Biden expands SNAP benefits, provides economic assistance in two new executive orders

President Joe Biden
Posted at 7:23 AM, Jan 22, 2021

President Joe Biden has signed two more executive orders during his first few days in office. On Friday, his executive actions were aimed at boosting the economy and providing economic assistance to millions of Americans.

One of the orders Biden signed specifically targets COVID-19 aid. The order asks the Department of Agriculture to expand SNAP benefits authorized by Congress to include those at the lowest income levels and increase benefits to families with children who would normally receive school lunches.

"We cannot, will not let people go hungry. We cannot let people be evicted because of nothing they did themselves. We cannot watch people lose their jobs. We have to act," Biden said during his Friday press conference.

The second executive order will ask the Labor Department to consider allowing those who feel they cannot work safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic to receive unemployment benefits.

"No one should have to choose between their livelihood and their health, and their family’s health, in the middle of a deadly pandemic," Biden said before signing.

The order also seeks to begin requiring federal contractors to pay their employees a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

"We’re in a national emergency, we need to act like we’re in a national emergency. We have to move, with everything we’ve got," Biden said Friday.

On Thursday, Biden signed several executive orders aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19. Those orders required masks or face coverings at interstate transportation hubs, required foreign travelers to test negative for the virus and quarantine upon arrival, extended eviction moratoriums and directed the CDC to work with local pharmacies to distribute COVID-19 vaccines.

Thursday's actions piggybacked on more than a dozen executive actions signed on Inauguration Day, which rolled back several Trump-era policies like the travel ban from several Muslim-majority countries and re-joining of the Paris climate accord.