Deese stressed that the requests are not substitutes for the extra stimulus Biden says is required in more than $ 4 trillion in aid that has already been approved, including $ 900 billion last December. Several Republican lawmakers have expressed opposition to the provisions of the Biden plan for direct payments to individuals, state and local government aid, and a nationwide minimum wage of $ 15 an hour.

Most economists believe that the United States can recover strongly once people are vaccinated against the Coronavirus, but the situation is still dire because The disease has shut down businesses and schools. It has lost nearly 10 million jobs since February, and nearly 30 million households Lacking safe access to food.

One of Biden’s orders asks the Agriculture Department to consider amending the rules for food aid so that the government is obligated to provide more money to the hungry.

Children who are unable to obtain school meals due to distance learning can receive a 15% increase in food aid, according to a fact sheet provided by the White House. Low-income families may qualify for emergency benefits from the Supplemental Food Assistance Program. And the meal costing formula could get more generous.

The order also tries to make it easier for people to demand direct payments from past aid packages and other benefits. In addition, this will create a guarantee that workers will still be able to collect unemployment benefits if they refuse to take up a job that could put their health at risk.

Biden’s second executive order would restore union bargaining rights that the Trump administration had repealed, protect the civil service system and promote a $ 15 hourly minimum wage for all federal workers. The Democratic president also plans to start a 100-day process for the federal government to require its contractors to pay at least $ 15 an hour and provide emergency paid leave for workers, which could pressure other private sector employers to increase their wages and benefits.

The orders arrive as Biden has refused the White House to provide a timetable for obtaining the proposed relief package, saying officials have begun to schedule meetings with lawmakers to discuss the proposal.

White House Press Secretary Jane Psaki He said at a news conference on Thursday that the proposal has support ranging from Social Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders To the American Chamber of Commerce.

But not all components of the package are popular with Republicans, and that could delay passage in ways that could harm the economy. Psaki confirmed that Biden wants any bipartisan agreement and that the process of meeting with lawmakers to talk about the plan has only just begun.

Biden must balance the need for immediate assistance and the risk of protracted negotiations. Psaki said Biden wouldn’t take options off the table but added later, “Part of the discussion we’re having with the members is, what do you want to cut?”

Neil Bradley, the chamber’s chief policy officer, told reporters on Thursday that Congress should act quickly to approve the nearly $ 400 billion in national vaccination, reopening schools and other elements of the plan with bipartisan support, rather than prolonging negotiations.

“We will not let areas of disagreement prevent progress in areas where we can find common ground,” Bradley said. We cannot bear six months until the vaccination process works properly. … We cannot wait until six weeks to distribute vaccines and reopen schools. “

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

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