US President-elect Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion spending plan will help generate the kind of “robust recovery” the United States needs, the new chairman of the National Economic Council has said.
A high-level economic adviser to President-elect Joe Biden has warned that the US economy is on a “downward spiral” and called for swift action to address the vulnerabilities the global pandemic has highlighted.
Brian Deese, who will be director of Biden’s National Economic Council, said on Sunday that the new administration’s $ 1.9 trillion spending plan would generate “the kind of robust recovery we need.”
Biden’s proposal includes more direct payments to households, an increase in unemployment benefits, more money for state and local governments, and an expansion of vaccination and virus testing programs.
He also calls for a federal minimum wage of $ 15, starting at $ 7.25, higher taxes and more regulations. These initiatives have already alienated some Republicans and have drawn criticism that the proposals fall far from an emergency effort to shake the coronavirus-related slowdown.
“We are at a very precarious time,” Deese said on “Fox News Sunday”. “The economy and the virus are going down. Now is the time to act. “
Biden will need at least 10 Republican Senators to successfully pass the fast-paced stimulus he called for. Deese expects the president-elect to gain support despite some of the proposals being seen as a non-runner for Republicans.
The plan is “a colossal and economically damaging waste,” Republican Senator Pat Toomey said Friday. The Pennsylvania lawmaker said some of the measures could slow the recovery in the labor sector.
“The ink on December’s $ 1 trillion aid bill is barely dry and a lot of the money has yet to be spent,” Toomey said.
Deese said the Biden proposal addresses vulnerabilities in the United States that Covid-19 has highlighted.
For example, raising the minimum wage will provide “real and direct” support to Americans, he said, and relief from public transit systems “will prevent a decrease in service and support” once United States will emerge from the crisis.
The plan also includes measures to address cybersecurity weaknesses, revealed by the massive hack into government systems last year. With so many federal operations being handled online despite Covid restrictions, Deese said systems needed to be secured immediately.
Biden is negotiating for the Senate to take the time to conduct an impeachment trial against President Donald Trump, confirm his cabinet and other appointees, and pass the sweeping stimulus bill at the same time.
“We have multiple crises, we have a lot of urgent business that the country is facing. So we certainly understand and expect the Senate to fulfill its constitutional duty, ”Deese said. “There is a precedent.”