Biden says action on COVID-19 stimulus needed "now"
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden said on Friday that Congress needs to take immediate action on his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal, adding that most economists believe additional economic stimulus is needed. 'We have to act now,' Biden told reporters at the White House. 'There is an overwhelming concensus among economists ..
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden said on Friday that Congress needs to take immediate action on his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal, adding that most economists believe additional economic stimulus is needed.
"We have to act now," Biden told reporters at the White House. "There is an overwhelming concensus among economists ... that this is a unique moment and the cost of inaction is high."
Biden spoke as Democrats who lead the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives prepared to take the first steps next week toward delivering fresh assistance to Americans and businesses reeling from a pandemic that has killed more than 433,000 people.
Congress enacted $4 trillion in COVID-19 relief last year.
On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the sharply divided chamber would begin work on robust legislation next week, despite misgivings among Republicans and some Democrats about the size of Biden's proposal.
With the 100-seat Senate split 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris wielding the tie-breaking vote, Democrats are preparing to use a parliamentary tool called "reconciliation" that would allow chamber to approve COVID-19 relief with a simple majority. Because of Senate rules, legislation usually requires 60 votes to pass the chamber.
"There is no time for any delays," Biden said on Friday. "We could end up with 4 million fewer jobs this year ... It could take a year longer to return to full employment if we don't act and don't act now."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi predicted on Thursday that both chambers of Congress would be ready to move forward through reconciliation by the end of next week.
(Reporting by Steve Holland and David Morgan; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.