President Joe Biden on Friday pushed Congress to act quickly on a proposed economic relief package as the White House attempted to gain bipartisan support for the $1.9 trillion measure.
“The choice couldn’t be clearer. We have learned from past crises that the risk is not doing too much. The risk is not doing enough. And this is a time to act now,” Biden said during a meeting with advisers as well as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
“There is an overwhelming consensus among economists—left, right, and center—that this is a unique moment in this crisis, and the cost of inaction is high and is growing every day,” Biden added.
Yellen, meanwhile, said that data showed 847,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits as economic recovery lags.
“The president is absolutely right. The price of doing nothing is much higher than the price of doing something, and doing something big,” Yellen said. “We need to act now, and the benefits of acting now and acting big will far outweigh the costs in the long run.”
The nearly $2 trillion package would potentially include $1,400 stimulus payments and checks, expanded unemployment insurance, among other provisions.
In the remarks, Yellen did not address the stock market buying frenzy around GameStop and the forced shutdown of purchases of the share by trading platform Robinhood on Thursday.
GameStop surged 51 percent on Friday after brokers eased some restrictions on trading. On Thursday, GameStop shares had fallen following the curbs imposed by Robinhood and other trading apps which drew outrage from politicians and calls for action from regulators.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a rare joint statement from its acting chair and commissioners saying that it was working closely with other regulators and stock exchanges “to protect investors and to identify and pursue potential wrongdoing” and would “closely review actions … that may disadvantage investors” or hinder their ability to trade stocks.