The White House has reached out to executives in various industries to raise support for the Biden government’s $ 1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan, according to people familiar with the matter.
Over the past week, administration officials have made at least two calls to executives from various business areas, including Wall Street and technology, said those people who refused to be called to speak freely.
Brian Deese, President Joe Biden’s top economic advisor, participated in some of the calls, one respondent said. Most of the calls were anchored by the Office of Public Engagement, which is headed by former MP Cedric Richmond, another person said.
According to a White House official who refused to be named, the administration has dealt with companies and groups, including:
American AirlinesThe US Chamber of CommerceThe Business RoundtableErnst & YoungNational Manufacturers AssociationGeneral EnginesThe Black Economic Alliance
These calls are in addition to the meeting that Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had with several key CEOs in the Oval Office Tuesday to discuss the relief plan. The government and Congress Democrats want to pass the measure by mid-March.
President Joe Biden sits next to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen (R) as he meets with executives in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on February 9, 2021, on a Covid Relief Bill.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
With these calls, Biden officials want to form a coalition to support the president’s relief plan, said those familiar with the matter. Most attendees have expressed support for much of Biden’s proposal, people said.
“They make sure everyone supports it,” said one person familiar with the range. “Nothing is too big,” added this person, explaining the consensus view of business leaders.
The administration is also consulting with business leaders, lawmakers and other stakeholders to find ways to potentially improve the legislation, the White House official said.
Discussions centered on various aspects of the plan, including the total price, direct payments of $ 1,400 to Americans, and the prospect of a rise in the federal minimum wage, the official added. The administration has also asked executives for feedback on how they have dealt with the pandemic.
Some of the leaders the White House has dealt with are against certain aspects of Biden’s plan.
Outgoing U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue, who met with Biden on Tuesday, warned against raising the minimum wage to $ 15. The increase in the minimum wage is part of Biden’s Covid relief plan. The chamber has said it supports Biden’s overall proposal to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
63 percent of small business owners support the Covid aid package worth $ 1.9 trillion. This comes from the latest quarterly poll by CNBC | SurveyMonkey Small Business.
Biden himself has begun meeting with high-level executives about the proposal and future policy plans.
Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Yellen met with JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon on Tuesday. Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, Sonia Syngal, CEO of Gap, Marvin Ellison, CEO of Lowe, and Donohue.
Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, attends a meeting US President Joe Biden held with business executives on a Covid-19 Relief Act on February 9, 2021 in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
The discussion started with a 15-minute speech from Biden, who emphasized the need to fight the virus while helping the economy. Ellison spoke about the importance of jobs while Dimon spoke about the need for policies that lead to healthy economic growth.
Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress appear to be on their way to passing the plan without the help of Republicans, who have been calling for a far smaller package.
Democrats in both the House and Senate recently passed a budget resolution that could help pass the relief bill without Republican support. House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Said after the budget decision was passed, Democrats in her chamber will try to pass her party’s aid proposal in two weeks.
The resolution instructed the committees to develop a number of coronavirus support measures included in Biden’s proposal, such as: B. $ 1,400 in direct payments, a weekly increase in federal unemployment of $ 400 per week, $ 350 billion in state, local and tribal aid, funding for Covid-19 vaccines, and testing and rental and mortgage aid.
Still, some Democrats have raised concerns about the direction of the $ 1,400 check. For example, Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., said he feared the stimulus checks will go to too many high-income people who may not necessarily need the help.
Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Said there shouldn’t be an income limit on who can receive checks from the federal government.
Biden has said he is open to solvency negotiations, which under the current proposal would apply entirely to individuals with incomes up to $ 75,000 and couples with incomes up to $ 150,000.