More Than 150 Top Business Leaders Back Biden's Covid Plan

More Than 150 Top Business Leaders Back Biden's Covid Plan

As Democrats press ahead with plans to pass a $1.9 trillion Covid relief package by a process that would bypass the need for Republican support, more than 150 CEOs of large American companies are urging bipartisan backing for the plan.

The latest: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced Tuesday night that Democrats plan to pass their relief bill through the lower chamber on Friday. “The American people strongly support this bill, and we are moving swiftly to see it enacted into law,” he said on Twitter. On the Senate side, lawmakers are awaiting a ruling from the parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, as to whether an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour can be included in the package under rules governing the special budget reconciliation process being used. A ruling is reportedly expected as early as Wednesday evening.

CEOs back Biden’s plan: More than 150 top executives of large companies across a number of industries voiced support for the $1.9 trillion rescue package in a letter to lawmakers Wednesday. "Previous federal relief measures have been essential, but more must be done to put the country on a trajectory for a strong, durable recovery," the executives said in the letter first reported by CNN. "Congress should act swiftly and on a bipartisan basis to authorize a stimulus and relief package along the lines of the Biden-Harris administration's proposed American Rescue Plan."

The most notable signatories include some heavyweights from the worlds of finance and technology: Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Blackstone’s Steve Schwarzman, who CNBC notes had previously backed former President Donald Trump. The CEOs of AT&T, Comcast, Intel, Mastercard, Visa and Well Fargo were also among those signing, as were the chief executives of American Airlines, JetBlue and United Airlines.

The Business Roundtable, a CEO group, wrote a separate letter on Tuesday supporting “the swift enactment of additional COVID-19 rescue legislation” focused on public health needs and targeted aid to individuals and small businesses, but urging lawmakers to set aside the minimum wage increase for future legislation.

American public also supports the Biden plan: A new Politico/Morning Consult poll adds to the number of surveys showing that a sizable majority of Americans, including Republicans, say they favor the Biden rescue package. The poll finds that 76% say they support the legislation, including 52% who “strongly” support it. Just 17% say they oppose it. More than seven in 10 independents and some 60% of Republicans say they back the Biden plan. (Other polls have found less than majority support among Republicans.)

Why it matters: The letter from top business leaders gives Biden and Democrats more ammunition as they argue that their relief package is appropriately sized to meet the Covid crisis. Republicans have criticized the size and specifics of the Democratic bill, and it appears than no GOP lawmakers will support the plan.