The White House on Thursday said it is “critical” that Congress act “quickly” on President Biden‘s proposals for coronavirus economic relief after a report showed that 900,000 Americans filed new unemployment claims last week, saying “long-term scarring” will only worsen” with delay.
White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese called Thursday morning’s jobs report “a stark reminder that we must act now” to get “immediate relief to families and spur our economy.”
“900,000 more Americans filed claims for unemployment because they are out of work in an economy that is moving in the wrong direction,” Deese said Thursday. “We must act now to get this virus under control, stabilize the economy, and reduce the long-term scarring that will only worsen if bold action isn’t taken.”
Deese said Biden has outlined a set of “decisive actions” in the American Rescue Plan to “extend unemployment insurance, finish the job in providing $2,000 in direct relief to Americans, and ensure that millions of our families who are struggling to make ends meet, put food on the table, and keep a roof over their head in the midst of this crisis are able to get to the other side with dignity.”
During his first day in office, Biden took executive action to extend eviction and foreclosure moratoriums to March 31, and extended the pause on federal student loan payments an interest through Sept. 30.
Deese, earlier this week, said the emergency measures “are important,” but said they are “not a substitute,” and urged Congress to pass legislation.
Biden last week unveiled a massive $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal which aims to combat the coronavirus and begins to pump up a U.S. economy severely battered by the worst pandemic to strike the globe in a century.
Over $1 trillion of that total price tag is for direct relief to individuals and families.
Biden’s plan would also extend and expand unemployment insurance benefits “so American workers can pay their bills” and would push to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Former President Donald Trump late last year temporarily refused to sign a bipartisan compromise into law, as he called for $2,000 relief payments to Americans. Biden and congressional Democrats also pushed for a increase to $2,000. Biden’s new plans gets the total direct relief to Americans to the $2,000 level.
It is unclear, at this point, when Congress will begin negotiations on Biden’s proposal.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.