Biden signs executive orders on stimulus checks, food stamps and minimum wage

Biden signs executive orders on stimulus checks, food stamps and minimum wage

joe biden

Washington — President Joe Biden signed two executive orders on Friday, one of which would increase federal food assistance and streamline the delivery of stimulus checks, as the president attempts to stabilize the economy without congressional assistance amid the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion relief plan to Congress, but it is unclear whether it will garner enough Republican support to pass on a bipartisan basis. Until Congress is able to pass another relief bill, Mr. Biden’s actions are intended as stopgap measures to stabilize the economy.

“We need more action, and we need to move fast,” Mr. Biden said. “We’re in a national emergency. We need to act like we’re in a national emergency. So we’ve got to move with everything we’ve got.”

In the first order, Mr. Biden asks the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow states to increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits — commonly known as food stamps — by 15%. Congress recently passed a $1 trillion relief bill that boosted the maximum SNAP benefit by 15%, but that did not help the 40% of SNAP recipients who were already at the maximum benefit. Mr. Biden’s order tells the USDA to “consider issuing new guidance that would allow states to increase SNAP emergency allotments for those who need it most,” according to a fact sheet provided by the White House, which would mean that an additional 12 million people get enhanced benefits.

The order would also increase Pandemic-EBT, an electronic debit card program for students who would have qualified for free or reduced-price meals at school. Mr. Biden is directing the USDA to “consider issuing new guidance increasing P-EBT benefits by approximately 15% to accurately reflect the costs of missing meals and make it easier for households to claim benefits.” According to the White House, this could provide a family with three children an additional $100 in support per month.

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