By LIBBY CATHEY and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — This is Day 17 of the administration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Here is how events are unfolding. All times Eastern:
Feb 05, 12:38 pm
Biden calls his American Rescue Plan ‘a real answer to the crisis we’re in’
In remarks on the economy Friday, Biden called his American Rescue Plan “big,” “bold” and “a real answer to the crisis we’re in.”
The president said he will not lower stimulus payments to under $1,400. Biden’s plan also includes extending unemployment checks until September (it’s set to run out in March) and raising the minimum wage.
When it comes to compromising with Republicans, Biden said, “they’re just not willing to go as far as I think we have to go.”
“What Republicans have proposed is either to do nothing or not enough,” he said.
“If I have to choose between getting help right now to Americans who are hurting so badly and getting bogged down in a lengthy negotiation or compromising on a bill that’s up to the crisis, that’s an easy choice. I’m going to help the American people who are hurting now,” he said.
Feb 05, 11:52 am
Biden to speak about economy on heels of dismal jobs report
Biden is set give remarks on the economy Friday after the first jobs report during his presidency was released Friday morning, pointing toward a slow economic recovery.
The Labor Department report showed the U.S. unemployment rate dipped slightly to 6.3% in January — down just 0.4% from last month — and employers added some 49,000 jobs.
Last February, before COVID-19 upended the labor market, the unemployment rate in the U.S. was 3.5%.
Feb 05, 11:34 am
Administration announces 3 ways it’s using Defense Production Act to combat COVID-19
Tim Manning, the COVID-19 response team’s supply chain coordinator, announced Friday that the administration is using the Defense Production Act in three ways: getting Pfizer more equipment to ramp up vaccine production; increasing supply of at-home tests to 60 million by the summer; and building plants to produce surgical gloves in the U.S.
Meanwhile, 1,110 active-duty military personnel will be assigned to assist at vaccination sites, the White House COVID-19 response team said.
The personnel — including Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps — will be divided into five teams of 222 personnel each.
FEMA and the Department of Defense will jointly determine when military vaccination capabilities are no longer required.
Feb 05, 10:47 am
House Dems meet with Biden on $1.9 trillion COVID relief package: ‘We can’t do too much,’ Biden says
House Democrats met with Biden at the White House Friday morning to discuss his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package — the president’s first in-person meeting with House Democrats since he was sworn in.
Ahead of the meeting, Biden compared his push for the relief package to the effort in 2009 to get the Recovery Act passed.
“It was hard as hell to get the votes for it to begin with,” the president said of the massive stimulus plan during the first weeks of the Obama Administration. “Then it was hard as hell to get even the number we got.”
“But one thing we learned: We can’t do too much here. We can do too little. We can do too little and sputter,” Biden said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer were among the members in attendance. Biden sat between Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Feb 05, 10:07 am
Biden tells African Union the US has ‘mutual respect’ for them
Biden has recorded his first remarks for an international summit, taping a short video message in advance of the African Union Summit.
“The United States stands ready now to be your partner in solidarity, support, and mutual respect,” Biden said in the remarks posted by the White House overnight. “We believe in the nations of Africa, in the continent-wide spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation.”
Feb 05, 9:41 am
Congressional Democrats propose up to $50,000 in debt cancelation
Congressional Democrats renewed calls Thursday for Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loans per person.
The Democrats, led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, said Thursday that canceling loans would provide a much-needed boost to the economy and help lift communities of color.
“Debt holds people back from buying cars, from going on vacations, from starting families, from getting the job they want to get, it’s a huge anchor on our entire economy,” Schumer said. “There’s very little that the president could do with a flick of a pen that would boost our economy more than canceling $50,000 of student debt.”
However, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that Biden supports a more modest proposal: up to $10,000 in student loan forgiveness per person.
Feb 05, 6:13 am
Senate approves bill to pass Biden’s COVID-19 relief package
The Senate approved a budget resolution early Friday that would allow for the passage of Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package without Republican support.
Harris broke a 50-50 tie in the Senate by casting a vote in favor of the Democratic measure, which was approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The resolution now goes back to the House for final approval.
Biden has said he hopes to gain Republicans’ support for the relief package.
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