Biden adviser Deese pushes stimulus relief after GDP, jobless data

Biden adviser Deese pushes stimulus relief after GDP, jobless data

January 28, 2021

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White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese urged Congress to “swiftly” pass President Biden’s stimulus relief package, citing the latest GDP data, which he said reflected “a significant slowing of our economic recovery.”

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In a statement Thursday, Deese said the fourth quarter presented “the second largest contraction in a calendar year on record.”
“This is second only to the contraction in 2008,” he said. “As a result of economic conditions, more than a million Americans applied for unemployment benefits this week alone — worse than any week during the Great Recession.”

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Deese acknowledged that legislation “to date has provided an important bridge,” but said it was imperative that the government “do more for the economy and for American workers and families.”

“Congress should swiftly pass the President's American Rescue Plan. The Plan would allow us to get this pandemic under control, provide critical relief to American workers and families, and make smart investments to get our economy back on track,” Deese said.

President Biden delivers remarks on climate change and green jobs, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Washington.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Deese warned, though, that “without swift action, we risk a continued economic crisis that will make it harder for Americans to return to work and get on back their feet.”

In economic data, GDP grew at a 4% annualized rate in the three months through December, according to a preliminary reading from the Commerce Department.

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Elsewhere, initial jobless claims fell to 847,000 from an upwardly revised 914,000 the week prior. Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were anticipating a decline to 875,000. Continuing claims fell to 4.771 million, below the 5.054 million that was expected.

Biden, earlier this month, unveiled a massive $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal which aims to combat the coronavirus and begins to pump up a U.S. economy severely battered by the worst pandemic to strike the globe in a century.

Over $1 trillion of that total price tag is for direct relief to individuals and families.

Biden's plan would also extend and expand unemployment insurance benefits "so American workers can pay their bills" and would push to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

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Biden, since taking office, has signed a number of executive orders addressing the economy, including one to maximize the federal government’s existing resources to support families, with an emphasis on providing food assistance to low-income families; another to extend eviction and foreclosure moratoriums to March 31; and another to extend the pause on federal student loan payments and interest through Sept. 30.

Fox Business' Jonathan Garber contributed to this report. 

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