U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday will sign two executive orders aimed at speeding pandemic stimulus checks to families who need it most and increasing food aid for children who normally rely on school meals as a main source for nutrition.
Biden, who has proposed a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, is using the two orders to try to ease the burden on people while the legislation is negotiated in Congress. He has made fighting the pandemic an early focus of his new administration.
The pandemic recession has hit Americans hard. Some 16 million are now receiving some type of unemployment benefit, and an estimated 29 million don’t have enough to eat. Women, minorities and low-income service workers have been disproportionately impacted, with Black and Hispanic workers facing higher jobless rates than white workers.
“We’re at a precarious moment in our economy,” Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council, told reporters in a preview of the orders.
He said the actions are not a substitute for comprehensive legislative relief, “but they will provide a critical lifeline to millions of American families.”
In the first order, Biden will ask the Treasury Department to consider taking steps to expand and improve delivery of stimulus checks, such as establishing online tools for claiming payments.