Joe Biden signs executive orders to boost economic relief for Americans
US President Joe Biden has signed a slew of executive orders, including a one to fix the country's economy which has been battered by the once-in-a-century public health crisis that has also left some 18 million Americans unemployed.
On day three of his presidency, Biden announced 'The American Rescue Plan' that includes economic relief for most Americans who are in need and to boost economic relief for the people struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are going to finish the job of getting a total of USD 2,000 in direct payments to folks, USD 600 which was already passed is simply not enough if you still have to choose between paying your rent and putting food on the table,” he said.
“We cannot, will not let people go hungry. We cannot let people be evicted because of nothing they did themselves. … We have to act,” he said in remarks at the White House.
Biden said under his rescue plan, the economy would return to full employment a year faster than without the plan.
On January 15, while announcing the USD 1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus plan to revive the US economy, Biden said that millions of Americans through no fault of their own have lost the dignity and respect that comes with a job and a paycheck.
Some 18 million Americans are still relying on unemployment insurance and nearly 400,000 small businesses have permanently closed their doors.
“It's not just to meet the moral obligation to treat our fellow Americans with the dignity and respect they deserve, this is an economic imperative, a growing economic consensus that we must act decisively and boldly to grow the economy for all Americans not just for tomorrow but in the future,” Biden said.
He also said that unemployment insurance benefits will be extended for millions of workers beyond the deadline that is now set. It means that millions of Americans who are currently relying on unemployment benefits while they look for work can count on these checks continuing to be there in the middle of this crisis.
Biden said his plan also addresses the growing housing crisis in America.
Approximately 14 million Americans have fallen behind on rent, and many risk eviction.
“If we fail to act, there will be a wave of evictions and foreclosures in the coming months as this pandemic rages on because there's nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months,” he said.
Biden said that he has directed his administration to extend nationwide restrictions on evictions and foreclosures. These crises are straining the budgets of states and cities, and tribal communities that are forced to consider layoffs and service reductions among essential workers, police officers, firefighters, first responders, nurses are all at the risk of losing their jobs.
Over the last year, more than 600,000 educators have lost their jobs in cities and towns, he said.
The American Rescue Plan would provide emergency funding to keep these essential workers on the job and maintain essential services. It will also help small businesses that are the engines of economic growth.
“When you say small business, most people think the major corporate entities are the ones that hire everybody. These small businesses are the glue that holds, and they are important, but the small businesses hold the community the glue that holds these communities together,” he said.
The recovery plan also calls for an increase in the minimum wage at least USD 15 an hour.
“No one in America should work 40 hours a week, making below the poverty line; USD 15 gets people above the poverty line,” he said adding that the American Rescue Plan would lift 12 million Americans out of poverty and cut child poverty in half.
“That is five million children lifted out of poverty. Our plan would reduce poverty in the black community by one-third and reduce poverty in the Hispanic community by almost 40 per cent,” he said.
As a result of the pandemic, more than 10 million Americans are unemployed, 14 million renters are behind on payments, and 29 million adults - and at least 8 million children - are struggling with food insecurity, the White House said in a fact sheet. The US is the worst affected country from the pandemic with over 24,818,779 people hit with the coronavirus, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus tracker.
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