Biden signs executive orders to expand food stamps, raise federal pay

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday signed two executive orders, one to expand food assistance to low-income Americans, and the other to raise minimum wage to 15 U.S. dollars for federal employees.

"We need to tackle the growing hunger crisis in American," Biden said before signing the orders, noting that one in seven households in America - more than one in five Black and Latino households in America - report they do not have enough food to eat.

That includes 30 million adults and as many as 12 million children, the president continued.

With the signing of one of the executive orders, the Department of Agriculture will consider taking immediate steps to make it easier for the hardest hit families to enroll and claim more generous benefits in the critical food and nutrition assistance areas, he said.

Biden also highlighted the need for the Congress to roll out more sweeping aid, saying that the 1.9-trillion-USD American Rescue Plan he proposed last week has gained support from bipartisan economists and Wall Street analysts.

The package includes over 400 billion dollars to combat the pandemic directly such as more funding for testing and vaccine distribution, roughly 1 trillion dollars in direct relief to households, and over 400 billion for hard-hit small businesses and communities.

"We cannot, will not let people go hungry. We cannot let people get evicted because of nothing they did themselves. We cannot watch people lose their jobs. We have to act," Biden said. "We must act decisively and boldly to grow the economy."

"The bottom line is this: we're in a national emergency. We've got to act like we're in a national emergency," he added.

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