More than 150 chief executives signed a letter on Wednesday urging for more government stimulus and supporting President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion "American Rescue Plan."
Among the executives who signed the letter included Google (GOOGL) CEO Sundar Pichai, Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO David Solomon, Zillow (Z) CEO Rich Barton, BlackRock (BLK) CEO Laurence Fink, and Visa (V) CEO Alfred Kelly, Jr.
"Previous federal relief measures have been essential, but more must be done to put the country on a trajectory for a strong, durable recovery," the CEOs wrote in the letter to leaders of Congress. "Congress should act swiftly and on a bipartisan basis to authorize a stimulus and relief package along the lines of the Biden-Harris administration’s proposed American Rescue Plan."
Biden’s $1.9 trillion legislation includes $1,400 stimulus payments, the extension of key unemployment programs that are set to expire in the spring, aid to small businesses, $350 billion to state and local governments, an increase in tax credits for low- and middle-income families, and $160 billion for a national program on vaccination and testing. It also calls for increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
The Democratic-controlled House is expected to vote on the legislation this week. It likely will pass, but it remains unclear whether the legislation would gather enough support in the Senate.
Democrats need 51 votes for Biden's package to pass, meaning support from the entire Democratic caucus in the Senate, along with Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote, is needed to get the legislation through. But backing from more centrist Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) who have opposed the $15 minimum wage provision is up in the air.
This spring, up to 11.4 million workers stand to lose their base unemployment benefits, while all out-of-work Americans could see the extra $300 in weekly benefits disappear if no stimulus deal is passed, allowing three unemployment programs to expire, an analysis by The Century Foundation found.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the stimulus bill would be signed by the president before those programs expire.
"Democrats remain hard at work preparing the desperately needed COVID relief bill," he said from the Senate floor Monday, "which is on track to go to the President's desk before the March 14 expiration of unemployment insurance benefits."
The executives who signed the letter represented a wide range of industries impacted by the pandemic, including airlines like JetBlue (JBLU) and United (UAL), retail, office, and apartment owners like Vornado (VNO) and The Related Companies, gig economy companies like Lyft (LYFT) and WeWork, and card payment services companies like Visa and Mastercard (MA).
"The American Rescue Plan provides a framework for coordinated public-private efforts to overcome COVID-19 and to move forward with a new era of inclusive growth," the executives wrote in the letter. "The country’s business community is prepared to work with you to achieve these critical objectives."