WASHINGTON – President Biden and his top economic aids on Friday put aside Republican criticism of the government’s $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package and vowed to move the proposal forward. The bill is crucial for a weak economic recovery and is overwhelmingly popular with voters.
The comments came as Mr. Biden was briefed by aides of the need for more fiscal aid and the state of the economy, and when the Brookings Institution’s new analysis suggested that the Biden proposal, if it did go into effect, would put the economy above its prepandemic The second half of this year would bring way out.
A team of senior business figures, including Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, met with Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in the Oval Office on Friday to highlight the challenges facing an economy that experienced slowing growth late last year. They were joined by Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, and Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey of the Council of Economic Advisers.
“The price of doing nothing is much higher than the price of doing something and doing something big,” Ms. Yellen said before the briefing. “We have to act now. The benefits of acting now and trading big will far outweigh the costs in the long run. “
Mr Biden, who spent the first days of his presidency calling for more economic aid, said pandemic legislation was his top priority. “People will be seriously injured if we fail this package,” he said.
Even as states began vaccinating vulnerable populations, the economic recovery from the pandemic is showing signs of slowing, fueling concern among White House officials that time is running out to adopt a robust package before some emergency services are in place March expire. These officials are increasingly saying that Congress must act swiftly to approve a package of a similar scope as Mr Biden is proposing, although they privately recognize that the process of congressional negotiation could produce a bill at a lower price than the President has asked for.
In order to gain support, especially among Republicans, these aides claim that Mr Biden’s proposal is highly cross-party.
“A fair question you could ask our GOP or Republican colleagues is why they oppose proposals that are backed by 74 percent of the American public,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Friday. She cited a recent Monmouth University poll in which 71 percent of respondents said it was important for Republicans to find ways to work with Mr Biden.
Democrats in Congress say they are continuing to work with Republicans on a potentially bipartisan bill, but they are also preparing a parliamentary maneuver known as budget balancing that would allow them to pass a bill by simple majority, as Republicans do Her 2017 tax cut did law and her failed attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“I will not allow Republican senators to stand still for the sole purpose of stalling,” said Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, the new Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, on a conference call Thursday hosted by the Invest in America advocacy group.
Despite pressure from the White House, Republicans have been complaining in recent days that using the reconciliation process would undermine Mr Biden’s demand for unity.
On Friday afternoon when he left the White House to visit the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Mr Biden said he still hoped the Republicans would support an aid bill, but he signaled that the Democrats would move forward on their own if they had to.
“I support the passage of the Covid relief with Republican support if we get it, but the Covid relief must exist,” he said.
New analysis this week suggests that if Mr Biden’s plans go into effect, they could give a significant boost to an economy that has only partially recovered from its rapid fall into recession last spring.
Two Brookings Institution researchers, Wendy Edelberg and Louise Sheiner, wrote this week that Mr Biden’s plans would increase economic activity by 4 percent this year and 2 percent in 2022. This surge would accelerate the return of the economy to the previous path the pandemic hit.
Without another bailout, the economy would likely remain smaller through the end of 2023 than without the recession. But if the package is passed, they would predict the economy would be bigger by fall than it was on their prepandemic path. They warn that these forecasts are fraught with great uncertainty.
“Without additional federal funding to contain the pandemic resurgence and distribute vaccines, the economy will face significant headwinds,” wrote Ms. Edelberg and Ms. Sheiner. “In a broader sense, millions of households will suffer from dwindling tax support for the unemployed and households and businesses that suffer financially.”
The International Monetary Fund this week forecast small but still positive impacts from the Biden plan. It was estimated that Mr. Biden’s proposal would increase American economic performance by 5 percent over three years. The fund estimated the plan would increase production by 1.25 percent this year.