The first executive order seeks to provide help to those who are struggling to buy food, missed out on stimulus checks or are out of work.
“The American people can’t afford to wait,” said Brian Deese, the National Economic Council director, noting that Census Bureau data shows nearly 30 million people don’t always have enough to eat. “And so many are hanging by a thread. They need help, and we are committed to doing everything we can to provide that help as quickly as possible.”
The other is geared toward improving the jobs of federal workers and contractors, which was among the President’s campaign commitments. It lays the groundwork for requiring contractors to pay a $15 hourly minimum wage and to provide emergency paid leave by the end of Biden’s first 100 days. It also directs agencies to determine which federal workers are earning less than that minimum and develop recommendations to promote bringing them up to $15 an hour.
Biden included a call to raise the national hourly minimum wage to $15 as part of the $1.9 trillion relief package he outlined last week before taking office. It is currently $7.25 an hour.
Biden is expected to sign additional orders over the coming days, according to a calendar document sent to administration allies and viewed by CNN. His agenda next week includes steps to beef up requirements for the government to purchase goods and services from US companies, a push to eliminate private prisons, reestablishing the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, rescinding the so-called Mexico City policy blocking federal funding for nongovernmental organizations that provide abortion services, and changing border processing and refugee policies as well as establishing a family reunification task force.
Helping families in need
Also, the order directs the department to consider allowing states to boost food stamp benefits for about 12 million Americans who did not receive an earlier increase in their emergency allotments.
And the President is asking the agency to look into revising its Thrifty Food Plan, which is the basis for determining food stamp benefits, to better reflect the current cost of a healthy basic diet.
Food insecurity has ballooned during the pandemic amid massive job…