Biden plans to step up emergency aid to tackle hunger crisis worsened by Covid-19 – 22/01/2021 – World

Two days after taking the reins of the White House, United States President Joe Biden must begin to deal with one of the most visible effects of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic – hunger – by signing a decree to increase food aid given to millions of people. Americans.

The Democrat is due to sign, Friday (22), two decrees: the first to increase assistance programs for the unemployed and those who use food banks, and the second to strengthen the social rights of workers.

“Nearly 30 million Americans are suffering from not having enough to eat,” Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council, said at a press conference. “This includes one in five black and Latino adults, according to the latest survey,” he added, noting that one in seven households has difficulty accessing adequate food.

Another challenge for the new government will be to find ways to ensure that the direct aid already approved by Congress will actually reach families in need. According to the Deese-led board of directors, many Americans struggled to receive the first installment of out-of-pocket payments, and up to eight million eligible families did not receive it.

In response, Biden’s plan is to ask the Department of Agriculture to expand its program for low-income and no-income families and individuals at the Treasury Department, to expand the mechanisms for delivering aid, by creating, for example, tools for online applications.

In addition, the government’s proposal is to increase the amount deposited in EBT, the electronic cards through which recipients have access to federal aid, by 15%. Currently, the value can reach 5.7 USD (R $ 30.90) per day for schoolchildren.

The goal is to “properly reflect the cost of missed meals” due to the school closures. According to Deese, about 12 million American children do not have enough to eat, although schools provide daily meals for students from poor families.

“These are concrete actions that will help families who need immediate assistance, but which are not enough to resolve the food crisis we are facing,” admitted the director. “Hence the need for a bailout for the economy.”

The second executive order Biden is due to sign on Friday aims to restore collective bargaining power and protections for federal workers by overturning three decisions by former President Donald Trump, now classified as attempts to “destroy” and “marginalize” the career of civil servants.

The decree should require outsourced companies to pay at least US $ 15 (R $ 81.34) per hour – as of 2009, the federal minimum wage is US $ 7.25 (R $ 39.32) per hour. hour – and guarantee their workers “paid emergency leave”

“These measures will help make the federal government a model employer and restore social protections for career workers that are so essential to the country,” the National Economic Council said in a note.

In practice, the new government wants to make the two decrees an attempt at relief for those most affected by the pandemic as the US $ 1.9 trillion (R $ 10.3 trillion) package presented by Biden advances in Congress. last week.

The economic stimulus package includes $ 415 billion (2.25 trillion reais) to bolster the pandemic response and vaccination campaign, around US $ 1 trillion (5.42 billion reais) for programs to direct help. families, and an additional $ 440 billion (R $ 2.38 trillion) in incentives for small businesses and communities particularly affected by Covid-19.

Biden’s emergency aid to families is US $ 1,400 (R $ 7,600), in addition to checks for US $ 600 (R $ 3,250) approved by the latest economic stimulus bill approved by Congress .

In addition, the new government’s proposal provides for an extension until September of the supplementary unemployment insurance, which is expected to increase from US $ 300 (R $ 1,626) to US $ 400 (R $ 2,169) per week.

Bold investments are needed that can be applied to a short-term program to stimulate the economy and speed up vaccine delivery to bring Covid-19 under control – the virus has infected 24 million people and killed more than 410 people, Democrat says . thousand people in the United States.

Biden aims to start his tenure with a project that demonstrates, both practical actions and contrasting with the policies implemented by Trump. The Republican focused his final months in the White House on attempts to delegitimize the victory of the Democratic opponent.

Trump’s plan, however, was to offer Americans $ 2,000 in aid, an amount opposed by many Republicans in Congress. Biden is also expected to face similar hurdles, with members of Congress approving a $ 900 billion ($ 4.8 trillion) stimulus package last month.

He says in Biden’s favor, however, that his fellow Democrats control the House and Senate. Both House leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said Thursday the new president’s economic package was “the right approach” and vowed to work to get it approved quickly.

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