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Biden orders Emergency Economic Measures

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President Joe Biden plans to sign emergency decrees in the coming hours Friday to provide financial aid to millions of Americans as Congress begins discussions on the $1.9 trillion package to help those affected from the pandemic.

The two executive orders Biden will sign increase food aid, protect the unemployed and pave the way for federal government employees and contractors to earn a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour.

“The American people cannot afford to wait,” said White House Economic Council Director Brian Deese. “Many are hanging by a thread. They require help and we are committed to doing everything possible to provide that help as soon as possible. “

Deese stressed that the decrees do not replace the additional stimulus that Biden says is necessary beyond the 4 trillion dollars of aid already approved, including 900,000 million in December. Several Republican lawmakers have declared their opposition to certain provisions of Biden’s plan to make direct payments to individuals, aid to state and local governments and a national 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 remains dire with the closure of businesses and schools. Almost 10 million jobs have been lost since February and almost 30 million families do not have guaranteed access to food.

One of Biden’s orders asks the Department of Agriculture to study an adjustment to food aid rules so that the government is forced to give more money to the hungry.

Children unable to eat lunch in the school cafeteria due to distance learning would receive a 15% increase in food aid, according to a White House briefing document. Lower-income families may receive emergency benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The order also tries to make it easier for people to claim direct payments for care packages and other past benefits. Furthermore, it would create a guarantee that workers could continue to collect unemployment benefit if they refuse to accept a job that endangers their health.

Biden’s second executive order would restore bargaining rights overridden by the previous government to unions, protect the civilian employment system, and promote a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour for all federal public employees. The Democratic president wants to start a 100-day process for contractors to pay the minimum of $ 15 an hour and give their workers emergency pay leave, which would put pressure on the private sector to raise wages and benefits.

Meanwhile, the White House refuses to talk about deadlines for approving its rescue package and says its officials are just beginning to arrange meetings with lawmakers to discuss the proposal.

Ben Oakley
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