President Joe Biden cited a weak jobs report in his push for a $1.9 trillion relief package passed by the Senate early Friday.
“It is very clear our economy is still in trouble,” Biden said. “I know some in Congress think we’ve already done enough to deal with the crisis in the country. Others think that things are getting better and we can afford to sit back and either do little or do nothing at all. That’s not what I see.”
Meanwhile, House Democrats are hustling to pass the American Rescue Plan with few changes, including $1,400 direct checks to unaffluent Americans, along with other expansions of aid. Although the Senate passed a version of the bill, leaders are working on a companion bill to match House legislation.
Earlier today, the Labor Department’s reported that the economy added only 49,000 jobs in January – just 6,000 in the private sector. At that rate, the labor market remains 10 million jobs below pre-pandemic levels. Supplemental unemployment checks are set to expire in March.
The Senate approved the budget bill through a narrow party-line vote, 51-to-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaking vote after more than 15 hours of debate.