- Biden, Harris, and Yellen discussed the $US1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan with top business leaders.
- The CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, Walmart, Gap, Lowe’s, and the Chamber of Commerce all attended.
- The US needs to prioritise both its healthcare and economic response to the pandemic, Biden said.
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President Joe Biden, Vice-president Kamala Harris, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met the CEOs of some top US companies Tuesday to discuss the stimulus deal and the push for a $US15 minimum wage.
These included JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, Walmart’s Doug McMillon, Gap’s Sonia Syngal, and Lowe’s Marvin Ellison, as well as Tom Donohue, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.
In remarks made before the meeting, Biden said the group would discuss the American Rescue Plan, his $US1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan.His proposals include additional $US1,400 stimulus checks, bigger federal unemployment benefits, and expanded family and child benefits, as well as plans to tackle the pandemic through testing, vaccines, and support for reopening schools safely.
The US needs to introduce measures to deal with both the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, he told reporters.
“We can’t let one wait,” he said. “We can’t get everybody well and then move on the economy. We have to move quickly on both.”
Biden was “anxious” to hear what the CEOs thought about his approach and said he hoped they could find some common ground.
At the Oval Office meeting, the group discussed “the urgent struggles of so many Americans,” how the US could reach a sustainable and equitable economic recovery from the pandemic, and the future of American competitiveness, Dimon told Bloomberg.
“We had a constructive and detailed conversation that covered a lot of ground,” he added.
The group also discussed how the pandemic had disproportionately impacted some communities, including Black and Latinx women, Gap told the publication.
At the start of the meeting, Biden also threw his support behind initial legislation from House Democrats that would maintain the $US75,000 a year income threshold for $US1,400 stimulus checks. This came after proposals to lower it sparked opposition from many Democrats.
Some have been floating a new proposal that would restrict the number of people eligible for a third round of direct relief payments and only offer the full $US1,400 to individuals earning $US50,000 or below, a source familiar with internal discussions told Insider.
The role big businesses play in politics has increasingly come under scrutiny in the aftermath of the Capitol siege. Dozens of top US businesses cut ties with former president Donald Trump and the lawmakers who backed his baseless claims of election fraud.
This mass exodus of corporate backing could have an effect on politicians’ actions, experts told Insider, and could ultimately affect how senators who backed Trump’s election challenge vote on his impeachment trial.