President Biden will sign a pair of executive orders on Friday aimed at helping American families and small businesses that are experiencing financial difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic.
The first executive order will try to maximize the use of the federal government’s existing resources to support families, and will focus on providing food assistance to low-income families.
Biden will ask the Department of Agriculture to increase the current electronic benefit transfer (EBT) related to the pandemic by 15% and simplify the process for Americans to claim benefits. In addition, Biden will also ask the USDA to increase its supplementary nutrition assistance program (SNAP) funding for low-income families.
Biden signs 1
The first order clearly states that if Americans refuse to accept a job offer that may endanger their health, they have the right to retain their food assistance benefits. It contains other assistance measures for veterans and calls for the establishment of an inter-agency body to coordinate welfare programs for Americans in need.
The second executive order will seek to provide better protection and welfare for federal workers during the pandemic.
Biden will instruct his government to begin fulfilling its promise to provide federal workers with a minimum wage of $15 and emergency paid leave within the first 100 days of taking office. This work will include reviewing which agencies are currently earning less than $15 an hour and making recommendations on how best to implement a raise.
The new government claims that the order will strengthen the collective bargaining capabilities of federal workers and other measures designed to ensure that they receive appropriate benefits.
Biden officials said these orders will serve as placeholders before Congress passes another coronavirus stimulus plan.
The director of the National Economic Council, Brian Diss, said at a press conference: “These actions cannot replace the form of comprehensive legislative relief in the US rescue plan, but they will provide a vital lifeline for millions of American families.” “This is why the President will act quickly on these steps.”
Earlier this month, Biden outlined a $1.9 trillion rescue plan for Congress to consider. The Democratic Party has an effective majority in both houses. The plan includes direct payments of US$1,400 to Americans, increasing unemployment benefits, and providing federal assistance to state and local governments.
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Republican leaders have called for “targeted” relief measures, focusing on providing assistance to small businesses and exempting workplaces from responsibility during the pandemic. At the same time, progressive Democrats believe that Biden’s proposal is not enough to address the country’s economic needs and should include a payment of $2,000.
Since Biden entered the Oval Office on Wednesday, the executive order is the latest in a comprehensive action taken by Biden. The President signed 17 orders on his first day in office, and signed another 10 orders on Thursday, focusing on the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.