Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus reacts to Sen. McConnell blasting the Biden administration after calling for unity.
Biden addressed his administration’s response efforts during a press briefing on two executive orders meant to provide food assistance to low-income families and protect workers’ rights during the pandemic. Days after the US surpassed 400,000 deaths related to COVID-19, the president warned the country had little ability in the near term to prevent spiking case totals.
“If we fail to act, there will be a wave of evictions and foreclosures in the coming months as this pandemic rages on because there’s nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months,” Biden said.
Biden had pledged efforts to jumpstart the US economy and provide aid to struggling Americans would be his top priority upon entering the Oval Office. The two executive orders Friday followed 10 other actions related to the pandemic he signed the previous day, including a mandate requiring masks to be worn on federal land.
The president faced some pushback over his remarks on the pandemic’s trajectory. Critics, including former Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, pointed out that coronavirus-related restrictions imposed in several states were meant to “flatten the curve.”
“Haven’t we been told for months that restrictions and mandates were necessary to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months?” Amash wrote on Twitter.
Biden said the country’s death toll was “expected to reach well over 600,000.” The president reiterated his call for Congress on his “American Rescue Plan,” a $1.9 trillion aid package that includes $1,400 direct payments to Americans, enhanced unemployment benefits, and federal aid for state and local governments.
“The American Rescue Plan asks Congress to provide rental assistance for millions of hard-hit families and tenants,” Biden said. “This will also be a bridge to economic recovery for countless mom-and-pop landlords who can’t afford not to have the rent.”
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