President Biden will sign a pair of executive orders aimed at helping American families and small businesses that are experiencing financial difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic.
The first executive order will seek to maximize the federal government’s existing resources to support families, with a focus on providing food assistance to low-income families.
Biden will ask the Department of Agriculture to increase current electronic transfers of pandemic-related benefits (EBT) by 15% and streamline the process by which Americans claim benefits. In addition, Biden will ask the USDA to increase its supplementary nutrition support programs (SNAP) for low-income families.
OFFICIAL SIGNS 1
The first commandment clarifies that Americans have the right to retain their food aid if they are denied a job that poses a risk to their health. It contains additional aid measures targeted at military veterans, and calls for the establishment of an interagency structure to coordinate aid programs for Americans in need.
The second executive order will seek to provide improved protection and benefits for federal workers during a pandemic.
Biden will direct his administration to begin work on its promise to provide a minimum wage of $ 15 and paid emergency leave to federal workers within the first 100 days of office. The work will include an overview of which agencies currently pay less than $ 15 an hour and provide recommendations on how best to implement the salary increase.
The order will strengthen the collective bargaining power of federal workers, among other initiatives aimed at ensuring they receive appropriate benefits, the new administration said.
Biden officials said the orders were intended to serve as substitutes until Congress passed another package to stimulate the coronavirus.
“These actions cannot replace the overall legislative easing of the US rescue plan, but they will provide a critical lifeline for millions of American families,” National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said at a news briefing. “And that’s why the president will act quickly on these steps.”
Earlier this month, Biden outlined a $ 1.9 trillion package for discussion in Congress, where Democrats have an effective majority in both houses. The package includes $ 1,400 in direct payments to Americans, increased unemployment benefits and federal aid to state and local governments, among other measures.
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Republican leaders are pushing for “targeted” relief aimed at helping small businesses and protecting jobs from liability during a pandemic. Progressive Democrats, meanwhile, say Biden’s proposal is not enough to meet the country’s economic needs and should include $ 2,000 in payments.
The executive orders were the latest in extensive action Biden has taken since joining the Oval Office on Wednesday. The president signed 17 orders on his first day of rule and another 10 on Thursday, focusing on the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic.