President Joe Biden took a victory lap Friday after the March jobs report showed the U.S. economy added 916,000 jobs. But he also warned that the progress could be erased and urged Congress to pass his sweeping $2 trillion infrastructure plan to ensure more job growth and Americans to do their part to stem the growing number of COVID-19 cases.
What You Need To Know
- President Joe Biden took a victory lap Friday after the March jobs report showed the U.S. economy added 916,000 jobs and that the unemployment rate had fallen from 6.2% to 6%.
- Biden credited American families for not giving up on putting the country back on track, but he also touted his own economic and vaccination policies
- The president, however, warned that the progress could be erased and urged Congress to pass his sweeping $2 trillion infrastructure plan to ensure more job growth
- He also noted that COVID-19 cases are on the rise again and called on Americans to "buckle down and keep their guard up in this home stretch"
“We still have a long way to go to get our economy back on track after the worst economic and job crisis in nearly a century,” Biden said from the White House.
The unemployment rate has fallen from 6.2% to 6%, according to the report. Biden said there have been more jobs created in the first two months of his administration than in any administration in history. But the U.S. remains more than 8 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic level.
Biden credited American families for the encouraging jobs report, saying the “hardworking women and men who have struggled through this pandemic” have “never given up and are determined to get the country back on track.”
But he also touted his administration’s economic policies, including the $1.9 coronavirus relief package passed earlier this month, and the government’s vaccination efforts, noting that the U.S. administered 20 million shots over the previous seven days.
The president then segued into his pitch for his infrastructure plan, which he unveiled Wednesday.
“The progress we've worked so hard to achieve can be reversed,” Biden said. “On the economic front, the benefits and the impact of American Rescue Plan are temporary by design. It is a rescue plan. But as we get the economy back on his feet, we need to do the hard work of building back better not just for a while, but for good.”
The infrastructure plan would rebuild America’s roads, bridges, airports, ports, water systems, broadband and more. The White House says it would create millions of jobs.
“It's a once-in-a-generation investment in our economic future, a chance to win the future, paid for by asking big corporations, many of which do not pay any taxes at all, just to begin to pay their fair share,” he said. “And it won't raise a penny tax on a family making less than $400,000 a year.”
Biden called on Congress to act when lawmakers return from their spring vacation break. He conceded that the final version of the proposal is likely to change.
“Debate is welcome,” he said. “Compromise is inevitable. Changes in my plan are certain. But inaction is not an option. The American people have been promised action on infrastructure for decades.”
The plan is already facing resistance from Republicans over the price tag and taxes on corporations, and also from some Democrats who want to see a repeal of the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions, which was implemented during the Trump administration.
Biden also noted that COVID-19 cases are on the rise again and implored Americans not to treat the pandemic as though it’s over.
“I plead with you. Don't give back the progress we've all fought so hard to achieve,” he said. “We need to finish this job. We need every American to buckle down and keep their guard up in this home stretch. Wear your mask, keep safe distance from one another, wash your hands, get vaccinated when it's your turn. That's how we're going to beat the virus, cast off the weight of the pandemic that's holding our economy back.”