Wed. Mar 3rd, 2021

By JOSH BOAK, The Associated Press

BALTIMORE (AP) – President Joe Biden plans to take executive action on Friday to provide a stopgap measure of financial relief to millions of Americans, while Congress plans its $ 1.9 trillion package to help those affected by the coronavirus virus It seems to be big.

The two executive orders Biden signed will increase food aid, protect job seekers on unemployment, and clear the way for federal workers and contractors to get the $ 15 per hour minimum wage.

“The American people can’t wait,” said Brian Desse, director of the White House National Economic Council. They need help, and we are committed to helping as much as possible to provide that help as quickly as possible. “

Desse emphasized that the orders are not a substitute for additional stimulus, which Biden says is needed beyond the $ 4 trillion for aid that is already approved, including $ 900 billion last December. Many Republican lawmakers have voiced opposition to the provisions of Biden’s plan for direct payment of individuals, state and local government assistance, and a nationwide minimum wage of $ 15 an hour.

Most economists believe that the US can regenerate with strength after vaccination with coronaviruses, but the situation is still grim as the disease has closed businesses and schools. About 10 million jobs have been lost since last February, and about 30 million households do not have safe access to food.

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

According to a fact sheet provided by the White House, children who are unable to obtain school meals due to distance education may receive a 15% increase in food aid. The lowest income families may qualify for emergency benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. And the formula for calculating the cost of food can be more generous.

The order seeks to make it easier for people to claim direct payments from pre-aid packages and other benefits. Furthermore, it would create a guarantee that workers could still collect unemployment benefits if they refused to take a job that could endanger their health.

Biden’s second executive order would restore union bargaining rights revoked by the Trump administration, protect the civil service system and boost the $ 15 per hour minimum wage for all unionized workers. The Democratic president also plans to begin a 100-day process to allow the federal government to pay its contractors at least $ 15 an hour and provide emergency paid leave to workers, putting their salaries and benefits on other private employers To be pressured to promote.

These orders came after the Biden White House refused to provide a timeline for receiving its proposed relief package, saying officials have begun holding meetings with lawmakers to discuss the proposal.

White House press secretary Jane Saki said in a briefing Thursday that the proposal has support from Democratic Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders to the US Chamber of Commerce.

But not all components of the package are popular among Republicans, and it may delay passage in ways that could injure the economy. Sasaki stressed that Biden wants any deal to be bipartisan and that the process of meeting with MPs to talk through the plan is just beginning.

Biden should balance the need for immediate assistance against the risk of protracted negotiations. Sasaki told ABC’s “Good Morning America” ​​on Friday that Biden “is not going to bring equipment from the Republic” as he looks to bring Republicans to the table, and he argues that back-and-forth is “really How should it work in “

“We’ll find out what the sausage looks like when it comes out of the machine,” she said.

The Chief Policy Officer at the Chamber, Neil Bradley, told reporters on Thursday that Congress should work swiftly to approve nearly $ 400 billion for vaccination and reopening schools nationally and other elements of the plan, rather than Without negotiation.

“We are not going to stop areas of disagreement progressing in areas where we can find common ground,” Bradley said. “We cannot give the vaccination process six months to do the right thing. … We cannot wait six weeks for delivery of vaccination and for schools to reopen. “

AP writer Zeke Miller contributed to Washington.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This content may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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