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Biden calls for 'urgent' stimulus following 'grim' jobs report

Biden said he was “encouraged” by the recent progress in talks over a bill, he also warned that “there’s no time to lose” in reaching a deal.
Image: President-Elect Biden Announces Economic Appointees And Nominees For Upcoming Administration
President-elect Joe Biden speaks during an event to name his economic team at the Queen Theater on Dec. 1, 2020 in Wilmington, Del.Alex Wong / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden on Friday dubbed the latest jobs report "grim" and called for Congress to pass an additional stimulus package that could provide immediate help to Americans suffering the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But Biden, in remarks to reporters in Wilmington, Del, also warned that a single stimulus package wouldn’t provide nearly enough to help the nation through the crisis.

"The fight against Covid won't be won in January," he said.

While Biden said he was “encouraged” by the recent progress in talks over a bipartisan Senate bill, he also warned that “there’s no time to lose” in reaching a deal.

“This situation is urgent. If we don’t act now, the future will be very bleak,” Biden said.

“The country is going to be in dire, dire, dire straits,” if lawmakers can’t get a deal done, he added.

Biden's remarks came just hours after federal data showedthat a modest recovery of the U.S. economy had stalled amid a severe resurgence of the coronavirus. The U.S. economy added just 245,000 jobs in November, as the unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economists had predicted the economy would gain around 440,000 jobs.

Biden, during his remarks, also suggested Americans should expect a scaled-down inauguration in January, and said he wouldn’t make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory.

"I don't think it should be mandatory,” he said, “but I would do everything in my power, just like I don't think masks have to be made mandatory nationwide, do everything in my power as president to encourage people to do the right thing."

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump had no public events on his schedule Friday. Vice President Mike Pence, however, is traveling to Georgia on Friday for an afternoon rally with incumbent GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who face a Jan. 5 runoff election.

At the same time, former President Barack Obama and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams are headlining a dueling rally for the state's Democratic Senate candidates, Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday that he accepted Biden's offer to serve as his chief medical adviser. Asked in an interview on NBC's "TODAY" show whether he would do it, Fauci said, "Oh absolutely. I said yes right on the spot, yeah." He will also stay in his role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases after Biden asked him to continue in his administration.
  • In a joint interview with Harris Thursday on CNN, Biden also said he'd be "happy" to get publicly vaccinated if Fauci says it is safe. He also said that after he is inaugurated, he will ask Americans to wear masks for 100 days to help fight the spread of the coronavirus as vaccines are distributed.
  • Biden also told CNN that he thought the latest reports about Trump contemplating pardons for his children could set a bad precedent for future presidents.
  • Speaking about how he could work with Congress, Biden also said a number of Senate Republicans have privately congratulated him on his victory. The president-elect acknowledged the predicament the GOP senators find themselves in given that Trump has a strong base that could jeopardize support for the senators if they make the wrong move.
  • Wally Adeyemo, Biden's choice to serve as the No. 2 official at Treasury, attended a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus Thursday as the transition team faces continued pressure to form a diverse Cabinet. Adeyemo was one of two African Americans named to top spots on Biden's economic team, along with Cecila Rouse, who would be chair the Council of Economic Advisers.
  • In a video recording of a meeting with the Republican Jewish Coalition, obtained by The Washington Post, Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., seemed to acknowledge Biden as the president-elect. “We know what this change of command at the top will mean with our foreign relations,” Perdue said in the video, adding: “If we can keep the majority in the Senate, we can at least be a buffer on some of the things that the Biden camp has been talking about in terms of their foreign policy.”
  • On Fox News Thursday, Perdue also responded to comments made by pro-Trump lawyers that Georgians shouldn’t vote in the upcoming runoff election until they know their votes are secure. “This is illogical for any Republican to think I'm just going to sit down and not vote and hand the keys over to the Democrats,” Perdue said.