President Joe Biden met with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Jan. 30 to discuss the pandemic’s economy and spending. Biden promoted his $1.9 trillion in covid relief spending and the need to act swiftly.
Biden’s American Rescue Plan, announced on Jan. 20, allocates $400 billion to vaccination and public health jobs plan involving emergency paid leave for people employed at schools. $50 billion will go to a massive expansion of covid testing. Another $1 trillion would be allocated toward working families’ economic recovery, including $1,400 stimulus checks, with an extra $400 a week for workers who were hit hardest with the pandemic. Biden also wants to up the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which he believes will help frontline workers battling the pandemic.
“Millions of people are out of work, unemployed. Future millions are held back for no good reason, other than our failure to act,” Biden said, stressing the urgency and importance of his proposed spending. He felt it would be more of a risk to execute a plan that did not provide enough, rather than a plan that exceeded what is necessary. He said: “We have learned from past crises the risk is not doing too much; the risk is not doing enough. And this is the time to act now.”
Yellen agreed and supported Biden’s stance toward economic recovery
Yellen said: “There is a huge amount of pain in our economy right now. Over a million people applied for unemployment insurance last week. If there’s not more help, many more people will lose their small businesses, the roofs over their heads, and the ability to feed their families. The President’s American Rescue Plan will help millions of people make it to the other side of this pandemic, and it will also make some smart investments to get our economy back on track.”
Republicans have not been very supportive of the $1.9 trillion spendings on the bill. Biden wants unity and for it to be a bipartisan bill, but he will go ahead with trying to push the bill through even without any Republican support.
“If they go it alone, Democrats have no room for error: All 50 senators would have to be unified to secure a partisan bill, and the measure would need to clear a narrow House majority. The reconciliation option to bypass the 60-vote rule can be used for laws related to taxes and spending. Republicans used that tool in 2017 to cut taxes by $1.9 trillion on a partisan basis as well as in an unsuccessful effort to repeal Obamacare,” NBC News reported.
“I want to emphasize, the President’s absolutely right. The price of doing nothing is much higher than the price of doing something, and doing something big. We need to act now, and the benefits of acting now and acting big will far outweigh the costs in the long-run,” Yellen stated.