Concerned over the increasing likelihood that the economy is headed for a “double-dip” recession early next year, aides to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. are pushing for Democratic congressional leaders to reach a quick compromise stimulus agreement, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Until now, Mr. Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, have insisted that Republicans agree to a spending bill of $2 trillion or more, while Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, wants a much smaller package. The resulting impasse has threatened to delay additional economic aid until after Mr. Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
Many of the president-elect’s advisers have become convinced that deteriorating economic conditions from the renewed surge in Covid-19 infections and the looming threat of millions of Americans losing jobless benefits in December amid a wave of evictions and foreclosures require more urgent action before year’s end, Jim Tankersley and Emily Cochrane report. That could mean moving at least part of the way toward Mr. McConnell’s offer of a $500 billion package.
Mr. Biden’s team is also considering a range of other policy options for fighting a renewed downturn and the prospect of rising unemployment when he takes office, according to the people familiar with his plans. Some of them, like a sweeping spending bill that includes all or large parts of his campaign proposals for infrastructure, could depend on Democrats’ winning Senate control in two special elections in Georgia in January.
Others would not require Congress. Mr. Biden’s aides have weighed having the president-elect announce in the coming weeks that he will sign executive orders on his first day in office extending moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures, and deferrals of some student loan payments that are set to expire at the end of the year, the people familiar with the discussions said.
Such orders could lessen or avoid an economic cliff of expiring protections for renters, homeowners and some borrowers, which experts fear could hasten an economic contraction.
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