“Once we end the virus and provide economic assistance to workers and businesses, then we can start to rebuild better than before,” Biden said, reiterating a theme of his campaign.
In his first speech on the economy since winning the presidential election, Biden told reporters that he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were given “a mandate from the American people” to strengthen cooperation between Democrats and Republicans and that voters “want us to get results. ”
A new round of economic aid for coronaviruses is at an impasse as Congressional Democrats led by House of Commons Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Trump’s White House appear unable to reach a deal.
Biden called on Republican lawmakers to join Democrats in passing a bipartisan relief bill as quickly as possible.
“There should be at least a dozen [Republican senators] who have the courage to stand up and save lives and jobs now, ”Biden told reporters at his transition team headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware.
Post-election polls showed COVID-19 and the economy to be the top issues on the minds of American voters.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 indices rallied to close records on Monday when Moderna announced positive preliminary test data on its COVID-19 vaccine. Markets were also buoyed by promising news last week from vaccine makers Pfizer and BioNTech.
At the same time, millions of Americans continue to suffer from slow economic growth and entrenched unemployment.
Biden warned Monday that as many as 20 million Americans face the looming prospect of mortgage defaults and evictions when a moratorium expires at the end of the year.
Earlier today, Biden offered an upbeat assessment during a meeting with business and union leaders at his transition team’s headquarters in Delaware, the Associated Press news agency reported.
“To say the obvious, we seem to be turning a pretty dark corner now,” Biden told the group, which included General Motors CEO Mary Barra, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. .
“We agree that we can’t just go back to the economy,” Biden said.
“I don’t want to be falsely optimistic,” he added. “I think we can do it.”
Biden said Monday that he intends to issue an executive order requiring face masks to be worn on all federal property when he takes office on January 20 and that he would urge governors to impose similar orders.
The prospect of a viable vaccine has heightened hope that the end of the pandemic is in sight, although it will be several months before millions of doses of vaccine can be administered.
But members of Biden’s coronavirus task force are struggling to resolve the crisis without causing more economic damage through closures.
Already, the new surge in COVID-19 cases is forcing state and local heads to implement new rounds of restrictions on businesses.
Governors and mayors across the country – from Pennsylvania to California – are imposing new restrictions to try to stem a record number of infections ahead of a time when Americans traditionally travel to be with their families for the Thanksgiving vacation and Christmas.
Canceled travel plans and closed businesses have an economic impact of course.
Biden has pledged to spend billions of dollars in government spending to reinvigorate American manufacturing, expand health care coverage and tackle climate change, among other priorities.
Whether the president-elect can act on these bold ideas depends on who controls the US Senate. Republicans, who blocked a stimulus deal ahead of the election, still hold control – but two seats are up for grabs in the Georgia state runoff on Jan.5.
Meanwhile, Biden is in the process of selecting a candidate to head the Treasury Department, a key position in managing the country’s economy.
Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard, former Fed Chairman Janet Yellen, former Assistant Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin and Federal Reserve Chairman of Atlanta Raphael Bostic are among those reportedly in the study, Reuters news agency reported.
Whoever chooses Biden will have a broad and uneven economic recovery ahead of them amid an ongoing pandemic.
Moderna announced on Monday that preliminary data from an ongoing phase three study found its COVID-19 vaccine to be 94.5% effective.
“The results of this trial are really striking,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in a conference call with reporters, Bloomberg reported.
But the large-scale distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the United States is not expected until mid-2021 at the earliest, making continued economic aid a likely necessity for the foreseeable future.