Joe Biden Laments Lousy Jobs Report: ‘People Are Really Feeling the Hole’
President Joe Biden met with top Democrats at the White House on Friday morning shortly after the United States Senate voted 51-49 along party lines to advance his $1.9 trillion economic recovery package – called the “American Rescue Plan” – toward passage through reconciliation.
Vice President Kamala Harris cast the 51st vote, breaking her first tie in the 50-50 split Senate. No Republicans voted in favor of the legislation.
The gigantic spending bill is aimed at stabilizing the American economy, which has been kneecapped by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sitting in the Oval Office, Biden reflected on the latest jobs report that was released on Friday:
We’re going to be talking about the recovery package, but we saw the jobs report that only 6,000 private-sector jobs have been created, and at that rate, it’s going to take 10 years before we get to full employment. That’s not — that’s not hyperbole; that’s a fact. We’re going to be in a situation where it’ll take a long, long time.
Biden told the Democratic leaders:
I appreciate you all coming over because — and the urgency with which you’re moving — this is about people’s lives. This is not just about numbers; this is about people’s lives. People are — I don’t have to tell any of you, they’re really hurting. People are being evicted.
The president said that he understands the pain that millions of people are feeling a year into the crisis:
Just look at all the number of people who are needing and seeking mental health services now. Suicide is up. People are very — really, really — drug abuse, violence against women. People are really feeling the hole. They don’t know how to get out. You’ve given them a lot of hope — a lot of hope with the — as they say in southern Delaware: With the grace of God and the goodwill of the neighbor, with the crick not rising, we can really begin to do something consequentially.
Biden acknowledged the difficulties of bipartisanship and stressed the need for Congress to go big or go home:
So I want to thank you all. And what I — you know, President — President Obama put me in charge of the Recovery Act, and it was hard as hell to get the votes for it to begin with, and then it was hard as hell to get even the number we got. But one thing we learned is, you know, we can’t do too much here; we can do too little. We can do too little and sputter.
But again, the end result is, it’s not just the macroeconomic impact on the economy and our ability to compete internationally; it’s people’s lives. Real, live people are hurting, and we can fix it. And we can fix it. And the irony of all ironies is, when we help them, we are also helping our competitive capacity through the remainder of this decade. I mean, it’s real.
So we got a chance to do something big here. And I’m — and thank you for last night, yesterday, and what you’re going to be doing on this Recovery Act. And I can hardly wait to sit down with [House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman] Peter DeFazio [D-OR] to work on infrastructure. [Laughter]. This is the next big piece.
So, thank you all for being here, and thank you for coming in. I appreciate it.
Watch below via ABC News:
“This is not just about numbers. This is about people's lives…We've got a chance to do something big here.”
— ABC News (@ABC) February 5, 2021