Democratic lawmakers and Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenBlowing up the Death Star would cause an economic crisis (and other reasons employers shouldn't pay off workers' college debt) Buttigieg has high name recognition, favorability rating in Biden Cabinet: survey Biden's spending binge makes Americans poorer, just before the holidays MORE on Sunday defended President BidenJoe BidenSouth Africa health minister calls travel bans over new COVID variant 'unjustified' Biden attends tree lighting ceremony after day out in Nantucket Senior US diplomat visiting Southeast Asia to 'reaffirm' relations MORE's handling of the U.S. economy following a disappointing monthly jobs report and a temporary debt hike that required the assistance of Republican lawmakers.
During an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsSenators: US allies concerned Senate won't pass annual defense bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House to vote on Biden social spending bill after McCarthy delay Can America prevent a global warming cold war? MORE (D-Del.) reiterated President Biden's observation that the unemployment rate showed "significant improvement" in a report on Friday and called for looking at "both the positives and the path forward."
Coons also took the opportunity to promote Biden's social spending plan.
"Why don't we focus on why those people dropped out of the workforce? It's the high cost of day care. I have folks who work for me who are paying more for day care than they are for their mortgage," Coons said. "And the challenge is finding ways to care for our seniors, our children, to provide for a lower cost of health care are exactly why we're now going to move forward with President Biden's Build Back Better agenda."
Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffJan. 6 panel may see leverage from Bannon prosecution An unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Stoltenberg says Jan. 6 siege was attack on 'core values of NATO' MORE (D-Calif.) similarly defended the spending bill while appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation," where a new poll found that many people were still not informed on what is in the Democrats' spending bill.
"I think I hear the same thing, that not enough Americans know what's in this bill, but when they find out, they really applaud what's in it, in particular, expanding Medicare to cover hearing and dental and vision care, lowering prescription drug prices, expanding family and paid medical leave as well as child care and lifting children out of poverty," Schiff said, lauding the bill for its "hugely popular" provisions.
"We're going to get both of these bills passed. They're going to be enormously important to the economy," he added. "And once we do, we're not going to make the mistake I think we did with the Affordable Care Act. We're going to go out and we're going to promote this and let people know how it's directly impacting them."
Late last week, data from the Labor Department found that the U.S. added around 194,000 jobs to the economy in September, while the unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percent. Economists had expected the U.S. to add roughly 500,000 job in the past month.
Biden on Friday noted that unemployment had fallen below 5 percent for the first time since the pandemic began.
“The monthly total has bounced around, but if you look at the trend, it's solid,” he said at the time.
The U.S. also narrowly avoided defaulting on its debt for the first in history last week when the Senate announced that it had reached a deal to extend the debt ceiling until December. Biden had previously criticized Republicans as "disgraceful" for trying to block attempts to raise the debt ceiling.
Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Yellen defended the push to raise the debt ceiling despite Republican pushback, calling the move "necessary."
"Debt's necessary, not to fund any new spending programs but to pay the bills that result from Congress's past decisions," said the Treasury secretary. "Fifty million Americans wouldn't receive Social Security payments, would be put at risk. Our troops won't know when or if they would be paid. The 30 million families that receive a child tax credit, those payments would be in jeopardy."
"This Week" host George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosHarris says 2024 is 'absolutely not' being discussed yet with Biden Harris says she doesn't feel underused in Biden administration The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Gosar censured as GOP drama heightens MORE noted that this issue has become cyclical, popping up again and again every few years. Noting that Yellen has expressed support for eliminating the debt ceiling, he asked if she had convinced Biden to adopt her stance.
Yellen did not say where Biden stood on the issue and laid the responsibility for the debt on Congress.
"It is really up to Congress," she said. "I believe that once Congress and the administration have decided on spending plans and tax plans, it's simply their responsibility to pay the bills that result from that."