Biden team warns there is ‘no substitute’ for $1.9tn stimulus bill

Biden team warns there is ‘no substitute’ for $1.9tn stimulus bill

President takes steps to boost flagging US economy as he faces resistance to Covid relief package

Joe Biden’s administration has taken its first steps to revive the flagging US economy but warned the moves were “not a substitute” for another large stimulus package, as it increased the pressure on Congress to pass a $1.9tn Covid-19 relief bill.

The US president on Friday signed two executive orders to broaden access to food stamps and unemployment benefits, while beginning a process to introduce a mandatory $15 per hour minimum wage for federal contractors.

While the measures are a signal of intent from the president, they underscore the extent to which his ability to boost the economy depends on securing the support of a divided Congress for his stimulus bill.

Brian Deese, the new director of the National Economic Council, said: “I want to be very clear: these actions are not a substitute for comprehensive legislative relief, but they will provide a critical lifeline to millions of families.”