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Biden seeks to speed delivery of COVID aid

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BIDEN: "American families cannot wait another day..."

U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday signed executive orders to fight the economic fallout of the pandemic.

BIDEN: "The first step of our American Rescue Plan is a plan to tackle the pandemic and get direct financial relief to Americans who need it the most."

The orders would speed the delivery of pandemic stimulus checks to needy families and increase food aid for children who normally rely on school meals.

Biden is using the two executive orders to try to ease people’s burdens while Congress negotiates the fate of his proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

At a press briefing Friday, White House national economic council director Brian Deese told reporters that the American people can’t afford to wait.

“If we don’t act now, we will be in a much worse place and we will find ourselves needing to do more to dig out of a much deeper hole... And you hear from economists across the board... when you’re at a moment that is as precarious as the one we find ourselves in, the risk of doing too little, the risk of undershooting far outweighs the risk of doing too much.”

About 16 million people are now receiving some type of unemployment benefit and an estimated 29 million do not have enough to eat.

Women, minorities, and low-income service workers have been disproportionately hurt, with Black and Hispanic workers facing higher jobless rates than white workers.

BIDEN: "Yesterday we learned that 900,000 more Americans filed for unemployment. 900,000."

Deese said Biden's actions were not a substitute for legislative relief and that he is speaking with lawmakers Sunday to push for more relief.

Republican lawmakers have questioned the price tags on pandemic aid and Biden's separate $2 trillion investment proposal for infrastructure, green energy projects, education, and research.

Biden's second order will restore collective bargaining power and worker protections by revoking three related orders issued by Trump during his term, which ended on Wednesday. It also promotes a $15-an-hour minimum wage. The federal minimum wage has been at $7.25 an hour since 2009.

BIDEN: "No one in America should work 40 hours a week making below the poverty line."

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