Biden sees business-labor cooperation fixing U.S. economy, urges relief bill
By Trevor Hunnicutt and Doina Chiacu WILMINGTON, Del./WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President-elect Joe Biden on Monday said business and labor leaders had signaled willingness to cooperate to fix the pandemic-battered U.S. economy but stressed the coronavirus first must be brought under control and urged Congress to pass relief legislation. Biden spoke in Wilmington, Delaware, after consulting the CEOs of top U.S
By Trevor Hunnicutt and Doina Chiacu
WILMINGTON, Del./WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President-elect Joe Biden on Monday said business and labor leaders had signaled willingness to cooperate to fix the pandemic-battered U.S. economy but stressed the coronavirus first must be brought under control and urged Congress to pass relief legislation.
Biden spoke in Wilmington, Delaware, after consulting the CEOs of top U.S. companies and labor leaders on Monday. He also welcomed further progress in COVID-19 vaccine development.
The Democratic president-elect said they were "ready to come together" and that "the unity was astounding."
Biden will inherit an economy that has suffered millions of job losses during a pandemic that has killed more than 246,000 people in the United States. U.S. COVID-19 cases have surged as Biden prepares to take office on Jan. 20.
"We're going into a very dark winter. Things are going to get much tougher before they get easier," Biden said of the pandemic.
"As you battle COVID, we have to make sure that businesses and workers have the tools, the resources and the national guidance and health and safety standards to operate safely," Biden added.
He called for bipartisan cooperation and urged Congress to pass pandemic relief legislation. Talks on such legislation stalled for months before the election.
"We're all Americans, so let's get to work," Biden said.
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris held a midday video conference with several chief executives including General Motors Co's
Also taking part were AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka and the heads of the Service Employees International Union, the United Auto Workers and two other large unions.
Biden started the meeting speaking about his love of Corvettes with the head of GM and the auto workers union that represents some of the automaker's employees. Biden then switched to a more somber tone as he addressed the "pretty dark" state of the economy because of the coronavirus.
"We all agree on these common goals," Biden told the participants, before using a campaign slogan. "We agree that we can't just build back the economy. ... We have to build back better."
Biden earlier on Monday said Moderna Inc's
TRUMP DIGS IN
Biden moved ahead with economic planning even as Republican President Donald Trump on Monday again refused to accept his election loss. Trump's national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, said on Monday he was prepared to ensure a professional transition to Biden's team.
"If there is a new administration, look, they deserve some time to come in and implement their policies," O'Brien said. "If the Biden-Harris ticket is determined to be the winner, and obviously things look like that now, we'll have a very professional transition from the National Security Council, there's no question about it."
Biden beat Trump in the Nov. 3 election by the same 306-232 margin in the state-by-state Electoral College that prompted Trump to proclaim a "landslide" when he defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016. Biden also won the national popular vote by at least 5.5 million votes, or 3.6 percentage points, with some ballots still being counted.
Trump has made no headway with legal challenges in multiple states so far.
"I won the Election!" Trump wrote on Monday on Twitter, again falsely claiming victory. Twitter posted a disclaimer saying, "Official sources called this election differently."
Major business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable already have congratulated Biden on his victory and said they looked forward to working with him.
Unlike in 2008, when the country elected Democrat Barack Obama and his running mate Biden as the global economy teetered from the sub-prime mortgage crisis, the worst of the current economic downturn may have passed. Unemployment has come down sharply from its April peak of 14.7% to 6.9% and is projected to fall further throughout next year.
Election officials from both parties have said there is no evidence of major irregularities. Federal election security officials have decried "unfounded claims" and expressed "utmost confidence" in the election's integrity.
Trump suffered another setback when James Bopp, a conservative attorney, on Monday voluntarily withdrew lawsuits filed in federal courts seeking to block the states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin from certifying their election results. The lawsuits made unsubstantiated claims of illegal voting.
Biden's top advisers said Trump's refusal to begin a transition could jeopardize the battle against the pandemic and inhibit vaccine distribution planning.
Moderna was part of the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed program aimed at expediting COVID-19 vaccine development. Unlike Pfizer's vaccine, Moderna's shot can be stored at normal fridge temperatures, which should make it easier to distribute.
Other companies and groups also are in advanced stages of developing promising vaccines.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in Wilmington and Doina Chiacu in Washington; Additional reporting by Susan Heavey, Jan Wolfe, Jason Lange, David Shepardson, John Whitesides, David Morgan, Julie Steenhuysen, Michael Erman, Tom Hals and Daniel Trotta; Writing by Will Dunham; Editing by Scott Malone and Howard Goller)
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.