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President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan gets backing from over 150 top business leaders

"The American Rescue Plan mobilizes a national vaccination program, delivers economic relief to struggling families, and supports communities that were most damaged by the pandemic," the executives wrote in a letter to Congress.

President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan gets backing from over 150 top business leaders
Cover Image Source: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks in the State Dining Room at the White House on February 05, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

Over 150 senior executives from some of the most powerful business interests in the US expressed support for President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion pandemic recovery plan in a letter to Congress Wednesday, reports CNN. "We write to urge immediate and large-scale federal legislation to address the health and economic crises brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic," the executives wrote. "Congress should act swiftly and on a bipartisan basis to authorize a stimulus and relief package along the lines of the Biden-Harris administration's proposed American Rescue Plan." The letter was reportedly signed by the top executives representing some of the largest American companies across several major industries including airlines, banking, entertainment, health care, utilities, and technology.



 

 

Signatories include senior executives from Goldman Sachs, Blackstone, AT&T, Google, Intel, IBM, Loews Hotels & Co., Comcast, Corcoran, Saks Fifth Avenue, Siemens, T-Mobile, and airlines of the likes of American and United Airlines. "More than 10 million fewer Americans are working today than when the pandemic began, small businesses across the country are facing bankruptcy, and schools are struggling to reopen," the letter said, reports NBC News. "The American Rescue Plan provides a framework for coordinated public-private efforts to overcome Covid-19 and to move forward with a new era of inclusive growth."



 

 

On Monday, the House Budget Committee voted to advance President Biden's relief package, setting up the legislation aimed at fighting the pandemic and its economic fallout to go to the House floor for a vote later this week. The package includes $20 billion for coronavirus vaccinations, $50 billion for testing, $350 billion for state and local relief, $1,400 direct checks to Americans making less than $75,000 annually, $400 a week in additional jobless benefits, and extensions of programs that make millions more people eligible for unemployment insurance. The bill also includes funding for schools both at the secondary and higher education level.



 

 

Although a speedy passage is assured when the bill goes to a vote in the House on Friday, getting it through the evenly divided Senate will be a challenge. Over the course of his first month in office, Biden has relentlessly pressed lawmakers to pass his cornerstone legislative proposal and the weight of the businesses getting behind it will undoubtedly serve as a boost to Democrats. Up until this point, Republican support has more or less remained non-existent with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., attacking the plan as "totally partisan."



 

 

"Democrats' so-called relief bill includes Sen. Sanders' minimum wage proposal that would kill 1.4 million American jobs," McConnell said this month. "This, after the president killed many thousands of jobs with Keystone XL [pipeline project]. Killing jobs and destroying opportunity — that's their idea of pandemic relief?" While even moderate GOP senators have called the proposal too large in scale and scope, Biden has been steadfast that his mandate is to "go big." In recent days, he has also challenged naysayers to outline specifically what they'd like to strip from the package.



 

 

"Now critics say the plan is too big," Biden said at the White House on Monday. "Let me ask the rhetorical question -- what would you have me cut? What would you have me leave out?" The letter from business leaders — which include notable names including David Solomon, chairman and chief executive officer at Goldman Sachs; Stephen Schwartzman, the chairman and CEO of Blackstone; Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google; John Zimmer, the co-founder and president of Lyft; Brian Roberts, the chairman and CEO of Comcast and John Stankey the CEO of AT&T — bolsters Democratic arguments about the size of the package. "Strengthening the public health response to coronavirus is the first step toward economic restoration," the executives wrote. "The American Rescue Plan mobilizes a national vaccination program, delivers economic relief to struggling families, and supports communities that were most damaged by the pandemic."

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