Roosevelt Room

2:25 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Welcome, folks.  Can you hear me in my mask?

Q    Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  All right.  We’re about to have an economic meeting, but I want to make a few very brief comments.

Today’s jobs report shows that the American Rescue Plan is urgently needed, in our view.

Now, our economy still has 9.5 million fewer jobs than it had this time last year.  And at that rate, it would take two years to get us back on track.  We have 1 million fewer educators — 1 million fewer educators — than we did this time last year.  We’ve lost 400,000 small businesses.  All of those empty storefronts aren’t just shattered dreams, they’re warning lights that are going off and state and local budgets that are being stretched because of the lack of tax revenue.

And some of last month’s job growth is a result of the December relief package.  But without a rescue plan, these gains are going to slow.  We can’t afford one step forward and two steps backwards.  We need to beat the virus, provide essential relief, and build an inclusive recovery. 

People need the help now.  In less than two weeks, enhanced unemployment benefits will begin to expire for 11 million people.  At least 7 million kids don’t have enough food to eat on a regular basis.  Thirteen million people are behind in their rent. 

And the rescue plan is absolutely essential for turning this around, getting kids back to school safely, getting a lifeline to small business, and getting the upper hand on COVID-19.  That’s what we’re going to be talking about now. 

So I thank you all for coming on in.  Thank you.

2:27 P.M. EST

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