Dec 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Thursday night frights for Biden White House

Reproduced from Homebase; Chart: Axios Visuals 
Reproduced from Homebase; Chart: Axios Visuals 

President-elect Joe Biden is building an economic team to deal with a post-COVID economic free fall, and a jobs report coming out Friday — expected to show reduced hiring last month — is anticipated to give that group a preview of coming attractions.

Why it matters: Biden's economic advisers are worried any failure to inject money into the economy now will only multiply their challenges once they take office, but President Trump remains fixated on litigating his election loss.

Between the lines: Data from Homebase, which manages digital timecards for 100,000 small businesses and is monitored by Trump's Council of Economic Advisers, could show hiring down to pre-summer levels.

  • Biden's team has always contemplated the need for lame-duck stimulus but there has also been concern that it could crowd out his $3 trillion "Build Back Better" plan.
  • Many Democrats worry that if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agrees to any additional relief this month, he'll be hesitant to open the checkbook again next year.

But, but, but: Some Democrats close to Biden argue that the immediate dangers — from a potential eviction crisis to food insecurity — grow with every day of inaction.

  • While Biden fully endorsed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's stimulus effort this week, he said on CNN that it would just be a "start."
  • “We are going to need more,” he said. “I am going to have to ask for more.”

The bottom line: As in the beginning of the Obama administration, the Thursday nights before a jobs report will be tense in the White House. That is when Cecilia Rouse, Biden's choice to lead the Council of Economic Advisers, will give him a memo breaking down the next day's press release.

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