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On The Money: Biden signals he'll move forward on COVID-19 relief without GOP | Economy adds 49K jobs in January | Minimum wage push sparks Democratic divisions

On The Money: Biden signals he'll move forward on COVID-19 relief without GOP | Economy adds 49K jobs in January | Minimum wage push sparks Democratic divisions
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THE BIG DEAL—Biden signals he'll move forward on COVID-19 relief without GOP: President Biden on Friday sent his strongest signal yet that he would move forward with his coronavirus relief proposal without Republican support, making the case for his $1.9 trillion package by citing the January jobs report showing a weak economic recovery.

“I’d like to be doing it with the support of Republicans … but they’re just not willing to go as far as I think we have to go,” Biden said in prepared remarks from the State Dining Room at the White House.

“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,” Biden said. “I’m going to help the American people that are hurting now.”

The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant and Brett Samuels have more here.

The context: 

While Biden has said he’s open to striking a bipartisan deal, he’s made clear that in his view, Republican counteroffers do not come close to enough aid for the struggling economy.

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"What Republicans have proposed is either to do nothing, or not enough," Biden said in prepared remarks on his $1.9 trillion proposal. "All of a sudden many of them have rediscovered fiscal restraint and the concern for the deficits. But don’t kid yourself, this approach will come with a cost: more pain for more people for longer than it has to be."

Biden also cited January’s disappointing jobs report as a key reason to approve aid quickly. We’ve got more on that below.

Read more on the push for coronavirus aid:

 

LEADING THE DAY

Economy adds 49K jobs in January, unemployment falls to 6.3 percent: The U.S. added 49,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent, a 0.4 percentage point drop, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.

  • January’s drop in the unemployment rate and meager increase in hiring defied the consensus expectations of economists, who projected a gain of 100,000 jobs and an unchanged jobless rate.
  • Economists also warned that seasonal adjustments to the data would likely inflate January's job gains.

The takeaway: The uptick in jobs shows the recovery from the coronavirus recession resumed last month after December job losses, but the report underscored the deep damage yet to be repaired from the pandemic-driven economic crisis. 

“This jobs report suggests signs of a nascent overall recovery, but food insecurity, costs of caregiving, persistently high unemployment, and small business stagnation necessitate emergency relief that targets those being left behind — especially women, people of color, and lower income workers,” said Nicole Goldin, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, in a Friday analysis.

“Without further stimulus, our ability to get kids back in school and more fully reopen the economy will stymie consumer confidence, hiring, and investment.”

I break down the report here.

 

Minimum wage push sparks Democratic divisions: Senate Democrats are facing internal divisions over efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which could result in the proposal being watered down or jettisoned from the coronavirus relief bill.

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  • The wage hike is part of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal, and it has the support of powerful progressives in both chambers and members of leadership.
  • But because of the 50-50 Senate split, proponents need to win over every Senate Democrat. That’s setting up a fight over the wage increase as they craft the final version of the relief package.

“I support the increase in the federal minimum wage to the $15 level. I think it's way overdue that we change it. And I think it would be a good thing to do. There may be other members, even on the Democratic side, who have some concerns about it,” said Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocrats back up Biden bid to return to Iran nuclear deal Overnight Defense: Congress looks to rein in Biden's war powers | Diversity chief at Special Operations Command reassigned during probe into social media posts Congress looks to rein in Biden's war powers MORE (D-Va.).

The Hill’s Jordain Carney tells us more about the internal battle here.

The wild card: Democrats still need a determination from the parliamentarian about whether an increase in the minimum wage complies with the arcane rules that determine what can, and cannot, be passed under the reconciliation process to bypass a filibuster. That could squander the whole plan, anyway.

 

ON TAP NEXT WEEK

Tuesday:

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Wednesday:

  • The Senate Budget Committee holds a confirmation hearing on Neera Tanden’s nomination to be director of the White House Office of Management and Budget at 10 a.m.
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gives a speech on the state of the labor market at 2 p.m.
  • The Brookings Institution holds an event entitled “The COVID-19 pandemic and state and local budgets: Past, present, and future” at 2 p.m.

 

GOOD TO KNOW

  • Five takeaways from the budget marathon
  • Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday put forward a sweeping green energy bill that would extend several clean energy tax credits, expand electric vehicle tax credits and set the stage for putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions.
  • States mailing out forms for the approaching tax-filing season are seeing a significant number of reports of unemployment fraud, according to a report by The Associated Press.
  • Stock trading app Robinhood late Thursday announced that it had lifted all temporary restrictions on stocks, following days of backlash from users and lawmakers after the company placed limits on GameStop, AMC and other stocks last week. 

 

ODDS AND ENDS

 

Recap the week with On The Money: 

  • Monday: Schumer vows Senate will take up 'bold' coronavirus bill, rejecting GOP offer | GOP senators, Biden send positive vibes after long WH meeting
  • Tuesday: Biden calls Dems, urges big COVID bill | Biden's SEC pick sidelined as GameStop drama unfolds | Bezos stepping down as Amazon CEO
  • Wednesday: Biden commits to $1,400 checks, but open to eligibility limits | House approves budget resolution for COVID-19 package | McConnell seeks to inflict political pain on budget votes
  • Thursday: White House reviewing if Biden can cancel student loan debt | Senate signals broad support for more targeted relief checks | Romney proposes monthly payments for families with children