Here are the main events that occurred in Politics over the past two weeks:
1. Congress Gives Final Approval Of Coronavirus Relief Bill
The US House of Representatives gave final approval on March 10 to one of the most significant economic stimulus measures in American history, a sweeping $1.9 trillion Coronavirus relief bill that gives President Joe Biden his first significant victory in office. The measure provides $400 billion for $1,400 direct payments to most Americans, $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, an expansion of the child tax credit, and increased funding for vaccine distribution. Forecasters expect it to supercharge the US economic recovery. “Help is here,” President Biden wrote in a tweet after the vote. The White House said he plans to sign the bill on March 12.
2. Amid Surge In Border Crossings, Biden Administration Reinstitutes Program To Help Migrant Minors Reunite With Families
President Joe Biden moved to help children fleeing violence in Central America on March 10 even as he grappled with a surge of migrants at the US southern border that is taxing resources and exposing him to bipartisan criticism. White House border coordinator Roberta Jacobson told reporters the Biden administration is restarting the Central American Minors (CAM) program for children, which between 2014 and 2017 allowed children fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to apply in their home countries to settle in the US. Then-President Donald Trump ended the program in 2017. It had allowed children under 21 years old with parents lawfully living in the US to apply for a refugee resettlement interview as a way to avoid making the dangerous journey by themselves to the US.
3. US Economy Adds 379,000 Jobs In February, Unemployment Drops To 6.2%
The US Economy added 379,000 jobs in February, roundly beating economists’ estimates of 210,000, and indicating that one year into the Coronavirus pandemic, the labor market is finally showing signs of recovery. In the first full monthly employment report under President Joe Biden, the unemployment rate fell to 6.2 percent, from 6.3 percent in January, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “The ship is pointed in the right direction, and the additional stimulus coming from Congress should be the wind in the sails to get the economy back on track,” said Charlie Ripley, Senior Investment Strategist for Allianz Investment Management. The latest jobs report comes after a month of stumbles in the Coronavirus vaccine deployment and frigid weather that plunged Texas and large parts of the South into a deep freeze that froze oil rigs, ruptured household plumbing, and cost lives. The January jobs report, which showed just 49,000 jobs were added, was revised upwards on Friday to 166,000. Although the economy has been adding jobs, those gains mask the extent to which the labor market is still being held back, and the number of people who have been sidelined for a diverse array of reasons, from child care obligations to health concerns to a lack of job opportunities in fields still devastated by the pandemic.
4. Former President Donald Trump Teases 2024 Presidential Run In CPAC Speech
In a February 28 speech to close out the Conservative Political Action Conference, former President Donald Trump teased his political future and repeated the lie that he won the 2020 election.“I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we began together four years ago is far from over,” the former president said in his first speech since leaving the White House. “We are gathered this afternoon to talk about the future — the future of our movement, the future of our party, and the future of our beloved country.” The former president began his roughly 90-minute address by asking the crowd: “Do you miss me?” before reviving false claims that he had beaten President Joe Biden in November, lies that inspired the deadly pro-Trump riot at the Capitol on January 6. “Actually, as you know they just lost the White House,” Trump said of Democrats. “Who knows, I may even decide to beat them for a third time,” he added, stopping precise of declaring his 2024 plans.