Biden to discuss relief package with business leaders at White House

Coronavirus Stimulus

FILE – In this Feb. 3, 2021, file photo President Joe Biden meets with Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., and other Democratic lawmakers to discuss a coronavirus relief package, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — President Joe Biden will meet with the chief executives of JPMorgan Chase, Walmart, Gap Inc, and Lowe’s Companies on Tuesday as part of his efforts to boost an economy still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden and the executives, who will be joined by Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for the 1:45 p.m. EST gathering in the Oval Office, will discuss Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus recovery package, known as the American Rescue Plan, the White House said.

JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon, Walmart’s Doug McMillon, Gap’s Sonia Syngal, and Lowe’s Companies’ Marvin Ellison were all slated to attend along with Tom Donohue, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a top business lobby.

Biden is eager to keep the focus on his relief package even as Washington focuses on the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, who is accused of inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The meeting serves as a bit of counterprogamming at the White House while the trial kicks off in the U.S. Senate.

Despite Biden’s desire to focus on unity, his stimulus package faces opposition from Republicans, who view it as too large. Biden’s fellow Democrats in Congress approved a budget outline that will allow them to muscle the stimulus through in the coming weeks without Republican support.

Democrats have a small majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and effective control in the Senate.

Data on Friday showed U.S. employment growth rebounded only moderately in January and job losses in the prior month were deeper than initially thought, strengthening the case for a sizable relief package from the government to aid the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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